By Bill W
August 16, 2011 – Brady Bacon turned heads in his first Knoxville Nationals last weekend and came away with Rookie of the Year honors among a tough rookie crop. Though he suffered a pair of setbacks, his finish in the B main was tops amongst first year drivers. This weekend, he’ll be back in the Brady Bacon Racing #99 360 sprint car at the Jackson Nationals in Jackson, Minnesota.
This was Brady’s maiden voyage in a real winged 410 sprint car. “I had run a dash-12 motor at Salina with the Outlaws, but this week marked my first time in a real 410 winged race,” he says. “I have Tony Stewart Racing and Jimmy Carr to thank for that. The #15 team let us try out that (Shaver) motor and we’re looking to purchase it in the future and do some more 410 stuff. I’d like to thank Ron Shaver for helping us, and all our great partners who have helped us all year.”
Qualifying Wednesday, Brady timed in tenth quick in the 45-car field. “We were pretty good in qualifying,” he says. “I think we could have been a little better, but we’ll definitely take tenth quick at the Nationals. We had luck on our side in the heat when (Chad) Kemenah and (Austen) Wheatley crashed. We were able to track everybody on the bottom and get a transfer spot from there.”
After his fourth place heat finish, Brady lined up outside of row two for the prelim feature. Running in the top ten, he was collected in an accident that eliminated him. “We had to pay for the good luck we had in the heat later,” he says. “We were really good on top in the feature, but I really couldn’t run the bottom. That moved us back to ninth or tenth. That’s when (David) Gravel got around and we couldn’t avoid him.”
Contact meant another car would be needed for Saturday’s finale. “We bent the car pretty good,” says Brady. “It’s fixable, but we decided to pull the other car out to make it easier. It was just as good. We made some adjustments, and I was learning new things with every lap we made on the track.”
The Broken Arrow, Oklahoma driver started fifth in Saturday night’s B main and looked like he was on his way to the A main in his first try. “We were able to drive to the lead, and Stevie Smith got us back,” says Brady. “The car was really running well and I was feeling good until we lost the tire.”
Brady charged from the rear up to eleventh, and garnered Rookie of the Nationals honors. “We really exceeded our expectations,” he says. “I think we opened a lot of eyes there. It was really a successful Nationals considering what happened. We overcame one catastrophe, but we couldn’t overcome the second.”
Tuesday’s Ultimate Challenge produced another good run. After winning his heat, Brady ran from sixth to third in his qualifier at the Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa, Iowa. “There was just enough to run two grooves,” he says of a dry racing surface. “The cushion was still o.k. around the top and there was a little bit on the bottom. We were able to move around a little. We were really good in the heat, and o.k. in the qualifier. We couldn’t quite get up there far enough, and got caught in a traffic jam.”
While Kyle Larson was out front on the cushion in the main event, Brady worked his way into second and tracked the leader using the bottom of the track. “In the feature, it was taking rubber in one and two,” says Brady. “It was starting to take it in three and four. We tracked Larson down for six or seven laps catching him on the bottom. When we had the red, everyone’s tires were pretty much gone except for Larson…he had been up top.”
While ten drivers made tire changes during the red, Brady was out front and had to stay with what he had, which wasn’t much. He would have to settle for second behind Larson. “The tires cooled there, and we just had to try to save them, and we finished second,” he says. “Kyle’s tires were just too good to beat him. We probably only could have made it one or two laps. If the track were better, I think it would have been between the two of us. We had a good car.”
On Sunday night, Brady raced with USAC again at Valley Speedway in Grain Valley, Missouri. Coming out late, he was third quick. “We were able to win the heat from sixth,” he says. “We started fourth in the A and had the lead at about the halfway point. We got into lapped traffic and the car started getting loose. (Jon) Stanbrough was able to get by us, and then I tried to move around. The car just kept going away, and we ended up sixth just holding on.”
It’s back to racing with the Lucas Oil ASCS National Series at the Jackson Speedway Nationals in Jackson, Minnesota this Friday and Saturday.
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Follow Brady at his website located at www.BradyBaconRacing.com! Also keep up with him on Facebook and Twitter (which also can be accessed at the website) at the following links…
Twitter Link – http://twitter.com/BradyBacon
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