SWS: Phoenix: Brandon Whitt preview

Brandon Whitt + Clean Line Racing head to Phoenix with New Chassis, Crew Chief + Car Chief. January 6, 2003, Bakersfield, California: Last year's Rookie-of-the-Year Brandon Whitt heads to Phoenix this weekend with a brand new car, Crew Chief and...

Brandon Whitt + Clean Line Racing head to Phoenix with New Chassis, Crew Chief + Car Chief.

January 6, 2003, Bakersfield, California: Last year's Rookie-of-the-Year Brandon Whitt heads to Phoenix this weekend with a brand new car, Crew Chief and Car Chief for his second campaign in the Featherlite Southwest Series, NASCAR Touring. During the brief off-season, Brandon and his family-owned Clean Line Racing team have upgraded virtually every facet of their racing operation. The changes begin with new Crew Chief Jerry Pitts, who served as Crew Chief for Winston West Champion Eric Norris in 2002. Pitts will be joined in the team's new fifty-seven hundred square foot Bakersfield race shop by new Car Chief Bob "Toby" Tobias.

"At the end of 2002, we looked at every aspect of our team to find areas for improvement," says Brandon's father Dan Whitt, who owns the Clean Line Racing team. The team switched to the championship-winning Victory Circle chassis, and has moved from El Cajon to a new race shop located within the Victory Circle complex in Bakersfield.

In mid-January, Brandon also moved to Bakersfield to his own one bedroom apartment across the street from Bakersfield College, where he has enrolled for his fourth semester of undergraduate studies in Engineering. Brandon has been working in the race shop with Pitts and Tobias on a daily basis for the last three weeks.

Brandon does whatever we ask him to do in the race shop," explains Car Chief Tobias. "Mechanical work, going to get parts, you name it. He's becoming a pretty good mechanic, and having him around every day enables us to be in constant communication." Tobias and Pitts hope that the daily exposure to the car preparation will give Brandon an edge in providing engineering feedback to the team during each race weekend.

"It's kind of the end of an era for me and my family," says Brandon about the upcoming changes. "For most of my life we've been operating racing teams in and around our family home in El Cajon. It was time for us to take the team to a new level. It's going to be a great learning experience working with Jerry and Toby on a daily basis."

As he adjusts to unfamiliar surroundings in Bakersfield, Brandon hopes to find inspiration from the two Dale Earnhardt posters on display in his new apartment. "Dale's my favorite. It's pretty much the only decor I got," says Brandon. The first Southwest Featherlite race of the 2003 season will take place at Phoenix International Raceway on February 2nd.

-clr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Brandon Whitt , Eric Norris