Six hours prior to showtime at Citrus County Speedway (FL) for the Brandon Ford Wheel Man Racing Series, Brooke Storer’s crew was scrambling during practice— changing everything from spark plugs to the carburetor— to try and fix an unknown issue with her No. 9 machine.
It was a challenging start to the day that seemed all but forgotten by the time Storer crossed under the checkered flag later that night, concluding the 50-lap feature and picking up her first win of the season.
Despite a 1.627 second lead coming across the stripe, an impressive feat on a feisty bullring, Storer’s strong performance was masking the fact that she barely finished the race at all.
“I can’t believe we did it, we’ve been working on this thing all day trying to get it running,” Storer told Speed51. “It ran good up until lap 38, then it started breaking up again and stumbling. The last two laps I didn’t think it was going to make it, it started bogging down so much. Thankfully we had a big enough lead and we were able to roll to the checkered. It’s a relief, to finally get a win at Citrus is great.”
On the other end of that gap, second-place finisher Brandon Morris was unaware that he nearly capitalized on Storer’s mechanical misfortunes, believing that divine intervention in the form of a yellow flag was his only chance at a victory.
“I was praying for a caution and it never happened,” Morris said. “When I got to second, she had about a full straightaway on me, we closed that up to about half of a straightaway. We couldn’t catch her. She had a really good car. Congrats to her, she was due for one.”
The nearly caution-less, carnage-free feature seemed to be a miracle in and of itself; a stacked field of 20 cars around a 3/8-mile for a 50-circuit shootout led to plenty of gutsy, multi-car maneuvers.
Jesse Henley, who won the series’ season opener at New Smyrna Speedway during the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing, squeezed through several three, even four-groove sandwiches to take home a finish in fifth and a car in one piece.
“It was tough, coming from 12th, there’s a long way to go in this tight, tight field,” Henley said. “We were three-wide, four-wide, two-wide. Three-wide typically doesn’t work, four-wide never works. I don’t know how we got out of it. Three out of the four of those cars are coming out of my shop. I’m glad none of us tore it up.”
The Wheel Man Series makes its next stop at 4-17 Southern Speedway (FL) on March 21. Fans who missed the action at Citrus County can watch the full broadcast replay by clicking here.
-Story and photo by: Melissa Strahley, Speed51 Gulf Coast Editor
Wheel Man Racing Series Unofficial Results