The Inverary, Ont. driver returned to his home track with hopes of parking in victory lane at his final race of the season. The night didn’t go as planned for the 13-time Brockville track champion as he was involved in an early race incident where he made contact with the front stretch retaining wall.
“It hit good. I had a run on the outside of a car and he got a push. He slid up the track and I couldn’t stop and I went over his right-rear,” O’Brien said of the contact. “I haven’t really got [the car] dissected yet, but the damage is quite substantial. Everything in the front-end and I don’t know about the rear-end.”
The damage was too severe to allow O’Brien to finish the race, leaving a disappointing end to the season.
“I think the car was good. It was a 100-lap race so at that point in the race I was just settling in,” O’Brien said of the Friday night DIRTcar 358 Modified Series race. “Since Labour Day weekend we’ve had no luck, but we can’t dwell on that. You have to move forward and keep a positive attitude to get ready for next year.”
While the final month of the season was a struggle, with mechanical problems at Mohawk and Brewerton speedways in New York before the accident at Brockville, O’Brien is still satisfied with everything he accomplished this year.
“We won some races at different tracks we had been struggling at, so we got that program turned around. It was 10 or 11 weeks in the top-five at all different tracks and that speaks for itself,” O’Brien said. “It was a really good, strong season and we’ll work on it this season to get a little better for next year.”
O’Brien parked his 1000 Islands RV Centre/Heather-Lynn Topping/World Class Trailers No.17d in victory lane four times. The most memorable victory was a win at New York’s Can-Am Motorsports Park in July.
“It was neat to go back to Can-Am and win. We hadn’t raced there in so long. We were trying to figure out if it was four or five years since we had been to Can-Am,” O’Brien said. “They had a bounty on (Billy Dunn) that night, so that made it a little extra special.”
This season was among O’Brien’s best in over two decades of racing, but he has no plans to remain stagnant this winter. O’Brien and his team have already started working on next year’s program.
“We started a few months ago working on next year, so we’re quite a ways ahead of schedule. We fine-tune every bit of it. You can’t just look at one area,” O’Brien said. “You have to look at your whole program and see what you can make better because everybody else is going to be doing the same thing.”
O’Brien acknowledged he wouldn’t be able to make those improvements or achieved his high level of success without team and sponsorship support. His crew worked several nights a week and countless hours to prepare the car, while his supporters went the extra mile to help engage fans.
“Heather-Lynn Topping and her dad, Paul, they did a t-shirt giveaway. They had kids face painting and it keeps the kids involved. That’s what keeps the parents coming back. If you make it fun for them, it’s a lot better for everybody,” O’Brien explained.
“The kids really enjoyed those shirt giveaways. We had a lot of good feedback on that. At the end of the day, it’s all about the kids because they enjoy it most.”
Stay tuned to www.dannyobrien.ca throughout the off-season for the latest news and information on the No.17d Modified.
Danny O’Brien 2016 Season: 26 Starts – 4 Wins, 19 Top-5s, 22 Top-10s
Facebook: facebook.com/DannyOBrienRacing (@DannyOBrienRacing)
Danny O’Brien’s 2016 DIRTcar 358 Modified season is supported by several dedicated corporate sponsors, including: 1000 Islands RV Centre, ATC World Class Trailers, Bob FM, Ambush band, Pat’s Auto Centre, Bicknell Racing Products, Heather-Lynn Topping, Integra Shocks, Northwood 2 Construction, and Snap-On Adam Way.
Prepared By Clayton Johns Media