Five Flags Speedway’s local divisions will be in action Friday, May 14. For Sportsmen racers in the area, there will be an extra $250 on the line if one of them can snap Brannon Fowler’s winning streak.
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Fowler won the first three races of the Sportsmen season at Five Flags Speedway, and will be going for a fourth consecutive win this weekend. Fowler returned to the Sportsmen division last summer with a win and short-run speed, but wanted more staying power over the course of races.
“We started late in the season with this car last year,” Fowler told Speed51. “We were fortunate enough to win a race in August, it was our first race back after a three-year absence from the class. The car had good speed from the get-go, but we weren’t able to get the longevity out of it in the longer races like the season championship and the Snowball Derby. The car really started going away.”
After some offseason conversations with his father, Fowler and the family team got to work and improving the No. 00 for 2021. It’s safe to say they hit on something in their winter preparations, as they are undefeated on the new season.
Me and my dad, we sat down over the winter and threw some ideas at each other about what we should do to try to help that. The car had the speed to be competitive in these races, but towards the end of them it really started going away. We feel like we’ve helped that a lot with what we did, and that’s contributed to these three wins so far.
Now, Fowler enters this week with a target squarely planted on his back, as fellow competitors will be hoping to beat him to the checkered flag for the $250 bounty along with first-place prize money. However, Fowler says getting ready for this Friday’s race is no different than any other week at Five Flags.
“It’s no different than any other week. The bounty is designed to attract the outside competition to come in, hopefully come and race with us and score an extra $250 on top of winning the race. I guess it’s no different feeling than any other week.
We always have the mindset on race week, we want to go there and we want to win and have the points fall how they fall. We just go there of wanting to win races. We’ve been lucky enough and blessed to have won the first three, and hopefully we can keep this good luck rolling.
He also will be the first to admit that winning the first three races of the year does not make him a lock to be this Friday’s favorite. As the summer approaches on the Gulf Coast, track conditions will change dramatically from where they were at the start of the year.
“Just like any race car driver will tell you, you have to have a certain amount of luck on your side to win any race, whether its one race or three races. You’ve certainly got to try to stay on top of your game. A lot happens during the week, the changes especially in Florida. In April you might go on a Friday night and its 55 or 60 degrees.
“Two months from then, it might be 85 degrees, and you’ve got a big difference in track temperature. You can’t rest on your laurels, you can’t stay with what you were doing in April because the track is going to change so much.”
Fowler has thoroughly enjoyed his return to the Sportsmen division, both for its affordability and the wide range of drivers he faces each week.
“We had some success in the past in the Sportsmen division, which is always a plus. The cost of it was more what we could afford and what was suited and best for us. The competition has veterans, it has up-and-coming drivers coming from the Pure Stocks and working their way up the ranks. It’s a really good mix of drivers. You’ve got 14 and 15-year-olds up to guys who have been racing out there 20 years or so.”
Fans unable to attend Friday’s race at Five Flags will be able to watch live on Speed51.TV. Click here to watch Friday’s racing with a Speed51.TV subscription.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo