By Larry Ott
Special to The News
Once a familiar sight at the running of the NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse each October, Chad Brachmann has not been seen much there in the last four years.
However, thanks to the successful securing of some key sponsorship as well as the support of fellow driver-owner Randy Chrysler, fans will get a double dose of Brachmann this year at NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week XLII, which began Wednesday and continues through Sunday in Syracuse.
Brachmann, 38, was able to secure sponsor funding from Rolaids and Kinney Drugs, allowing him to return his DIRT.car 358 Modified entry to Syracuse for Saturday’s Salute to the Troops 150. He has also formed a partnership with Chrysler to use Chrysler’s car, motor and crew for the Syracuse 200 Super DIRT.car Big-Block Modified finale on Sunday.
Brachmann will try to time trial the best he can for both races to enhance his starting positions in each race but also has guaranteed starter status locked in for both events.
Brachmann is a guaranteed starter in the Syracuse 200 because he currently leads the points of the traveling BRP Big-Block Modified Tour. He received his guaranteed starter status for the Salute to the Troops 150 due to his win in July’s Battle of the Border DIRT.car 358 Modified event at Ransomville Speedway.
“I’m looking forward to running at Super DIRT Week in Syracuse this coming week because I’ve not been there running competitively in four years,” said Brachmann, a Sanborn resident. “I just couldn’t afford to race there as it is so expensive. But I was able to obtain some sponsors that are specific to Syracuse only and that’s how I can afford to run in the 358 Modified race this year.”
Brachmann will campaign his family-owned Brachmann Racing LLD No. 3B entry in the Salute to the Troops 150.
“Also, over the summer I was talking to Randy Chrysler about possibly teaming up with him for Syracuse in the Syracuse 200,” Brachmann said. “We finalized the partnership and arrangements for Super DIRT Week about a month ago. Thanks to Randy and his wife, Candi, I can use their No. 21K car, motor and crew for the Syracuse 200. We’re going to combine our two pit crews all week for both races. They have already been practicing their pit stops together and it looks pretty good.”
Historically, Brachmann has run very strong in the Salute to the Troops 150. He placed second twice in the race, in 2004 and 2006, and then Stewart Friesen finished in the runner-up position in 2007 while driving Brachmann’s car as Brachmann was recovering from an injury suffered earlier in that year’s Super DIRT Week competition.
In the Syracuse 200, Brachmann was running third back in the mid-2000s when he was driving for H&H Racing but with just seven laps remaining mechanical failure curtailed his racing effort.
Brachmann did win one of the marquee Super DIRT Week races in the early days of his driving career when he captured the checkered flag in the DIRT.car Sportsman 30 in 1999.
On Oct. 26, the BRP tour will run its final point race of the 2013 season at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa., where Brachmann figures to secure that tour’s 2013 season point championship.
“All I have to do is pull in the parking lot at Lernerville and the title will be mine,” Brachmann said.
Brachmann is the 2011 Ransomville Speedway DIRT.car 358 Modified champion. He placed third in the final DIRT.car 358 Modified points rundown at the Niagara County oval this year in his Mighty Taco-sponsored weekly effort there.
“We did OK at Ransomville this year but we were obviously hoping for better,” he said. “But it is what it is and we’ll go on from here.”
Constituting Brachmann’s own pit crew this season are his father, Mike Brachmann Sr., brother Corey Brachmann as well as Jason Needen, Ricky Wegner and Richard Mooradian. Brachmann also says he appreciates the support that he gets from his wife, Louise, and their daughters, Olivia (age 8) and Sophia (3).
The schedule of major events for NAPA Super DIRT Week XLII begins today with DIRT.car 358 Modified time trials at 1:20 p.m. followed by DIRT.car Big Block Modified time trials. The top six drivers in time trials in each session will be locked into the top six starting spots in the Salute to the Troops 150 and Syracuse 200.
Friday, DIRT.car Sportsman time trials to determine the top 12 starting spots for Saturday’s Sportsman Championship 30 will commence at 3:05 p.m. At 7:05, DIRT.car 358 Modified Twin 20 qualifying races for the Salute to the Troops 150 as well as triple DIRT.car Big Block Modified 20 lap qualifying races for the Syracuse 200 along with DIRT.car Sportsman Triple 20-lap qualifying races for the DIRT.car Sportsman Championship 30 will be held under the fairgrounds lights.
Saturday’s highlights include: DIRT.car Pro Stock time trials at noon for Sunday‘s BACC-OFF DIRT.car Pro Stock 25, the Salute to the Troops 150 at 1:30 p.m., followed by the DIRT.car Sportsman Championship 30 at 4:30.
Sunday features the DIRT.car Big Block Modified Last Chance qualifying race for the Syracuse 200 at 10:45 a.m., followed by the BACC-OFF DIRT.car Pro Stock 25 at noon and the Syracuse 200 at 2 p.m.
Elsewhere this weekend, Wyoming County International Speedway’s rain-postponed Shootout at the Bullring stock car season finale begins at 2 p.m. Saturday.