DAYTONA BEACH, FL - Mike “Bubba” Brooks is navigating his way through early season challenges at Kalamazoo (Mich.) Speedway.

Brooks leads the outlaw super late model track and state point races, but it’s taken relentless hard work.

Brooks battled back from two hard hits, the first wiping out his reliable race car in the second event of the season. He and his team rushed to build a new car in six days and it won immediately. Brooks added runner-up and third-place finishes before another brutal incident resulted in a second DNF. He came back to post his third win of the season Saturday night. He has hustled to stay among the point leaders and managed to maintain the lead.

“Last Tuesday night the car had no motor, no transmission and no rear end. It was just a shell. The frame was bent and we had suspension damage,” Brooks said of the tear-down of his new car after the May 24 incident. “When we put it back together we went back to a set-up that was exactly the same as the old car.

Saturday we made some changes after hot laps and again after qualifying,” Brooks said of the race-night fine tuning. “We got it close to where we wanted it in our heat race. Now it’s back to the set-up I like.”

Brooks, 31, of Kalamazoo, leads the track standings by 44 points over A.J. Foote. He leads the NASCAR state point race with three wins, five top-fives and five top-10s in seven races.

National point leader Anthony Anders of Easley, S.C., was inactive over the weekend, allowing second-place Peyton Sellers to gain 66 points. Sellers, the series’ 2005 national champion, posted finishes of third and runner-up in twin 75’s at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va., Saturday. As a result, Anders’ point lead of 197 last week was reduced to 131 points this week. Anders’ planned Friday night at Anderson (S.C.) Motor Speedway was rained out and Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway had an open date on its schedule. Anders went to Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway without a car Saturday night to support of Hawk-McCall Motorsports team mate Brayton Haws who finished fourth.

Sellers, of Danville, Va., holds the No. 2 spot by six points over two-time defending national champion Lee Pulliam. Pulliam, of Alton, Va., had finishes of second and fourth at Motor Mile. Tommy Lemons Jr. of Troy, N.C. jumped to fourth-place this week from sixth. He had a win and a third-place finish at Motor Mile. Lemons’ success let him slip by Dillon Bassett who moved from fourth to fifth. Bassett, of Winston-Salem, N.C., was inactive over the weekend.

Matt Bowling fell from fifth to sixth in points this week. He won the first 75-lap feature at Motor Mile Saturday but finished 20th in the second event. Three top-three finishes helped 2010 series’ national champion Keith Rocco move to seventh from 10th in national standings this week. At Thompson (Conn.) Speedway Motorsports Park on Thursday, Rocco posted finishes of second and third in Sunoco Modified competition. He added a runner-up finish at Waterford (Conn.) Speedbowl Saturday. Ryan Preece jumped from 14th to eighth in points this week. He won both Sunoco Modified features at Thompson, and added finishes of third and second in twin 30s at Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway. Kres Vandyke moved from eighth to ninth in national standings. He had a win at Lonesome Pine Raceway in Coeburn, Va., and a third-place finish at Kingsport (Tenn.) Speedway. Chad Finchum moved from ninth to 10th in national ranking. He had a win at Kingsport and a runner-up finish at Lonesome Pine.

Under the NASCAR point structure in Divisions I-V drivers receive two points for every car they finish ahead of in an event, up to 18 cars. Three bonus points will be awarded to a race winner with a single-digit starting position and five bonus points will be awarded to a race winner with a double-digit starting position.

Drivers must be NASCAR-licensed and cars will be verified for display of required series sponsor decals to be eligible for NASCAR points and awards.

Both of Brooks’ DNFs were the result of accidents he didn’t create. Despite the incidents, he’s the only driver to win more than one NASCAR outlaw super late model feature at the .375-mile banked paved oval so far this year. The driver says winning at Kalamazoo is tough even on perfect race night.

“A lot of it has to do with the level of competition we have here,” Brooks said. “These guys are good. We’ve had five winners in the first seven races.”

Brooks won the season opening Intimidator 75 but it would be the last checkered flag the car would take. It was totaled in the following week’s 50-lap feature. Brooks didn’t have a back-up car but got a replacement to start building the following day.

“Our crew, the chassis builder and all the people involved made sure we got to the track the following week,” Brooks said.

He stayed with same FLF chassis brand he’d been running and added all the recent updates. The team also installed their Bob Snyder Competition Engine. So far Brooks has won twice in the new car.

Due to differing point systems, Kalamazoo Speedway had dual champions in the outlaw super late model division last year. Kyle Bergakker won the NASCAR track and state point races over Brooks. Brooks won the track’s point race over Bergakker.

The regular weekly feature event distance for the wedge-style bodied late models at Kalamazoo is 50 laps. The fastest qualifier can start as deep as 18th depending on the roll of inversion-determining dice. Brooks started 12th Saturday night.

“We’re going to keep working hard, try to keep the fenders on the car every week and get the best finishes we can,” Brooks said.

Brooks started racing in pure stocks in 1998. He took 1999 off to fund and build his own factory stock and drove it from 2000-2003. He moved to limited late models from 2004-06. He made his first venture into the outlaw super late model division 2007-08, then moved to modifieds 2009-2011. He won the modified division track championship in 2010. He returned the outlaw super late models in 2012.

Brooks is an owner-driver. Dan McEndarfer is crew chief. Crewmen include Gary Jenkins, Bob Miller, and his dad Mike D. Brooks.

Because his primary sponsor has two main products, Brooks’ race car is typically painted blue on one side and red on the other. Leduc Farms of Paw Paw, Mich., has two top brands: Leduc Blueberries and Leduc Strawberries, hence the differing colors and product sponsorship. The 59-year-old, 400-acre family farm is operated by second-generation owners Joe and Chantal Leduc. Most of the farm’s harvest goes to commercial clients. A retail store operates on site in season. Other sponsors include Spike’s Service, Feyen Zylstra Electrical Contractors.

