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SAGINAW’S BRACKEEN REMAINS UNBEATEN ENTERING SEASON FINALE OF UTI FRIDAY NIGHT DRAGS
FORT WORTH, Texas (July 26, 2018)
If Chance Brackeen had drive-up music for the Universal Technical Institute Friday Night Drags, it’s likely that DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win” would be blaring over the public address speakers at Texas Motor Speedway.
The Saginaw native has yet to drop a single race through the first five weeks of the six-week summer drag racing series. And with just one week left on the docket, it’s safe to say that Brackeen has a really good chance (pun intended, of course) to close out a rare perfect season.
“I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of anyone finishing the season with a perfect record, so that would be pretty awesome,” Brackeen said. “But I also hope that the final is a nose-to-nose race. That would be an awesome way to end the season.”
Brackeen already has clinched the title in the Reunion Tower GeO-Deck Bandit Division, which limits its entries to foreign and domestic cars with three, four or five cylinders with or without factory turbo or superchargers; and six cylinders with naturally aspirated engines. It will be the second Bandit Division championship in four years for Brackeen, who didn’t compete in 2016 or ’17 for personal reasons.
Brackeen isn’t running anything different in 2018 than he did in that title-winning 2015 season. His 2015 Ford Mustang Ecoboost four-cylinder stock turbo still fits perfectly into the Bandit Division’s specifications. He also made a few recent legal modifications that he believes has added to his dominant run this season.
“I think what’s really sending me over the top is weight reduction,” Brackeen said. “I don’t have a rear seat. I don’t have a passenger seat. No spare tire. So that’s really what’s helping me out. It is legal here, so I took advantage of it. But I try to help out with other competitors. I’ve told them to remove some interior to get some edge on it, but they’re afraid to roll around without interior.”
Brackeen’s run to the championship in 2015 was a lot more competitive as he went door-to-door each week with Brock Gilliam and his fire red 1957 Volkswagen Bug. Gilliam has since been bumped up to the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Division, which Brackeen is hoping to join for the 2019 Universal Technical Institute Friday Night Drags season.
“I had a rivalry with (Brock). ... We went back and forth all season. It was great,” Brackeen said. “It’s kind of a shame they moved him up a class and kept me here, but next year I plan to go to Sportsman or Sportsman Modified because I plan on upping the horsepower a little bit.”
For now, Brackeen has his sights set on a perfect 2018 summer season. That said, the 30-year-old isn’t opposed to being challenged down Texas Motor Speedway’s 1/8-mile dragstrip, which is situated on the venue’s pit lane.
“I wasn’t expecting it to be like this to be honest,” Brackeen said. “I figured I’d have more competition, but like I said, the only thing that was different from a few years ago is that it’s got no interior. I guess that’s made a hell of a difference. But it’s only 100 pounds, so I don’t know.
“I just want more competition. There’s some pretty fast cars in my class; it’s just they’re not driver-savvy. They don’t know how to launch the car the way they should.”
Brackeen’s hunger for more on-track competition has been offset by the off-track friendships and relationships he’s made through the Universal Technical Institute Friday Night Drags program.
“I love coming out and meeting new people and talking about cars and eventually turning those experiences into friendships outside of the track,” Brackeen said. “I’ve been having an awesome experience and really enjoy coming out here each week.”
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Three division championships are still up for grabs as the UTI Friday Night Drags enters the final week of the season. Week 6 is also Fan Appreciation Night, meaning any fans that show a valid photo ID will be able to enjoy $1 draughts from 6-9 p.m. General admission grandstand tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under.
The cost to participate in the Universal Technical Institute Friday Night Drags or Hills Air Support Show-N-Shine competition each week is $20.
Tickets are available for advance purchase at www.texasmotorspeedway.com or at the Gate 6 ticket booth. Parking is free in the PSL lot outside of Gate 6 and available for $20 in the infield (with admission included in the pricing). Coolers are permitted in both the grandstands and infield. Each week the infield, grandstands and Show-N-Shine registration open at 6 p.m. CT with drags practice from 6:15-8 p.m. Drag racing competition in the various classes begins at 9:15 p.m.
For more information and official rules regarding the Universal Technical Institute Friday Night Drags, visit www.texasmotorspeedway.com.