The Brandon Ford Wheel Man Series Sportsman returned home to Citrus County Speedway Saturday night for a 50-lap showdown under the lights. While fans had to wait out a brief shower that pushed feature racing through the night, they got a special treat when the green flag finally flew.
Jason Vail picked up his first Wheel Man Series victory in the JR Beckner owned No. 71 by out dueling NASCAR Drive for Diversity driver Brooke Storer on the final restart of the night.
“I’ve been friends with (JR Beckner) a long time,” Vail said in victory lane. “He always trusts me to run his stuff for him and try to help develop his program overall and I think we’ve done that.
“I think this victory has been a long time coming. I’ve had a lot of close second-place finishes. There’s been a lot of heartbreak. I think I’ve raced ten times and set fast time seven of them. I always pull a really deep pill and always get stuck in the back, and tonight I don’t qualify upfront, I get a decent invert, and the car was really great. I could pass anybody on the bottom. I was getting tight for a little bit on the bottom, but I opened my entry up and it helped it out a lot.
“These Wheel Man races are so tough to win because everybody has to start at the same spot so everyone gets a fair chance,” Vail continued. I thought (Brooke Storer) was going to give me a run for my money, and she did. I’m just glad I was able to get ahead.”
Storer started 11th on the evening after qualifying second. She accredits her second-place finish to the time it took to drive through the field and an increasingly tight racecar.
“We started 11th after qualifying second with the large invert. Inverts here are always a lot of fun and difficult at the same time,” Storer said. “So luckily enough we were able to drive up to second. We had a few restarts there at the end and my car just got way too tight. I thought I had him. I tried the crossover a couple of times but I just couldn’t quite get there. Congrats to Jason Vail. He did a great job. He races me well each week and it’s a lot of fun to race with him. So I look forward to the next one. I just hate being the first looser.”
Dillon Sivils kept his car up front and out of trouble throughout the race to pick up his second podium finish of the 2019 season.
“We started fourth and all you can do is just stay with these guys as best you can, especially when you’re running side by side,” Sivils said. “Everybody is really fast. So it takes a lot of discipline to be patient in this series and that was one of the mistakes I made earlier this year. But as the race went on the car seemed to get better, and a caution here, a restart there. I just think we made more right moves than we made wrong moves tonight.”
The Brandon Ford Wheel Man Series Sportsman will return to Citrus County Speedway September 21 for round 10 of the 12-race season.
Video highlights from Saturday night’s race at Citrus County can be viewed now on the Speed51 Network.
-Story by: Allick Jorgensen, Speed51.com National Correspondent – Twitter: @AJorgensen24
-Photo credit: Speed51.com photo
Brandon Ford Wheel Man Series 50 Unofficial Results:
Citrus County Speedway – Inverness, Florida – July 26, 2019