September 5, 2013

AUTO RACING NOTEBOOK: Bracketts hope to make history at OPS

By Bill Stewart bstewart@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

Oxford Plains Speedway will wrap up its championship series Sunday, and all eyes will be on the Brackett family as they try to make track history.

T.J. Brackett is all but assured the points championship while his father, Tim, and sister, Vanna, are poised to finish second and third, respectively.

They are trying to become the first family to sweep the top three spots in the division at OPS.

“Hopefully, we can seal the deal,” said Vanna Brackett, a Buckfield native who is driving a Late Model for Winthrop resident Kevin Burgess. “We haven’t talked too much about it. We don’t want to jinx it.

But, wow, it would be something to go one, two, three.”

Vanna Brackett already made track history by becoming the first woman to win a Late Model points race at OPS. She accomplished that feat Aug. 2.

“We’ve done a lot this year,” she said. “It was nice to get that win.”

Brackett added she doesn’t have any plans to extend her season beyond this weekend.

“I think we’ll just start focusing on next year,” she said. “We’ll get our ducks in a row. Hopefully, we’ll start off next year good, too.”

• • •

Brian Whitney waited and waited for the right opportunity to make his move at the second annual Last Chance Motorsports 150 last Sunday at Unity Raceway.

“I let the guys out front race each other hard,” said Whitney, of Burnham. “I stayed in fourth or fifth, a comfortable spot. I let the race come to us. Everybody used their stuff up and then we started picking them off lap by lap with 40 to go.”

The move paid off for Whitney, who returned to racing after a year away to win the biggest race at the track this season.

The victory earned Whitney about $2,300.

“It really hasn’t sunk in yet,” he said. “It was nice to win, but at the time it didn’t seem like a big deal.”

Whitney hasn’t raced since July 2012 because of car issues and time constraints. However, the opportunity to drive a car for Speedway 95 driver Paul White was too good to pass up.

So Whitney took it and made it count in a race that was marred by 15 cautions.

“It was hard to get into a rhythm,” Whitney said. “You’d race four, five laps at a time and then a caution would come out. You just had to be patient.”

Whitney plans to race next in the annual Long John on Oct. 13.

• • •

Select American-Canadian Tour drivers tested at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H., on Wednesday in advance of the fifth annual Bond Auto ACT Invitational on Sept. 21.

Winthrop driver Jeff White planned to attend the practice but couldn’t make it because of work commitments. However, White said he still hopes to race the feature in a few weeks.

“We’re planning on it,” he said. “We hope to go. We’re still invited to the race.”

White last raced Aug. 17 at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in a 150-lap ACT feature. He finished 21st out of 25 cars.

White, who’s racing a limited schedule this season, also plans to compete in the annual Milk Bowl on Oct. 6 at Thunder Road in Barre, Vt.

“We’ve never been there so that will be fun,” White said. “We might play around at a few smaller races, too.”

• • •

Left turns: Joey Doiron won a pair of 125-lap features last weekend at White Mountain Motorsports Park in North Woodstock, N.H., to pad his lead in Pro All Stars Series North. Doiron, of Berwick, leads the series with 1,957 points. Farmington driver Cassius Clark is second with 1,936 points. ... Spud Speedway in Caribou is hosting its annual Dash for Cash on Sunday. The Outlaw Sportsman Spud 150 highlights the event, with the winner earning $500 plus lap money.

Bill Stewart — 621-5640
bstewart@centralmaine.com

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