@BrighotnSpdwy •(June 9, 2016)- A challenging transition from Sprint Cars to Crate Late Models paid off for Tyler Rand last Saturday night when he won his first Pro Late Model feature at Brighton Speedway. As a result of the career achievement, Rand has earned Campbellford Chrysler Driver of the Week honours.
The win was a triumph for Rand and his team, led by his father Terry. Tyler had not won in at least six seasons before Saturday night’s victory. A transponder malfunction that caused it to skip a lap meant the checkered waved while lap 29 showed on the scoreboard.
“It caught me off guard because I got two of them. When I came through I noticed it was lap 29. I didn’t know if I was seeing things wrong and I was just hoping for a checkered, so I decided no matter what I was going to do one more lap,” Rand said, adding he knew he was under pressure from Adam Turner.
“I was trying not to screw up. I didn’t want to hold it wide open and bang against the cushion. I knew if I had a hiccup, he would have been on me right away.”
Rand, 32, began racing in Brighton’s top division at the start of the 2015 season. Prior to that, he competed in the 360 Sprint Car ranks for six seasons and Sportsman Modifieds for six season prior to that when he began his career. All three cars are purpose-built for racing, but with entirely different specifications.
Rand, who works laying concrete foundations, made the change due to a busy six days per week work schedule. Racing close to home at Brighton ensured he could race each weekend. The challenge to switch from one car to another was made a little bit easier with the help of an experienced friend.
“The biggest challenge was figuring out how it was going to drive or what to do. Luckily I had Charlie (Sandercock) helping me from the get go. He set my car up and he told me just to drive it and I’d be fine,” Rand explained.
While Rand is now in his 14th season of racing, he is also well known in local circles for his time as a goaltender with the Picton Pirates Junior ‘C’ hockey team. Two completely different sports, sure, but some of the skills do translate.
“A lot of the hand-eye coordination translates. I’m always looking ahead and seeing what’s going on to spot the accident before you become one,” Rand said with a laugh.
Overall, the transition has gone as expected. In his rookie season, Rand finished 10th in the championship standings, truly not indicative of his ability, as he missed two races to a blown motor in the middle of the season. So far this year, Rand anchors the seventh position with one win, one top-five and four top-10 finishes in five starts. Still, the win provided a confidence boost.
“We figured we were capable, especially with the setup from Charlie. The car ran well and was quick. It was just kind of getting the monkey off our back,” Rand said. “Everybody says the first win in the division is the hardest to get and then they usually come a little easier. I don’t know if they’re going to come easy this year.”
Wins are certainly hard to come by this season in the Vanderlaan Building Products Pro Late Model division. Five different drivers have gone to victory lane in as many races this season, with Rand the most recent. The competition, along with an earlier bed time, have made the switch to a weekly track more enjoyable for Rand.
“I like the group we race with. We have a good group of guys that’s super competitive,” Rand said. “With the Sprint Car, we didn’t know where we were going to be. Now you know you’re getting ready for Saturday night. It’s been a nice change. You can get home that night. That’s been rewarding.”
With the support from both his father Terry and mother Darlene, Rand has been successful on and off the track. He is also supported by his wife, Candice, and children Nolan and Chelsea. Rand has enjoyed being home each weekend, but will still get a dose of travel under his belt this year in select Go Nuclear Late Model Series races.
In a perfect world, Rand would like to own both a Pro Late Model and a Sprint Car. For now, his focus is set on improving his Late Model program.
“It would be ideal if I could have both. I just hope to maybe fight for a championship some day. I’m still plugging along learning the stuff everybody else has already been learning for a couple of years. We’ll see where we end up and just keep racing,” he said.
Rand will return to action on Saturday, June 11 with the Vanderlaan Building Products Pro Late Models as part of a night presented by Bay Marine, Towne & Country Liquidation and UCB Radio Canada. Race time is 7:00pm. Event information is available at www.brightonspeedway.ca.
About Brighton Speedway: Brighton Speedway is a 1/3-mile clay stock car racing oval located on the shores of Lake Ontario in Brighton, Ont. The speedway hosts five weekly stock car divisions on Saturday nights from May to September. The weekly Pro Late Model division competes under RUSH Late Model Weekly Series sanctioning.
Brighton Speedway mailing address: 775 County Road 64, Brighton, ON, K0K 1H0.
Media Contact: Clayton Johns Media