NEW SMYRNA BEACH, FL- After steadily improving on his results through his first 2 nights of competition at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing, Brandon Watson made it readily apparent on the final night of the season opening mini-series that he had saved the best for last.
The 100-lap Bruce Gowland Memorial – honouring the longtime World Series regular and OSCAAR Super Late Model tour veteran – drew interest from some of the top Super Late Model competitors in the Southeast, with 33-cars qualifying for the mini-season finale.
After an 11th place time trial effort, Watson wasted little time improving his position after the drop of the green flag.
“We’ve been grappling with some handling issues all week long, but tonight we threw the kitchen sink at the car and it worked perfectly”, explained Watson in post-race technical inspection. “We spent the first half of the race just keeping our nose clean and logging laps, but I knew immediately we had a car that could contend”.
By halfway, Watson had worked his way to the 7th position, finding comfort in both grooves of the speedway and saving his equipment for a late-race push.
“New Smyrna is a fast track, and it’s really easy to burn up your tires early in a race”, Watson offered. “I wasn’t as concerned with track position at the halfway point as I was with having enough left in the car to get me to the front in the final 10 laps”.
With the laps ticking by, Watson came alive on lap-90, jumping to the top-5 after surviving a torrent of late-race restarts.
“I think a lot of drivers were in desperation mode at the end”, said Watson. “We had quite a few cautions, one after another, and guys were starting to make some pretty gutsy moves that were tearing up a lot of equipment”.
Watson would earn another position with 5-laps remaining, crossing the finish line in 4th position before being moved to 3rd after another competitor’s post-race technical disqualification.
“I’m so proud of the work my team put in this week”, praised Watson. “From the moment we unloaded on Monday, these guys never stopped working. We plan on running the ARCA/CRA Super Series in 2014 and this is exactly the kind of start we were hoping to get”.
Watson’s career best World Series Super Late Model finish was made possible thanks to Royal Distributing, Shear Metal Products, Barrie Frame & Alignment and Knightworks Design.
By Spencer Lewis