Rising stock car racing star Brayton Haws is attempting his second Martinsville 300 this weekend, and he's hoping that it will go a little bit better than his first attempt just one year ago. The Youngsville, North Carolina driver was caught up in an incident on the very first lap of the 200-lap showcase and went two laps down as a result.
Haws rallied back to finish on the lead lap in 10th, but he spent all race fighting to get back on even footing with the leaders.
This year Haws hopes he can parlay his success on the CARS Racing Tour to success in the biggest Late Model Stock Car race of the season at Virginia's famous paperclip that is Martinsville Speedway.
"We've really grown and developed a lot and we've gotten a lot of experience from all the racing we've done this year," said Haws. "We got a lot more wins under our belt this year than we got last year. I just think that we're more confident this year and more ready for whatever gets thrown at us."
The 16-year-old North Carolina driver has scored three wins in CARS Late Model Stock Tour competition this year, and is in championship contention heading into the final race of the season at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) on November 1.
But while all three of those race wins came with cool trophies, none of them were a grandfather clock from Martinsville Speedway.
"Last year that was all I talked about the whole year was getting a grandfather clock," he said. "It would mean a lot to me to have that thing just sitting in my room or in the shop, because you can just stare at it and know that you won. It would mean a lot to me and my team anyone around us that helps us."
Even if Haws doesn't bring home the big clock on Sunday afternoon, there's still a way for him to view the day as a success. He explained that he'll be happy with a top-five finish and a less eventful day than the one he had in 2014.
But even if Haws does have a day similar to last year, he said he believes that he's better equipped to handle that kind of stressful day.
"I just think that we're more confident this year," he said. "We're definitely more ready for whatever gets thrown at us."
Haws missed a day of school a week ago to take part in the test session that was held at the facility. He believes that he and his Hawk-McCall Motorsports team learned a lot that day.
"We're still learning every time we hit the track," said Haws. "I learned a lot there. I changed my mind-set a little bit and my line to get into the corners. We had a pretty good car in the practice on Wednesday and we are really confident in our equipment. I definitely think we have what it takes to get the job done."
-51 Sports Press Release. Photo credit: Speed51.com