The Brandon Ford Wheel Man Racing Series Sportsman rolled into America’s most southern short track, 417 Southern Speedway in Punta Gorda, Florida Saturday evening. After 50 green flag laps, series veteran Joe Winchell parked it in victory lane after leading the entire distance of the caution-free main event.
‘We didn’t qualify as well as we wanted to,” Winchell told Speed51. “Everyone thought we had sandbagged to get up there. But we made some changes on some notes on things we did a month ago when we came here and won and it woke this thing up. When the track cooled off it just played in our favor. It was really nice. I’m glad it went caution free. It just really makes me happy to win one of these Wheel Man races.”
Winchell, who travels from Georgia to Central Florida regularly to race, had posted on Facebook earlier in the week about his long-time friend, Florida racing legend David Rogers. In that post, Winchell stated that while he has frustrations out on the track and in the garage, nothing compares to Rogers’ eagerness to return to the race car following his battle with cancer.
After the race, Winchell was given a moment to reflect on that.
“The post on Facebook kind of got out of hand there,” Winchell said. “I was more or less just worried about David Rogers and hoping he can get back in the seat. Realizing the things I’m thinking about have nothing to do with what he’s got going on. If he wants to race that bad so do I.”
Junior Beckner, a regular with the Wheel Man Racing Series, finished second on the evening after driving through the field quickly off the start.
“We all got off to a clean start, caution free, and Winchell got a good run,” Beckner said. “Basically it’s just a big learning curve for me right now, going from the high banks to the flat tracks, and we learned a lot tonight. I didn’t have a lot for the leader unfortunately, but I’m not unhappy with a second. It’s better than a third.
“This is about our third or fourth time here,” Beckner continued. “Every time we come here we get a little quicker, a little faster, and I’m just biding my time until it’s my time to win. I think we’ll get there eventually. We had a solid run tonight. We had a second-place car and that’s where we finished.”
Colton Bramlett finished third after holding off a host of series points leaders to retain the final spot on the podium.
“It was a wild night,” said Bramlett. “I’m so happy we were able to pull ourselves together. I think we started with a little too much stagger in the right rear but we were able to capitalize on it and keep our tires straight on exit. It was really a rocket ship as long as I drove my line right and hit my marks. As soon as they started breathing on my tail it was really had to not look in my mirror and start staring. That was the big thing. I’m still learning you can’t get intimidated by the guys behind you. That was a big learning experience for me and luckily I held strong and didn’t get intimidated.”
Fans of the Brandon Ford Wheel Man Series can watch a replay of Saturday night’s live broadcast on-demand now on the Speed51 Network.
The Brandon Ford Wheel Man Series Sportsman head back to Citrus County Speedway next Saturday night, June 14 for their final race before a much-needed summer break.
-Story by: Allick Jorgensen, Speed51.com National Correspondent - Twitter: @AJorgensen24
-Photo credit: Speed51.com photo
Brandon Ford Wheel Man Series Sportsman 50 Unofficial Results:
417 Southern Speedway – Punta Gorda, Florida – June 8, 2019
|10||09||Donnie Ollie Jr.|