Brandon Ward Turns Obstacles Into Opportunities
CONCORD, N.C. (October 19, 2009) -- With the season finale in the USAR Pro Cup Championship Series less than two weeks away and driver Brandon Ward sitting firmly in fourth in the standings, the Winston-Salem, N.C., driver finds himself reflecting on a racing season that wasn't supposed to happen.
From the outside looking in, Ward's season has been all about overcoming obstacles. In fact, he didn't even know if he would be able to race during the 2009 season.
"Matter of fact, my deal came together just like two days before the first race of the year," the 29-year-old Ward noted.
For Ward, finding a deal wouldn't be his only obstacle this season. When he signed with the Mooresville, N.C.-based Mac Hill Motorsports, he knew the team had limited sponsorship.
"To start with, I knew that there was no full-time sponsor on the car and it was a possibility it was just gonna be a couple of races, maybe four or five," Ward said.
With the deal settled, Ward had to turn his attention to balancing his job and the USAR Pro Cup Series schedule. He works full time as a salesman with Rayco Safety Inc. in Yadkinville, N.C. A job Ward said was the result of his racing career.
"They started (sponsoring) me in what used to be called the NASCAR Goody's Dash Series. That's how I met the people that own the company," Ward explained.
>From then on, Ward began working for Rayco because his employer understood his racing schedule.
"I haven't quite been in the situation where I could just race full time...because (Rayco has) been tied in this so long with me that they work with me on my race schedule," Ward said. "Of course, it would be almost impossible without having someone like them to work for; that's been involved and very much understands it."
The hour's drive between Ward's work and his race team is yet another obstacle for him to overcome. On average, he says, he makes it to the shop just once every couple of weeks.
"I try to get there at least once before every race just to go over stuff and make sure everything is the way we want it done..." Ward remarked.
Even though Ward has limited shop time, he makes the best of his situation, because he understands how fortunate he is to be working with a team that has full-time employees.
"In the past, like our stuff that we had done out of our own shop...we kept all those cars up and, basically, had no full-time people," Ward recalled.
It is because of the obstacles Ward's had to overcome that he is so proud of his team. With back-to-back victories this season at South Boston and Langley speedways, both in Virginia, Ward sees no reason why he and his team can't be a threat for the USAR Pro Cup Series championship.
"For the deal to get thrown together at the last minute like it did, (the team has) worked really hard and done a great job on it," he commented.
Ward's ninth-place finish at Rockingham Speedway on Oct. 10 kept him fourth in the standings, 93 points behind leader Clay Rogers. In addition to Rogers, Ward will have to contend with J.P. Morgan, who moved into second with his fourth-place finish at Rockingham, and third place Drew Herring, who is 85 points behind Rogers. The USAR Pro Cup Series will determine its 2009 champion Oct. 31 at South Boston Speedway.
The USARacing Pro Cup Series, formerly Hooters Pro Cup, is owned by Interstate Investment Group and is based in Concord, N.C. IIG is comprised of Jack McNelly, Gary Kale, Carl Hubbard, Chip Lofton, and Larry Camp, who serves as the managing partner. For more information on the USARacing Pro Cup Series, go to www.usarprocup.com.