STROUD, ON – Stroud, ON – Brandon Watson (#9 Royal Distributing/Shear Metal Products/Barrie Frame & Alignment/ Knightworks Design Chevrolet Impala SS) was back aboard his pro late model on what started as a rainy Wednesday night for round 3 of the McColl Racing Enterprises Pro Series.
After disaster struck just two laps in to the second of the four race series and brake issues at Sauble Speedway 10 days ago, the entire team was in need of a solid finish. Once the clouds cleared at 6:00pm to allow the show to run, the wish would be granted as Watson earned a well-deserved fifth place feature finish in round three.
The night started with qualifying heats for the mini stocks and super stocks before qualifying time trials took the track for the field of 21 Pro Late Models. Watson was the sixth car on track and would post a quick time of 14.336 seconds. That was the quickest of the six cars to that point and would stand to be the fastest throughout the entire 20 car field (Jason Hathaway elected not to qualify).
After posting the quick time, the dice throw to invert the field was a four meaning Watson would start outside the second row in the fourth position.
“It’s a good feeling. We had a few problems at the start of the day, but we got ’em fixed. We had a couple of practice sessions; unfortunately it got rained out so we only had a couple of opportunities to get out there. Luckily it worked out for us,” explained the Stayner, ON teen.
With the fastest cars all starting at the front of the feature event, Watson was unsure of how to play his hand entering the race.
“We’ll have to wait and see how quick the other cars are. You always want to try and save your tires, but when you get out there you never know what you’re going to do,” said Watson.
Unlike the first two races of the series, the 75-Lap Pro Late Model feature was the first of the night. Jumping out to an early lead after staring outside the front row was Johnathan Urlin, a Delaware Speedway regular. Watson quickly followed Urlin past polesitter Jamie Cox in to the second spot. Watson would ride single-file in the second spot until lap 23 when a hard charging Mike Bentley moved past him on the bottom and Tom Walters followed Bentley through the hole, forcing Watson back to fourth.
The lead trio would break away as Bentley got around Urlin on the high side on lap 51 after the leaders had moved through lapped traffic. The traffic allowed Watson to catch and pass Walters on lap 53.
A pair of cautions on lap 54 and 56 bunched the field back together for the remaining 19 laps with Watson restarting at the rear bumper of the leader Bentley. On the restart, Dwayne Baker used a power move to the outside to get by Watson for third, and with eight to go Walters would force the #9 team back to the fifth spot.
Following the race, Watson explained that a slow leak in the right front tire made the car very loose in the closing laps where he could not push it as hard off the corners as he had in the early stages. Given the circumstances, the entire team was highly satisfied with the result. Mike Bentley would go on to win the race after finishing second in the first two races.
Watson was quick to credit his crew for their preparation of the car, and to thank his sponsors for making it possible for him to be at the track for a mid-week show.
Said Watson, “The crew did a really good job getting the car ready. Of course my sponsors, I have to thank them. Royal Distributing, Shear Metal Products, Barrie Frame and Alignment, and Knighworks Design.”
Brandon Watson will next be in action on Friday, August 24 at Delaware Speedway as part of the OSCAAR Super Late Model tour to kick start the second half after a much needed weekend off. Watson continues to lead the OSCAAR standings over uncle Glenn Watson and Derrick Tiemersma who are tied for second, 34 points back of Brandon.
By Clayton Johns (@cjohnsmedia)