Series: Featherlite Southwest Series, NASCAR Touring Driver: Brandon Whitt Car: ...
Series: Featherlite Southwest Series, NASCAR Touring
Driver: Brandon Whitt
Car: #28 Moen Faucet/STR Chevrolet Monte Carlo
Team: Clean Line Racing
Rookie-of-the-Year leader Brandon Whitt qualifies 9th, finishes 17th at Sears Point.
June 24, 2002, Sonoma, CA: Nineteen year-old stock car racer Brandon Whitt set several milestones in his first ever NASCAR road course event at Sears Point last weekend. In a field that included three Winston Cup stars, Brandon qualified ninth and led three laps, his first time atop the leaderboard in Featherlite Southwest Series competition. Applying road racing techniques he learned in 2000 at the famous Elf La Filiere racing school in Le Mans, France, Brandon ran a strong race and was poised for a top five finish. Unfortunately, Brandon pitted under green just a few laps earlier than the rest of the leaders, who gained track position by pitting under a subsequent yellow. At the end of the cycle of pit stops, Brandon was a lap down, and had to settle for a seventeenth place finish.
"The crew gave me a great car, which says a lot considering it was the team's first ever road race," explained Brandon. "I was wondering if what I had learned two years ago racing open wheel cars would give me an advantage, or if the heavier stock car would need to be driven in a totally different way. I was relieved when the #28 car felt comfortable right away, and I had a lot of fun in both qualifying and the race. Now that I've led a few laps, I'm hungry to lead more, especially the last one!"
Brandon's father Dan Whitt, the owner of Clean Line Racing, was proud of his son and the team. "Qualifying ninth in our first ever road race is one of the biggest accomplishments for our team thus far, especially with three Winston Cup drivers in the field," he explained. "To outqualify Robby Gordon and Jeff Green, and finish ahead of all three Winston Cup drivers, is really something to remember."
During the race weekend, all but two of the eight declared Rookie-of-the-Year competitors withdrew their names from consideration, in order to remain eligible for next season. Brandon's rival for Rookie-of-the-Year honors, Steve Belletto, finished 14th, chipping off a single point from Brandon's lead in the Rookie standings, which now stands at six points. Brandon is currently ranked ninth in the overall Featherlite Southwest Series standings.
Brandon and his Clean Line Racing team head directly to Mesa Marin for the next Featherlite Southwest event, this Saturday, June 29th.