Brayton Haws and his Hawk McCall Motorsports team rolled up their sleeves and worked diligently Saturday in the Rusty Harpe Memorial 171 at North Carolina's Caraway Speedway.
The hard work to make the Mechanical HVAC Services/Rheem No. 41 Late Model better throughout the day and the 171-lap main event paid off with a third-place finish in a field of top NASCAR Whelen All-American Series talents.
"It was a good night for us," said Haws. "We struggled all day in practice. We just kept changing setup after setup. We readlly didn't know what we had the whole day until maybe the second-to-last practice when we kind of figured it out. I'm pretty shocked that we came home with a podium finish after all that hard work.
"I can't thank the guys enough for all they did to get the car good enough to run up front like they did."
Haws started the extra-distance event in the sixth position and remained in or near the top-five throughout the first half of the race, still fighting through some headaches with the car's handling. A lap 100 pit stop for new tires and adjustments allowed the Rheem crew to make their final adjustments to the car that allowed the 15-year-old to finish on the podium.
"It's a confidence booster. "With my team behind me, they work hard and they got it to where I wanted it to be. Maybe if there was another 10 or 15 laps I could've caught Myatt (Snider, the second-place finisher) and come home in second, but right now I'm happy with third."
Haws will now take that boosted confidence to Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Virginia, where he will look to add a fourth CARS Late Model Stock Car Tour victory of the season to his 2015 total.
"We ran the twin-75 lap features at Motor Mile last week and we ran pretty good, finishing fifth and sixth. We had a few small things to work on throughout that day, but we got a good setup down pat and we'll be good for the tough competition down there for the CARS Tour race."
The recent strong finishes in weekly division competition at Motor Mile gave the young racer many laps of experience to build on in the CARS Tour race there on July 11.
"I learned you've just got to keep your momentum up," added Haws. "If not, they're just going to kill you off the corners and that's where it means the most to get the best run down the straightaways."
For more information on Brayton Haws, visit his website at www.braytonhaws.com or follow him on Twitter at @BraytonHaws.
- 51 Sports / Brayton Haws press release
- Photo credit: Speed51.com