Will enter Alabama & Florida events -
Wilson County racer Austin Brawley says last season is one he’d like to forget, but he intends to shake off yesterday’s disappointments and focus on tomorrow’s promise.
“I’d rather not talk about it,” says Brawley when asked about last year’s track travails. “A lot of things were out of my control, but it’s all in the past, and I’m looking forward to the future.”
Brawley’s father Mike, a retired racer who assisted with the team, sums it up in one word: “Bad.”
“It was a pretty bad year,” he says. “Nothing went right, and we had some plain bad luck. We’re ready for a new year.”
The new start will be with a new team. After racing out of the family’s Mt. Juliet shop for years, Brawley will drive for a team based in Birmingham. The Bawleys met the owner, Jeff South, though a mutual acquaintance of racer Sterling Marlin.
“I drove a couple of races for them last year,” Brawley says. “It’s a good team.”
In addition to running a partial schedule at Nashville’s Fairgrounds Speedway, Brawley plans to branch out. He will race at two tracks in Alabama -- Montgomery and Birmingham – and also at Bristol and Pensacola, Fla.
Will racing on new tracks require an adjustment?
“No, there’s nothing to it,” Brawley says. “That’s blown out of proportion. It won’t take long to figure out the tracks.”
Three years ago Brawley was named Fairgrounds Speedway’s Most Improved Driver, and the next year he posted an impressive three third-places finishes and won four poles in five attempts.
But last year he struggled.
“Those things happen in racing,” he says. “I’m not discouraged.”
Brawley, a Mt. Juliet High graduate who attended Middle Tennessee State University, operates B&B Dry Walling in Mt. Juliet with his father.
Mike says he inherited his fondness for the sport from his father, making Austin a third-generation driver.
“Racing has always been a big part of our family,” Mike says. “I put Austin in a quarter-midget when he was six, and he started racing trucks at Highland Rim at 13. He took to it naturally. He’s a better driver than I was.”
Mike retired from driving in 2006 and began assisting his son. With Austin racing for a new team this season, he says he will be a spectator, but intends to keep the family’s racing shop in Mt. Juliet.
“I enjoyed it,” Mike says of his past involvement, “but it came time to turn it over to somebody else.”
Big Fairgrounds race -- Some of the biggest names in auto racing are scheduled to compete at Fairgrounds Speedway Saturday, July 17 as part of the Superstar Racing Experience (SRX) tour.
SRX organizers say they have commitments from past NASCAR champions Tony Stewart, Bill Elliott and Bobby Labonte, along with Indy stars Tony Kannan and Helio Castroneves.
The Nashville race is the final one in a six-race series in six states.
Information will be posted on the track’s website.
Superspeedway prize -- Fans can register for a VIP package at June’s Ally 400 at nashvillesupespeedway.com/ally400swseepstakes/.