By Jim Clarke, Clarke Motorsports Communications/First Draft Media
Momentum can be difficult to explain and even harder to comprehend. It’s so easy to lose, tough to gain and almost impossible to maintain. Heading into the 2013 season at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park Speedway, Linc Brown was looking to build as much momentum as his Late Model race team could muster. Whether the #99 Dodge Charger by McColl Racing Enterprises machine wound-up in victory lane or not, the drive he was hoping to achieve through a string of consistent showings early in the year could help propel the 47 year-old from Colborne, Ontario to the point lead and eventually, the track championship.
Following a scheduled break in the action, the team rolled back into battle Saturday, June 8th for the campaign’s 3rd show. As the field rolled to the line for the night’s qualifying events, Brown held the slimmest advantage possible – just 1 point – over the driver sitting second in the standings. There would be so much to be determined with every turn of the wheel to decide whether the driver and crew would gain or lose their top position. Finishes of 5th and 1st in the evening’s preliminary rounds would do little to provide a possible solution.
“The car felt better than it has all year,” said Linc Brown after his heat races. “We’d been chasing a loose handling condition most of the year, but some extra work – and going over last year’s notes with the crew – during the off weekend really seemed to help. There was more stability from the driver’s seat and it didn’t feel like the car was going to snap around whenever I turned the wheel.”
As the Late Model field rolled to the line for their 25 lap ‘A’ main, Linc Brown’s sleek, black beast with the showroom shine sat 4th on the starting grid. There was a pair of championship rivals just in front of him and another alongside. Even though it may be far too early in the young season to be ‘points racing’, he was keenly aware of who was starting where and where they were in the standings. On the final of a pair of parade laps, the driver worked through different race strategies in his mind, trying to decide whether to run a patient or aggressive feature race.
“I learned a long time ago that racing is about more than pounding the pedal and pushing your way to the front,” said Brown. “My kids Bailey and Mason both race karts and I’ve told them they should run their race, but also be aware of how the others around them drive and which lines they’re using. That way, you can find a rhythm and try to plan your move for a specific section of the track and gain that next position.”
For the first half of the feature tilt, Linc Brown followed in the tire tracks of the car that beat him to the line just 2 weeks earlier. He was getting a feel for where his rival would back off going into the turns and what the car would do coming back to speed. That allowed the #99 to slip into 3rd spot and set his sights on the leaders. As you get closer to the front, passing can become tougher. He’d try the inside, then the outside line to get around the second place runner, only to be rebuffed with each attempt. Sometimes you need to be lucky to be good and when the #52 cut a right front tire coming back up to speed after a late race caution, Brown inherited the position.
“I’ll take the spot any way I can get it,” said Brown while loading the car into the trailer. “I tried for a few laps, but couldn’t complete the pass. It’s too bad Mark had a solid effort go away the way it did, but that’s part of the game. It could just as easily been my car heading to pit lane for a new tire. I’m thrilled to have started the year with 3rd place as my worst main event finishing position.”
Linc Brown Motorsports would like to thank this year’s marketing partners Kawartha Metals, Don Butt Auto Body, Rousseau Automobile Communications, Mayhew Graphics and Clarke Motorsports Communications for supporting their program in 2013.
Photo attachment: Jim Clarke – Clarke Motorsports Communications/First Draft Media
A second consecutive runner-up finish – Saturday, June 8th – has Linc Brown’s #99 Dodge Charger in the thick of the Late Model division point fight at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park Speedway.
Prepared by: Jim Clarke – Clarke Motorsports Communications/First Draft Media