By: Ashley McCubbin
INNISFIL, Ontario — Despite going for a mid-race spin, Brandon Watson rebounded for a podium performance to start the NASCAR Pinty’s Series season at Sunset Speedway.
“It definitely a boost of confidence, for us,” he told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “A podium finish is always a good start to the season. It’s a new car for us so hopefully we can figure it out from here and hopefully keep moving up from here on the podium.”
Watson showed speed from the time he unloaded on Saturday at Sunset Speedway, posting the quickest time in qualifying. He then led the first 38 laps, before dropping further back into the top-five. An unfortunate handling issue saw him go for a spin on Lap 53, falling back a lap down.
“The first 50 laps went good for us,” he reflected. “Unfortunately, we struggled a little after that. I started getting in loose in, loose off and got passed by a couple cars. I was having issues with the brakes, having issues getting used to those. Unfortunately, we put too much rear brake in going into three and just came around me and wasn’t about to save it. That hurt us and we got caught up on the curb, and unfortunately, the leader just got by us.”
He continued to fight through the middle portion of the race, finding his way back on the lead lap in the final laps. A strong green-white-checkered restart allowed him to make his way up into third at the checkered flag.
“The crew did a good job getting us back into it,” he continued. “A couple lucky dogs, unfortunately caught up again in the last wreck there with the right front, but we were able to restart the green-white-checkered in fourth there and make a pass to get up to third. Overall, we’re happy. Car came home almost in one piece and got some experience in and we’re happy with the day.”
Without the incident, Watson was considered one of the possible favorites for the win, simply based on his performance last season at Delaware Speedway and experience at Sunset.
“It definitely hurt us,” he commented. “It would’ve been nice to stay on the lead lap, and make some adjustments in the break to have a good car. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen for us and we’ll learn from that and move on to the next race.”
The next event will be a new experience for Watson, in his first road course stock car start at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.
“It’s definitely going to be a new learning experience for us, for sure,” he said. “We were out there last year once to get some time on the track, but we’re still going to have to get out there and get some practice in right away. I don’t know if they’ll be a lot of practice too much on Saturday, but we’re going to try and get out there as much as we can and get the shifting and lines down, and have a good race on Sunday.”