PESSIMISTIC BRESNAHAN DOMINATES SUNBELT 125 by Steven Neely
Drawing A “Zero” Pill Might Just Have Been The Key
To just about any racecar driver, a couple of solid practice sessions, a pole-winning speed and drawing a rare “non-invert” allowing the starting order to stay the same would have been cause for optimism for the race.
That was not the case for Mike Bresnahan, who was more nervous than elated at his starting spot in the FASCAR Sunbelt Super Late Model Series 125 at Citrus County Speedway on Saturday night.
Jeff Scofield, the Sunbelt Series points leader coming into the race, offered some words of wisdom as well.
“It’s not about where you start, it’s about where you finish here,” said Scofield. “You could get a good race car but get tangled up on the first lap. It’s a driver and a car track, but it’s also a lot of luck.”
The threat of thunderstorms loomed to the north, but it was the action on the track that kept the packed crowd glued to their seats. Bresnahan’s #3 pulled to the lead, but by the second lap, the caution flag flew for the night’s biggest accident involving Jeff Choquette, Danny Johnson, Patrick Conrad and Scofield.
Mike Bresnhan won his first Sunbelt race and celebrated it with his family. (51 Photos)
Choquette got the worst of the damage, with his car slamming the wall hard and eventually coming to rest on the dirt berm supporting the infield’s lighting system.
“I was on the outside and I saw some other cars making it work up there and I was going to follow,” said Choquette. “I don’t think it was intentional at all, but I got hit in the door and it spun me in the wall.”
Conrad and Choquette were sent back to their haulers early, but Scofield and Johnson were able to return to competition with sheet metal damage.
This multi-car wreck ruined the chances of both Jeff Choquette (#70) and Patrick Conrad (#2).
“It’s good that we drew a zero, but for my nerves it probably wasn’t good,” said Bresnhan. “I hate starting on the pole. I’d rather start fifth than on the pole. You got nowhere to go but down.”
This sentiment was echoed by fellow drivers, who likened the tight racing on the slippery asphalt of the quarter-mile Citrus County Speedway to that of Bristol Motor Speedway. Experience plays a huge role with racing at Citrus County
“People who come here for the first time are a little lost,” said Florida veteran Wayne Anderson. “I’ve been coming here for a lot of years and I just feel like this place has been awful good to me.”
Green flag racing resumed and Anderson mounted a challenge, but Bresnahan was able to hold him off through a string of cautions for single-car spins and debris from those spins. Anderson’s night went sour on lap 71 when he discovered a tire going down.
“At that very first wreck, I must’ve got something on the right front and I had a right front going down, so I sat there and rode. I thought maybe it would stabilize, but it didn’t and it kept getting worse and I finally ducked in the pits,” said a disappointed Anderson. “They just went back to green before I could get out.”
With Anderson multiple laps down and the race settling down, Bresnahan was able to put a healthy distance between himself and second-place Rich Pratt in the #0 machine. After a couple of minor spins by Chris Fontaine and Johnson, the field was set for a run to the checkers with only 25 laps to go.
Pratt made sure Bresnahan knew he was there on the final restart, but the hometown driver was able to pull away and hang on for the victory in the second FASCAR Sunbelt Series race of the season. Scofield was able to work his way past Pratt in the closing laps for second, with Pratt settling for third ahead of Daniel Webster and Scott Millar.
However, the night was all about Bresnahan, who led all 125 laps.
“Everything lined up perfect today,” said Bresnahan. “We didn’t hit any red lights on the way to the track, everything worked out good. We qualified the fast time and drew the zero, and all the guys just worked so hard on the car through the week and anything I ask them to do they do, so this is for them.”
Scofield was pleased with his second place run, saying patience was the key.
“Starting 13th is a bad deal, but like we talked about earlier, it’s not where you start it’s where you finish, so I have to eat my own words with that one,” said Scofield. “We missed a wreck right at the beginning, we got a little damage but nothing major, and recovered from that one well. We picked them off one by one. We bought our time, kept our nose clean, stayed out of the wrecks, didn’t abuse the car, and I believe we had a good car at the end.”
Jeff Scofield continues to lead the Sunbelt points.
Pratt saw his fairly uneventful night as a good thing.
“This is kind of like our Bristol, anything can happen and it’s real small,” said Pratt. “Any time you can come in here and not get tore up and finish up in the top three or five, you’re doing something.”
With everything going right, what else is Bresnaham going to do?
“We’re going to play the lottery. Maybe I ought to go buy one tonight.”