Brooks and his wife Jamie have a daughter Alex, 13, and a son Mike “Bubbie” Brooks, 7. Brooks works for Kendall Electric, an industrial electric component and parts provider.

NASCAR Hometracks PR

Kalamazoo Speedway Photo

Pos. Driver Starts Wins T-5 T-10 Points
1 Anthony Anders 22 13 20 21 644
2 Peyton Sellers 15 5 14 15 513
3 Lee Pulliam 16 9 13 13 507
4 Tommy Lemons Jr. 19 3 10 14 459
5 Dillon Bassett 14 5 14 14 443
6 Matt Bowling 16 2 13 14 442
7 Keith Rocco 13 4 12 13 438
8 Ryan Preece 14 5 12 14 431
9 Kres Vandyke 14 5 12 13 413
10 Chad Finchum 14 7 13 13 411
11 Ryan Stiltner 14 0 13 14 390
12 Randy Porter 13 5 10 12 387
13 Spencer Davis 16 0 5 9 324
14 Brandon Fox 20 0 6 11 324
15 Daniel Alvarez * 17 0 1 11 308
16 Trey Gibson 10 0 9 10 292
17 Marty Ward 10 0 8 10 282
18 Ryan Wilson 16 0 3 10 274
19 Leon Zeitner 14 1 8 11 267
20 Deac McCaskill 16 5 11 11 265
21 Jeran Frailey 10 3 10 10 263
22 David Roberts 9 0 6 9 260
23 Bill Leighton Jr. 11 1 8 11 253
24 Burt Myers 8 4 5 7 252
25 Ted Christopher 10 0 5 9 252
26 Cory Dumpert 10 4 5 9 250
27 Justin Sorrow 9 2 5 9 250
28 Justin Zeitner 12 1 7 10 245
29 Josh Berry 10 3 6 8 243
30 Payton Ryan * 13 0 5 10 242
31 Myatt Snider 14 0 4 9 240
32 Austin Thaxton 9 1 6 7 239
33 Joe Wilder * 11 0 1 9 238
34 David Rogers 10 0 1 8 236
35 Duane Howard 8 2 5 7 230
36 Mike Darne 12 0 4 8 230
37 Brenden Queen 15 0 3 8 226
38 Howie Brode 8 3 5 8 219
39 Matt Waltz 9 3 7 8 217
40 David Garbo Jr. 11 1 5 8 213
41 Bobby McCarty 9 0 2 8 212
42 Stewart Friesen 7 3 6 6 211
43 William Byron * 9 0 6 6 208
44 Tim Brown 8 0 5 7 208
45 Craig Lutz 8 1 5 7 207
46 Kyle Benjamin 7 1 6 6 207
47 Bob Root 10 0 3 7 206
48 Keith Campbell * 10 0 7 9 204
49 Timmy Jordan * 8 0 2 8 204
50 Andrew Kosiski 12 0 5 9 204
51 Jonathon Beyer * 10 1 7 10 203
52 Donnie Hill 7 4 7 7 202
53 Randy Frailey 9 4 6 7 202
54 Jason O'Brien 8 2 6 7 202
55 Chris Spieker 7 3 6 7 201
56 Zeke Shell 7 1 5 6 201
57 Ed Puleo 8 1 4 5 201
58 Mike Brooks 7 3 5 5 199
59 Greg Edwards 7 3 7 7 199
60 Tyler Chadwick 10 1 2 6 199
61 Lee Jeffreys 8 0 4 6 198
62 Justin T Johnson 10 0 4 7 198
63 Jeff Strunk 8 1 4 6 197
64 Dylan Smith 9 0 3 6 194
65 Shane Lee 11 0 3 9 192
66 Doug Manmiller 8 3 5 5 191
67 Rob Janovic Jr. 8 0 5 5 188
68 AJ Foote 7 1 4 6 187
69 Chris Fleming 8 2 3 6 186
70 Mark Wertz 9 0 8 9 186
71 Bruce Anderson Jr. 10 0 3 7 186
72 Lee Tissot 7 1 5 5 185
73 John Smith 7 0 4 6 184
74 Jeremy Drummond * 19 0 0 5 184
75 John Fortin 8 2 4 6 182
76 Justin Fontaine * 14 0 0 6 182
77 Matt Tifft 8 0 2 5 180
78 Craig Stallard 12 0 0 6 180
79 Craig Von Dohren 8 1 4 5 179
80 Matt Sheppard * 6 0 4 6 176
81 David Sapienza 8 0 4 7 176
82 Kyle Purvis 7 1 7 7 175
83 Jase Kaser 8 0 5 8 174
84 Derrick Lancaster 9 0 4 7 174
85 Robert Tyler 7 1 4 6 173
86 Tom Rogers Jr. 8 0 5 6 172
87 Danny Bohn 8 0 3 5 172
88 Shawn Thibeault 8 0 3 6 172
89 Kenneth Headen 7 0 4 6 170
90 Frank Fleming 8 0 2 5 170
91 Chad Pendleton 7 1 6 6 169
92 Ryan Moore 7 2 3 5 168
93 Tad Pospisil 7 2 6 6 168
94 Brian Blevins 8 0 6 7 168
95 Mike Maresca Jr. 11 0 1 4 168
96 Larry Wight * 6 1 3 6 167
97 Kyle James 8 1 4 5 165
98 Josh Oakley 8 1 3 5 165
99 Frank Cozze 7 0 4 5 164
100 Cameron Hayley 7 0 3 5 164

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Kalamazoo’s Bubba Brooks in NASCAR WAAS Hunt