Drew Brannon Second in Race, Second in Championship
Memphis Motorsports Park (November 7, 2009) Drew Brannon gave his best shot more than once but could not overcome caution flags and ultimately darkness in his effort to clear Dillon Oliver and came home second in the ASA Late Model Challenge Series season-ending Kings Ransom 300 at Memphis Motorsports Park.
Drew qualified the ASI Limited No. 08 seventh out of the 33 cars in attendance for what might be the final race ever at the Memphis track which announce recently it was closing following the event. The inversion was eight placing Brannon's ASI Limited Chevy on the outside pole.
Before the race, SS Green Light Racing Crew Chief Butch Miller reminded Drew how long the race was and to save his car for the last 50 laps. At the drop of the green, the inside proved to be the quick way around the 3/4-mile track and Brannon fell all the way back to eighth in the running order. Showing maturity well beyond his age, Drew gathered his composure slowly and carefully working his way toward the front of the field. At the one-third mark, Brannon was sixth with last years King’s Ransom winner Steve Carlson at the point.
Drew moved up to fourth on lap 114 and then to third when Carlson had a tire issue on lap 135 handing the lead to Eddie Hoffman. Drew had a very close call on lap 187 when Peter Vanderwyst spun directly in front of him, forcing Drew into the grass to avoid contact dropping back to fourth at the end of the second 100-lap segment.
The third 100-lap segment turned into a caution-fest and the numerous stoppages in the action slowed Drew’s progress to the front. Early in the third segment Drew had a good battle with Ross Kenseth and Brannon prevailed to move into third by lap 225. Drew caught Josh Hamner at lap 239 for second and began to chase down Dillon Oliver who had taken the point.
Drew’s car was quick on long runs, but it took several laps for the car to settle in to his liking after each caution. He was able to get inside of Oliver on lap 264 when a caution flew relegating him back to second. Once again Drew caught the 33 of Oliver on lap 279 only to have the caution fall again, dropping him back to second.
With darkness approaching, several more cautions plagued the late stages of the race and slowed Brannon’s bid to get to the lead. The third time he caught Oliver was on lap 294 and looked to take the lead when another untimely caution fell and spoiled his bid. ASA Officials were forced to finish the race under caution as it had become too dark to safely race to the scheduled 300-lap mark with Drew unable to make another run for the victory.
Following the race Brannon was disappointed to have victory slip out of his fingers not once, not twice, but three times, “I thought I had him for sure once, I was right up to his door and I had a great angle to pull ahead and get the lead. One more lap is all I needed. At the end it was getting really dark and the pace car even had its lights on. There was no way we could safely finish the race.”
“I felt like we worked our plan to take care of the car perfectly and all the cautions just took it away from us. We had the best car at the end of the race. I’m disappointed because I really wanted that tenth victory of the season and I thought we were going to get it several times, only to have the cautions set us back,” Brannon explained. “Overall, it was a great season for the SS Green Light team and winning this race would have been the perfect way to end the year.”
Brannon finished the ASA Late Model Challenge season second to Brian Campbell in the point standings, just short of sweeping the South Division and Challenge Series Championships.
“Drew has a natural God-given talent on the track and combined with his racing smarts I expect a good NASCAR team to be trying to sign him and they will be lucky to get him,” said Miller. “It has been a joy to work with him all season, he is truly a special talent.”
For more on SS Green Light Racing, visit www.SSRacingonline.com or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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