Charlie Bradberry Back in the Victory Saddle Takes the Challenge of Starting in the Back and Wins World Classic at Birmingham CHELSEA, AL (October 6, 2004) -- Aspiring young racer Charlie Bradberry has been frustrated. One year ago, he was...
Charlie Bradberry Back in the Victory Saddle
Takes the Challenge of Starting in the Back and Wins World Classic at Birmingham
CHELSEA, AL (October 6, 2004) -- Aspiring young racer Charlie Bradberry has been frustrated. One year ago, he was sitting on top of the world. He had just captured the prestigious NASCAR Southeast Series championship and was planning his trip to New York City to attend the NASCAR Winston Cup Series banquet at the Waldorf Astoria. It would turn out that the following day he would fly down to Pensacola, FL in the middle of a blizzard only to win the historic Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway.
This year though has been filled with the trials and tribulations of a part-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and Super Late Model schedule with his family-owned team. He had been held winless, until Saturday night.
Let the racing world take notice; Charlie Bradberry is back. The 22-year-old returned to his hometrack of Birmingham Int'l Raceway for the biggest show of the year last weekend, the World Classic -- Neil Bonnett Memorial 300 (the richest Super Late Model race in Alabama). Everyone who was in attendance either left the legendary track a Charlie Bradberry fan, or at the very least, impressed with his natural ability behind the wheel of a racecar.
"My adrenaline was flowing so much; I was just giving it all I had," said Bradberry after the race. "It was definitely exciting from inside the car so I can just imagine how it was from in the grandstands."
Charlie is referring to his last lap, last corner, three-wide pass of leader Gary Helton to snag the victory in the 100-lap event at Birmingham.
"All I knew is that I was catching him, but I was running out of time," explained Charlie, who moved into second-place with just four laps to go. "I saw the lapped traffic in front of us and I said to myself, 'That's my only shot.'
"We went down into three and he went low around a lapped car. He left me just a car-length to get in there and that was all I needed. I took every inch of it. I just turned left and went for it. When it comes down to that (that last corner of the last lap), you have to do all you can to get the job done and we did.
What makes Charlie's victory even more impressive is that he won even after taking "The Challenge." Bradberry had won the pole, but took the challenge of starting in the rear of the field in order to have a shot at an extra 3-grand if he could come back and win. After collecting both the victor's money and the challenge cash, Bradberry walked away with $8,000.
"It really wasn't a money issue; it was more of principal. Everyone said it couldn't be done and that drove me to do it. Nobody thought we had a shot if we took the challenge. I knew we could though and we showed it.
"I've won races here, but I've never won the World Classic and this is definitely one I wanted to add to my trophy room. This is my hometrack, but I've won more elsewhere and this is the biggest race at this track and it means a lot to win it."
Bradberry will next compete in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway (VA) on October 23rd.