By Rich Vleck
The Broderick Racing team entered this past weekend with high hopes that they might be able to capture their third win of the 2010 season. With three races at two tracks that suited Bubba Broderick’s driving style, his chance at having things go right were good. In the end though, what could go wrong just about did.
Friday Night, the team travelled for the first time ever to Clinton County Raceway, located in the heart of Central Pennsylvania. The tight 1/3-mile suited Bubba’s eye, but with 45 cars in the pits, things were competitive to say the least.
With a quality draw for the third heat race, the Brookfield, CT looked to get to work on a top spot for the feature. Challenging for second early in the event, the top wing on the No. 5 slid back when the wing slider broke and severely tightened his Eagle. Broderick was able to hang on to third, which was good enough to qualify for the feature, but had a mountain to climb in the A-Main.
“I was stuck on the bottom on the start after practicing on the top but I didn’t lose a spot getting up there,” noted Bubba. “I was setting up to pass the No. 11 when the caution came out. I slid the wing back a tighten up the car a touch but when I hit the backstretch on the restart the wing slid back on me and the car became way too tight. I didn’t realize that was the problem until I got back to the pits. We might have had a chance at the redraw but that set us way back.”
Despite starting near the back, the 20-year-old began to drive up through the pack, moving to ninth place by the third lap. Just after the restart though, Broderick’s left front made contact with an implement tire lining to bottom of the track, which would break his front end and a few laps later would be sliding through the infield.
“The car was getting such a good run on other cars but they were side-by-side, so I saw an opening on the bottom on the fourth lap and just hit the tire. The official told me under a red flag that my front axle was bent but I figured it must be alright if I was passing cars. It was very tough to drive and with about 10 to go I broke the torsion arm off and I went for a wild ride. I was just glad it didn’t hit anyone or anything.”
While a number of bolt on parts would need to be replaced that night, the team knew they had two good chances to win at Woodhull on Saturday, one of Bubba’s best tracks.
The first event of the night was the rain-delayed feature from May, in which Bubba started eighth. By lap five, Bubba had found himself in fourth and moving up fast when a car slowed in front of him on the top of turn four to bring out the caution. Bubba went to avoid the stopped car and spun around his No. 5. Broderick through up a cloud of dust as he stayed in the throttle and was able to drive away and thus was able to get his spot back.
“The set of corners earlier the car pushed and when I went into turns 3 and 4 it pushed when I slowed to avoid that car, and I figured that’s all it was. I was so pumped to have the spot back and thought everything was alright. Up until that point the car was really fast.”
Broderick appeared ready to rim ride farther forward on the restart, but evidently a right rear tire had been punctured just before the caution and was leaking air. He would limp around the track the next five laps awaiting another caution. When leader Chuck Hebing lapped Bubba, he took it to the infield and was done for the race.
“I should have recognized under the caution that the tire was flat and ducked into the pits too change it. Once I realized it under green I didn’t want to draw a caution, but I guess that would have saved us.”
In the regularly-scheduled show at Woodhull, Broderick drew the pole for his heat but would finish second behind 2009 race winner Bobby Breen. It would be just enough to keep Bubba out of the redraw and send him to the dash. In the dash, Bubba was solid again in second and would earn a 10th place starting spot for the stacked A-Main.
“We got to try something different for the dash and it didn’t work out well but it was something we realized was not the right setup. We knew we still had a good setup in our book for the feature.”
As the field was getting set to come to green though, he developed a flat left rear tire and would have to head to the pits and vacate his starting spot. The crew would change the tire in under a minute and Bubba would drive from last towards into the top-10 by lap eight when the red flag came out. Broderick knew the spare tire had loosened up his car but continued to fight the rest of the way.
“I was so mad inside the car. I couldn’t believe that I picked up a flat for the second time after no contact with anyone or anything. The rest of the way we were pretty good, but it wasn’t the setup we preferred to have.”
In the end, Bubba would cross in ninth, sandwiched between Bryan Howland and Jared Zimbardi with whom he engaged in a spirited battle during the final few circuits. It was once again not the finish he wanted, but he still did drive forward.
“It was a lost opportunity for us. It was the kind of night where you couldn’t assign blame to anyone, it was just racing.”
Broderick now realizes that his championship hopes are now slipping away and is focusing on winning more races, like the big show at Black Rock this Friday that pays $4,000-to-win.
“I’ve never had a chance to start up front there. I need a good draw for a change there because we have a lot of notes from there and the car has run well in the feature, but it is always fighting from the back. I want August to be different.”
Broderick Racing is supported by Northeast Carpet, Brownie’s Towing, Pink Money Water, Eagle Motorsports, Mike Emhof Motorsports, Fyne Line Construction, Campbell’s Painting, Jim’s Welding Supply.
For more information, be sure to visit www.BroderickRacing.com.