Walt Brannen Ready for First Superspeedway ARCA Race Team Was Among the Fastest Cars at Daytona & Talladega Testing ELKO, GA (February 9, 2005) -- You can ask any driver out there; there is nothing like driving at tracks like Daytona...
Walt Brannen Ready for First Superspeedway ARCA Race
Team Was Among the Fastest Cars at Daytona & Talladega Testing
ELKO, GA (February 9, 2005) -- You can ask any driver out there; there is nothing like driving at tracks like Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. And there is nothing like driving at them the first time. Walt Brannen, the 21-year-old ARCA rookie, now knows this. And soon he'll get to see that there is also nothing like driving at Daytona during "Speedweeks" at the 2.5-mile "World Center of Speed" in Daytona Beach, FL.
Brannen, a Super Late Model series veteran, will make his Daytona ARCA Series debut this Saturday in the Advance Discount Auto Parts 200 driving for Brack Maggard Racing.
"When I came down to test in December, I was probably smiling the entire time I was out there," said Brannen of his Daytona experience. "I could hardly eat lunch today (Tuesday) because I'm starting to get a little nervous. Daytona is not like any other race track. It is a monster of its own. This is February at Daytona during Speedweeks. I'm just so excited about being here."
Brannen has reason to be excited, too. When the youngster tested at Daytona back in December, the team was second-quick in drafting practice. Last week at Talladega, Brannen was among the fastest cars at that track.
It is something that looks good on paper, but the two tests were in two different cars. Following those two tests, the team had some serious decisions to make.
"We have two Dodge superspeedway cars. We really didn't know which one was going to be the backup and which would be the primary. With superspeedway cars, you never know until you unload them.
"We took the backup to Daytona in December. The car wasn't very quick by itself, but was second-quick in the draft. We thought how awesome that was. We knew we had an older engine in it and it was down probably 15-horsepower. We finished the other car and took it to Talladega and it set the world on fire.
"We ended up deciding to go with the car that we took to Talladega as the primary car. It's the same car that Brack drove last year at Daytona. Either way, I've got two cars that are really fast cars."
The remainder of Brannen's 2005 plans are still up in the air, but as of now, he and the Brack Maggard team are planning to run the full season.
"We've been working really hard on a sponsorship deal and we are getting closer with it, but there is nothing we can talk about right now," added Brannen. "So that has put us a little behind on putting some cars together. Right now, Brack is sponsoring this deal.
"We are going to try and run the full season and we are looking at winning the Rookie of the Year. I feel like I got a lot of mistakes out of my system in my four races last year. Whenever you are running in a new series, you get to learn your competitors and get a feel for the car and what it can and can't do.
"Hopefully, last year, I got a lot of that out of my system. We were a top-five car everywhere we went last year; I just made some rookie mistakes."
In four career ARCA starts in 2004, Brannen had a best finish of fourth at Kentucky Speedway. He also had two qualifying runs in the top-10; a seventh at Nashville Superspeedway and ninth at Chicagoland Speedway.
Before racing in Super Late Models, Brannen was one of the best Legend car racers in the country. He posted 34 wins and more than 70 top-five finishes in a career that included the 1999 Legends championship at Atlanta Motor Speedway and the 1999 and 2000 Legends Georgia State Championship.