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Bettis breaks out with big win at Rocket

May 15, 2024  |  by Phil Whipple

Each year across the oval landscape of Texas and surrounding states, we watch as drivers toil away in the ditches in search of that first feature victory. We marvel at their tenacity; that ability to face tall odds and stay at it until success is in hand.

For 40-year-old By-Line Surveying USRA Factory Stock racer Brandon Bettis, that breakout victory came this past weekend at Rocket Raceway Park. Now in his fifth year of driving, this former fan-turned-racer has gone from pretender to legitimate contender, and is now a proven feature winner.

“It’s been a great start to our year overall,” Bettis said as he reflected on the experience Monday evening. “We had an eighth-place finish in the Eco-Mod, but other than that, we really haven’t finished outside the top six in Factory Stock. It started late last year, when we almost won up in Ardmore.

“I knew we could probably win one this Spring, but I sure didn’t know how soon. I just knew it would take the right circumstances, and I guess this past Saturday night it all fell into place. The car has been consistent, and I’ve gotten a little better as a driver. It comes from knowing our own capabilities.”

While he may only have five years or so of seat time, Bettis was exposed to our sport at an early age.

“My grandparents used to take me to the races over in Winfield and at Lake Cypress Springs when they were running when I was about 10 years old,” he explained. “So I’ve been watching this stuff for 30 years now. My cousins, Kim and Steven Brown, we spent all of our time together at a race track.

“When we were all 10, 12, maybe 14 years old, North Texas Motor Speedway, Superbowl Speedway in Greenville, anywhere a track was running, I was with those boys and we were paying attention. So I’ve been a fan nearly all of my life. I’ve watched a lot of guys come and go from this sport. Now I’m here.”

Like several others around the state, Bettis made the transisition from fan to racer with relative ease.

“I really enjoy this sport, but I’m probably not the guy they say is at the track ever weekend,” he added. “I’ve got three girls, and they’re active in all kinds of things. So I always put them first, and we go racing when we can. It’s fun, but like everything it has its place and time. We have a blast when we go.”

No matter where he unloads his car around North Texas, Bettis knows the competition will be intense.

“You never know who is going to show up,” he said. “You have guys like Michael Smith; my cousin, Kyle Blanton; and Deaon Redmon, those guys are all fast and can win at any time. If Marty Hicks is in the pits, he’s won plenty of races and you know he’ll win plenty more. It’s super tough every week.”

When Bettis puts on his safety suit and gets ready to race, he straps into a very finely-built machine.

“I have a 2019 Destroyer chassis here, and it’s a very nice race car,” he said. “It’s powered by a motor from Big Dave’s Racing Engines, and has more than enough power to get it done. This chassis/motor combination is working well for me. We turned the corner in late 2023, and continue to make it better.”

Along with a half-decade of experience and top-notch race car, Bettis has ample support in his corner.

“First and foremost, this deal wouldn’t be possible without help from the guys we race with every weekend,” he explained. “Dustin Nation, Kyle Blanton, Deaon Redmon, James Proctor and Cookie Ferguson have all been very helpful. Plus my wife, Lori; daughters, Charli, Sadie and Addi; and crew member Collin Carmichael all do a lot for me.

“You know, we bounce a lot off each other to make these cars what they are. If you go to Rocket on any given night, or wherever we’re racing, there’s a good chance one of us is battling for a spot inside the top five.”

Bettis is also blessed with a solid group of marketing partners; essential to be competitive in 2024.

“We also need to thank our great sponsors, including Tim Adams with Adams Lawn Care, he owns the Big Dave’s motor built by David Phillips that we run; Eric Whitaker with Whitaker’s Towing & Recovery; Matt Ivy with Advanced Barber Shop; and Overhead Door Solutions.

“I’d also like to thank Marty Hicks with Hicks Tire and Muffler; Blanton Construction, Rodney White with Leading Edge Suspension; Justin Harris with Gears by Goober; Jeremy Fodge with Uptown Auto; Randy Hoover with CarQuest Auto Parts of Paris; and Jerry Madewell with Madewell Welding.”

One part of this easy-going, middle-aged racer most will admire is the fact he races for all the right reasons. It’s a hobby, for Pete’s sake, and he treats it as such. Family, to him, always comes first.

“I love this sport and enjoy the camaraderie we have in the pits,” he added. “But as I’ve said, we race when we can, and I’m sure we’ll be doing plenty of it this summer and fall. But when my kids have something going on, that’s where you’ll find me.

“When I can, of course, I’m out in the shop pouring over the car to be sure we’re ready when we do go. I didn’t make it to a win at Rocket by happenstance; I’ve been soaking up knowledge at every chance and trying to improve. Now, I have confidence in one pocket, and a little momentum in the other.”

You can replay every lap of Saturday night’s abbreviated program from Rocket Raceway Park with a membership at RaceON.com. RaceON has over 400 live events on tap in 2024 from several states.

For more than two decades, the United States Racing Association has attracted more and more racetracks and dirt track racers each year through fair, logical and cost-effective rules accompanied by an organization that puts the racers, racetracks and their fans first. During the 2023 Summit USRA Weekly Racing Series, more than 60 of America's finest dirt ovals hosted more than 1,000 nights of racing.

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