CAMRY CORNER: Never Name a Race Car
TCM reached out to teams in the winter looking for a few teams to chronicle their season and their racing stories so our fans could get an insight on their season. Brent Roy answered the call and we bring you the first installment of his “Camry Corner” on how he got his current Pro Stock ride from a car nobody wanted to a car that put the rookie in victory lane. Here is his story.
By Brent Roy, “the Camry Kid” and driver of the #26 Pro Stock at Speedway 660
I never believed in naming my race cars.
I always felt that when you put a name to a race car, you instantly stamp it with an irreplaceable personality. See, this to me would be a problem, because every personality has some traits that you don’t like or get along with, and I like every aspect of a race car.
This school of thought has changed. Since moving to the Re/max Group Four Realty Pro Stock division at Speedway660 in 2016, I’ve learned to very much dislike some aspects of our new car. Pro Stocks accelerate faster, they stop faster, they turn faster and they just grip more than a Sportsman. They’re a true race car in every sense of the word.
With the technology in racing changing all the time, you have to go through your equipment and perform “updates.” This could be changing a pick up point for a suspension component, or cutting part of the car completely apart just to change how a bar looks or acts. I’ve learned from first-hand experience, that no two cars are the same. In fact, our car seems to be more different than any other Pro Stock out there. Every time we change/mount/fix/update something on it, we have to find a different way to do it then everyone else.
The background of where our car came from is a complicated one, but I’ll tell you the whole story on where it came from and how it got its now nickname.
In the early 2000’s, Leavitt Racing based out of North Carolina was building NASCAR Cup and Xfinity cars. They perfected their building process by being extremely picky with welds and quality of work expect to that level of teams. Then all the “super powers” of NASCAR decided to start building their own chassis, and doing them in-house. The Leavitt Racing group now had to turn their attentions to the short tracks to find some revenue, which was lost from NASCAR.
They built their first Super Late Model and sales were… not that great. They incorporated some cool ideas, but also some ideas that were meant for a NASCAR style race car, which our Pro Stocks don’t use. No one wanted to buy this “orphan” of a car in a field where most cars used the same theories and principles to get their suspension geometry.
Leavitt cut a deal with the Pro All Star Series, and said, that year the PASS National champion would be gifted one of these chassis. Ben Rowe won the title that year, got the car, and didn’t want it. This “orphan” was to different from everything they used to even consider using it. So they sold it to a racer in Portland who was going to take it, modify it and build it as a PASS North Super Late Model.
This didn’t pan out either, he decided that by the time all the work that went into changing it close to how the cars are now, it would in fact be easier, quicker and probably cheaper to just start with another car. He didn’t want the orphan either.
Enter The Camry Kid race team.
One really cold February morning, we drove to Portland to have a look at this chassis to see if we could make it into a car we wanted to race. We decided we would take a chance on the “Orphan” that nobody wanted, and start building our Pro Stock race car.
We brought it home and enlisted the help from Geoff Armstrong at GD Fabrication in Saint John NB. We put an updated Clattenburg Racing Fabrication (CRF) front clip on it, and outfitted it with the latest CRF suspension components. We decided on “Victory Red” as the chassis colour and had it powder coated.
So this little Orphan, that nobody wanted, was now sitting in our shop, with a fresh coat of red, ready to race. She’s put the team through a lot of tough times, fighting us on occasion through electrical gremlins, and chassis setup issues. Once the summer months hit, the team put together an impressive six straight top 5 finishes, including our first ever Pro Stock victory. This was capped off with burning off the rear tires, and a “Polish” victory lap. You only get one “first” Pro Stock victory.
It seemed at this point, the red headed little Orphan that no one wanted, had come to life and competed with the best of the best, and won. Not without a fight mind you and to this day she still puts up a hard fight when we want to change things, including our thoughts on naming our race cars.
After all the adversity that she’s gone through, and passed from hand to hand, we think we just might hang on to our “Little Orphan Annie” for a little while longer.
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