SWS: Mesa Marin: Brandon Whitt preview

2002 Featherlite Southwest Series Rookie-of-the-Year Brandon Whitt to do doubleheader at Mesa Marin. Clean Line Motorsports to expand operations at first of three stops at Bakersfield half-miler. BAKERSFIELD, California (March 17, 2003) -- ...

2002 Featherlite Southwest Series Rookie-of-the-Year Brandon Whitt to do doubleheader at Mesa Marin.

Clean Line Motorsports to expand operations at first of three stops at Bakersfield half-miler.

BAKERSFIELD, California (March 17, 2003) -- Building upon a heady surge of momentum after a terrific Phoenix weekend in February, third-generation racer Brandon Whitt is gearing up for a difficult double-duty drive at the challenging half-mile Mesa Marin Raceway when the Clean Line Motorsports team arrives in Bakersfield, Calif. at the end of March.

Brandon and the No. 28 Moen Faucets/Victory Circle/Simpson Race Products Pontiac Grand Prix will kick off the weekend on Friday, March 21 at the Street Festival and Fan Fest in downtown Bakersfield, where racing fans will get the chance to meet the young up-and-comer and see his racecar up close. Following his March 16 appearance on the popular SpeedFreaks motorsports radio program, Brandon will also be hanging out with contest winners in the SpeedFreaks Freakin' Fleetwood RV early on Friday, and also at the track over the course of the weekend.

The 2002 NFSWS Rookie-of-the-Year will get down to business on March 22nd at the wheel of his No. 28 Moen/Victory Circle/Simpson Pontiac in the NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Series StarNursery.com 200. Then, in a first for the young driver, he will belt into the No. 38 Clean Line Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado to start his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race in Sunday's Lucas Oil 250.

Clean Line Motorsports purchased a Hendrick Motorsports-built Chevy in order to give Brandon his first taste of the heavier, more powerful stock cars that he ultimately wants to drive. This first step towards Winston Cup racing follows a rich family tradition - his grandfather Jim Whitt raced in what was then known as the NASCAR Grand National Division in the 1960s.

"The Craftsman Truck program is a great tool for us to get Brandon used to the heavier equipment on our own terms," explains Clean Line Motorsports owner Dan Whitt. "The Southwest Series car and the Truck are totally different animals. In the Southwest car Brandon is up on the wheel, driving hard and taking it as deep as possible in the turns. The Truck - and eventually Busch and Winston Cup cars - require more finesse and finer timing because of the power and weight differences.

"Jerry Pitts, our crew chief, already has a wealth of experience with the heavier cars and won the Winston West championship last year with Eric Norris. This way, when Brandon is called to test, he will have the seat time and Jerry's instruction under his belt to help him get up to speed quickly. That is an invaluable advantage for a young racer."

Brandon is very aware of the excellent opportunity he will have to hone his racecraft against the hard-racing Craftsman Truck drivers. Winston Cup veterans Bobby Hamilton, Ted Musgrave, and Robert Pressley are expected to pace the field in the Lucas Oil 250, giving Brandon the chance to learn from some of the best in the business. "There's no doubt it will be a learning experience," Brandon says. "I'm really looking forward to running against these big name drivers. I'm in a position to learn a lot about the bigger cars and get some good experience through the whole race."

After moving to Bakersfield over the off-season to be closer to his new race shop, Brandon considers Mesa Marin one of his "home" tracks. His historically strong results at the track in his Super Late Model days have him and his team pumped up and ready to continue the trend in both Bakersfield events this month.

"Mesa Marin has always been my favorite track," continues Brandon. "I always look forward to going there because it's such a great place to race. I really enjoy racing at Mesa Marin. I think we're going to do great in the Southwest Series event and I don't think we could have picked a better track to have our first Truck race."

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About this article
Series NASCAR , NASCAR Truck
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Robert Pressley , Ted Musgrave , Brandon Whitt
Teams Hendrick Motorsports