STAYNER, ON – Another busy weekend for Brandon Watson Racing involving both the OSCAAR Super Late Model and Pro Late Model with stops at Delaware Speedway and Sunset International Speedway. First on the doc was round seven of the 2012 OSCAAR Super Late Model tour at Delaware, where Brandon entered the race as the points leader with a 34 point cushion over uncle Glenn Watson and Derrick Tiemersma.
Starting on the pole of Klotz Synthetics qualifying heat three, Watson did not disappoint as he won his only heat race of the night in commanding fashion defeating Glenn Watson by 3.186 seconds. The Royal Distributing/Shear Metal Products/Barrie Frame & Alignment/Knightworks Design sponsored entry with Watson at the controls would see a quick lap nearly half a second faster than any other driver in the heat, and clocking an average speed over 100 miles per hour.
That put Watson in the top six cars for the redraw process, where he would receive some help from Lady Luck as he drew the pole. Watson would start first alongside another heat winner, ‘Magic Shoes’ Rob Clarke.
A slow start to the 50-lap A-main saw five cautions in the first four laps, forcing OSCAAR officials to restart the field single-file. This would allow Watson to pace the field to green for what would be a 23-lap green flag run. On lap 9, Clarke moved past Watson to take the lead and quickly extended his lead while Brandon tried to keep pace.
A trio of cautions in the latter half of the race provided Watson with his best opportunities to retake the lead from Clarke, but ‘Magic Shoes’ simply had the quicker car on this night. Brandon would hold on to the second spot without any significant challenge from third place driver George Wilson.
Following the race, Watson explained he didn’t feel he had enough to catch Clarke even if the race had been a few laps longer. “I would like to say yes. We did have a bit of a problem in our car, sparks coming off the left front. I’m not taking anything away from Rob Clarke, he ran a good race, he ran me clean,” explained the Stayner, ON teenager. “I’m not sure we would have had anything for him. I was trying my hardest to stay up with him and on the restarts maybe get by him. He ran a good race and it was hard to get by him.”
With the win, Watson extended his lead in the championship standings to 38 markers over Wilson. With just four races remaining on the 2012 tour, Watson is excited to have the points lead. Said Watson, “It always feels good to have the points lead. I think we got a pretty good lead going for us. I’m just trying to stay consistent and get a top-three every race…and maybe get a points championship out of racing this year.”
The podium finish at Delaware bodes well for Watson who will return to the London, ON oval on Sunday, September 2 for the Great Canadian Race, Keystone Light 200.
“I’ve always liked this track. It’s big, it’s fast – especially in these cars, it feels like you’re flying out there. It is a bit rough in the late model, it’s hard to pass here, but I still like coming here. Hopefully later in the year and maybe in future races we can pull off a win.”
The entire crew was back to work on Sunday at Sunset International Speedway for the fourth and final round of the McColl Racing Enterprises Pro Series. After a wreck in round two, Watson was not in championship contention entering the night, but was looking to build on an impressive fifth place result in round three.
Qualifying time trials were on the card for the Pro Late Models as they had been in the previous two events. Watson would lay down the second quickest lap, with Tom Walters taking the top spot. Watson explained that his time on the Jegs CRA tour in 2011 helped his qualifying ability. “We usually have a good car for qualifying. I had a lot of practice at it last year, so I’m getting better.”
The invert roll of eight meant Watson would start inside the fourth row in seventh with Walters to his outside. The top eight cars were tightly knit over the first half of the race, running side-by-side for much of the green flag action, keeping Watson tucked to the bottom and unable to advance. Said Watson, “Right off the start I fell back to eighth, they were just side by side. The top eight or so guys, we were a bit ahead and they were side-by-side in front of me. There wasn’t really anywhere for me to go the first forty or so laps.”
During a mid-race caution, Watson decided he was tired of sitting patiently and would make his move on the ensuing restart. He then assumed the lead around the 2/3 mark of the race and began to watch the rear view mirror as championship contenders Walters and Mike Bentley began to battle for second.
“I got in a good lane and just kept moving forward from there. It kind of thinned out a bit, guys started falling back. We got the lead at lap 50 or so, after that we just tried to hold on,” said Watson. With four laps remaining and Watson in control of the field, Bentley got in to the side of Walters with a stuck throttle, sending the 28-time champion spinning. A controversial decision saw Walters regain his spot behind Brandon for the final restart. Watson, however, had the stronger car and was able to fend off the Sunset veteran for four more laps to earn his first Pro Late Model victory of the season.
“He was trying to get by me. I don’t know if he could have or not, our car was good. We didn’t race one lane, we raced the whole track. We got loose a couple of times, he got inside me, but we held him off,” explained Watson following the race. Watson also felt that it helped him to be stuck at the beginning of the race as it forced him to save his tires for the later stages of the night.
Said Watson, “It definitely did help, it did work out for the best. It was kind of frustrating at the start not getting by (other cars). It worked out for us and we were able to get the car to victory lane.” Brandon Watson will be back in action next Saturday at Peterborough Speedway for round eight of the OSCAAR Super Late Model series, and again on Sunday for the aforementioned Keystone Light 200 at Delaware Speedway in his Pro Late Model.
By Clayton Johns