1999 BNS Raybestos Rookie of the Year Mike Bruno Anxious for Opener at Lee USA Speedway 1999 NASCAR Busch North Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year Mike Bruno has his new team in place and is anxious for the season to finally get underway on ...
1999 BNS Raybestos Rookie of the Year Mike Bruno Anxious for Opener at Lee USA Speedway
1999 NASCAR Busch North Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year Mike Bruno has his new team in place and is anxious for the season to finally get underway on April 16. It has been a long off season for the Vermont native. At the conclusion of the 1999 season, he parted ways with the team he won Rookie of the Year with, which was owned by C. J. Richards. Mike was unsure of his plans for the 2000 season then, but since then has formed his own team to compete in the Busch North Series with again.
"C.J. and I had our differences after last year," Mike explains. "He's going to go his way and I'm going to go mine. I've got the equipment and the car number (3). I thank him for what he did for me last year, but it's time for me to move on."
After the two split, Mike purchased the two cars he drove for Richards and the equipment that went with them. The cars are NRP cars and the motors are PCCW, so he knows he will have the same good equipment he ran well with in 1999. But he has also added more equipment as well.
"As far as equipment goes, we're in a whole lot better shape than we were in last year," Mike says about his equipment for the upcoming season. "We've got the two cars back that I drove for C.J. (Richards) and another that I bought to use as a back up and at the road courses. We have also built a pretty good inventory of parts and equipment."
Last season he didn't make his debut until the third race of the year, at New Hampshire International Speedway, where he started 26th and finished 12th in his first ever BNS event. This season he is planning a full season.
"We only ran a limited schedule last year," Mike remarked. "I wanted to run the whole deal, but we ended up doing fourteen events. This year we are planning for all eighteen races. If things worked out, we would even consider running the combination events."
Last years statistics were some of the finest any driver has compiled in their rookie season in the BNS, and Mike wants to prove the finishes were no fluke. His goals will be set high for his new team in his sophomore season.
"I want to concentrate on improving on last year," Bruno said about his goals for the 2000 Busch North season. "We had some pretty good finishes last year, six top tens, I felt pretty good about that at the end of the year. This year I would like to get a few top fives. If we can start getting top fives and top tens regularly, then this team can go from being competitors to being contenders."
The Bruno Motorsports team will have Matt Teeple serve as the crew chief this year. A mix of new crewmembers and a few veterans of the BNS will join him.
"Matt's been working for me for three years now," Mike explains. "He's been coming along real well getting the cars ready for me back at the shop. The crew is shaping up really well."
The team may start the season with out primary sponsorship, but will have associate sponsorship support from a past sponsor in Mike's Late Model career.
"Kinney Drug sponsored me since 1995 with my late model team. They wanted to get somebody to locally to race Thunder Road and Airborne, but I had sold off all my late model stuff to concentrate on the Busch North. They couldn't find what they were looking for and decided to go with us on the Busch car instead, which is a real plus for us. I've really been grateful for all they have done for me in the past."
Sunoco Fuels will also be featured as an associate sponsor on the #3 Chevy Monte Carlo's.
Dealing with a growing family business on top of his race team has become very time consuming, but Mike is not only up for the challenge, he has been thriving on the challenges.
"Being the team owner actually makes my job easier right now," said the 29 year old. "I have more control of where we go and what we do. When I want to go to the race track we go and I don't have to worry about somebody saying we can't do this or can't do that."
The team will be at Lee USA Speedway on April 8 for their first test session of the year, and then will be at Lee the following Sunday for the series opener with their sights set on the first of many great finishes to come!