CONCORD, N.C. – At the close of 2015, Newton, North Carolina’s Brandon Setzer was one of the hottest super late model drivers in the country. Coming off a CARS Tour season that saw him win two races and pick up both the Mason Dixon Meltdown at Hickory Speedway and Thanksgiving Classic at Southern National Motorsports Park in November, Setzer had his hopes set high as the calendar turned to 2016.
An early season accident at Speedfest in January, though, turned out to be a significant setback for the team owned by his father, former NASCAR Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series standout Dennis Setzer.
“We had a great run going and got into a wreck racing for the lead after a restart,” Setzer said. “Even after we replaced the front and rear clips, the car just has not been as good as it was last year. You know, these things are so sensitive: a tube could be flexing more, not as much -- you just never know. But, we have had a strong couple tests since the last CARS race and we are in good shape headed into the weekend back at Tri-County.”
Running the entire CARS Tour Super Late Model schedule this season, Setzer has performed well, scoring two top-fives so far this season. But, the mild-mannered hotshoe is looking for improvement as the tour hits Tri-County Speedway this Saturday night.
“Tri-County is a great little track,” said Setzer. “I think I’ve won there about 15 times. I’ve seen cars run three-wide without rubbing for many laps. You can run right up against the wall -- right around the white line and be fast. We can’t wait to start practice on Friday. We were running second at Tri-County last year when we broke a motor, so I think it will be a great place to turn our season around.”
After this weekend’s CARS Tour battle, Setzer will be looking to run a couple races with the PASS South Series. He won the season opener at Dillon (S.C.) Motor Speedway in March and is looking forward to taking a new car to the track next weekend at Anderson (S.C.) Motor Speedway and hopefully back to his home track, Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway.
“We just got a second car,” Setzer explained. “It’s new to us, but not a brand new car. It’s the first time we have ever had two cars in the shop at one time. We had a good test at Hickory, worked out some kinks and think we will have a good shot next weekend.”
As for Setzer’s relationship with his father/car owner, it is one that provides the foundation for the team’s success.
“Dad and I are in the shop together almost every night; laying underneath the car, says the promising 22-year-old driver. “t’s a lot of fun and even when we do argue, it’s about good stuff. We usually let it go right away.”
The elder Setzer, a 20-time NASCAR winner, also serves as the younger Setzer’s spotter on race day. “He’s pretty quiet on the radio and just tells me what I need to hear,” Brandon Setzer said. “After the race, though, he usually gives me some pretty good advice on our performance and how we can get better.”
Setzer, fellow 2016 Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) participant Quin Houff, 2015 KDDP finalist Justin Crider and the rest of the CARS Tour stars and cars will be back in action on Saturday night. The “Do the Dew 200” presented by CCC&TI at Tri-County Speedway in Hudson, North Carolina promises incredible action. Qualifying is set for 4:30 p.m., with a special autograph session at 6:15 p.m. The green flag for the first of twin 100-lap features will be displayed at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday.
As always, you can stay up to date on all things CARS Tour and the latest news in short track racing by visiting Speed51.com, the official media partner of the KDDP. We invite you to follow them on Twitter at @speed51dotcom and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/speed51.
-Kulwicki Driver Development Program Press Release. Photo credit: Speed51.com