Winning 85 Speedway trio shares motivation
by Dave A. Vance
Spring brings comfortable weather that spectators and drivers of 85 Speedway try to take in as much as possible before the summer heat sets in.
However, outdoor sports always run the risk of spring rains interfering with activities. Dirt track racing is no exception to this threat. Races at 85 Speedway were cancelled last Saturday because of brief, but heavy, rains near the end of the week.
Although most drivers are disappointed with rainouts, some drivers take the extra time to work on their cars, spend time relaxing and enjoying other hobbies.
The rainout was welcome news for Tim Brewer of Ennis. Driving the No. 69, Brewer is currently the Bomber division point leader.
"I couldn't have done it without Jackie (Hefti)," said Brewer. "I owe a lot of that to Jackie and Louis (Beaver)."
Brewer blew his engine the previous week.
"I've been doing it for so long, that it's just another thing," said Brewer. "You just (have to) take it – that's part of it."
He typically enjoys fishing when he's not racing, but instead spent much-needed extra time to work on his car.
"There's ups and downs and there's a lot more downs than there is ups unfortunately," said Brewer.
Brewer's engine problem reminded him of last year when he blew at least four engines and sat out most of the season. "I came into this year thinking it's going to be a good year," said Brewer. "I figured we'd try going in with both feet this time and so far it's been pretty good. I feel comfortable with this car."
He said that he is driving a bit more aggressively than previous years and putting the car into situations he hadn't been able to with previous cars. "I've stepped it up a little bit this year," Brewer said.
"I'm out there to have fun."
Jackie Hefti of Mabank used his weekend to relax and spend time with family. Hefti is the Street Stock division point leader and drives the No. 11.
He is no stranger when it comes to winning. Hefti started racing in the Bomber division in 2000, won the Bomber championship at 85 Speedway in 2001 with 17 feature wins, moved to the Street Stock division in 2003 and won the Street Stock championship in 2009 and 2011. He has a total of 51 feature wins since his dirt track debut.
"(85 Speedway) is my home track since the first time I ever made my first lap in a racecar," said Hefti.
Hefti hasn't won a race in the first four races this season, but has finished in second place twice and has been in the top four every time.
"I am the point leader and for three weeks in a row, I've started dead last," said Hefti. "The feature winners have started in the pole or second row and we went green to checker. I will take second any day going green to checker."
As Brewer mentioned during his interview, Hefti has been helping his fellow driver this season. "(Tim wants) to win the championship this year and he asked me to build him a car," said Hefti. "I proved to him that I can help him do this. He shows up opening night, he wins a race, and he's run second (twice). Things are working real good, so we are right at our goal that we set."
With Hefti's experience at winning races and being a consistent frontrunner, he has also shown great sportsmanship and has become a mentor.
"I will help anybody do anything for them," said Hefti. "I'm in this sport because I enjoy it. These days I do it because my family enjoys it, my kids look forward to it – my kids are my biggest fans and this is what me and my family enjoy doing. Every week, no matter how tired I am, I know it's what my kids look forward to. Every Saturday I try to win for them, not for me, just to see the smile on their face when I walk around the corner. It's priceless."
When asked who his biggest competitor is this season, Hefti responded with the No. 90 of Brian Sartain.
"When he comes every weekend, he's there for the same thing I am,” said Hefti. “He's fast, he's a clean driver and I hope sooner or later that me and him get to start side-by-side to put on one heck of a show for everybody. I try to make sure my car is right for every Saturday night so I can put on a good show for the fans and my family and that way I'm not disappointed in myself."
Like a lot of other drivers, Johnny Ashton of Athens is one that loves being on the track no matter where he races. Because 85 Speedway was rained out, Ashton chose to race in Greenville Saturday night. Ashton drives the No. 3 and currently leads the Cruiser division in season points at 85 Speedway.
"Being early in the season, or mid-season, or late in the season – anytime you (have) got the point lead is good," said Ashton. "I like to have the point lead and having other people trying to catch you (instead of) having to try catching somebody."
Two blown engines and personal commitments kept Ashton from racing a full season last year. When asked if this season seems easier, Ashton responded, "I'm more focused this year. It seems to be making it all easier."
Ashton's driving style appears to be more relaxed this season.
"I think as a driver myself, I have settled down more and I think I'm letting the race come to me now," said Ashton.
For his future plans, Ashton is (interested in) driving a limited modified, also called a Sportmod. "For some reason, the last couple of years I've been leaning toward a limited," said Ashton. "I'm hoping by next year to have my limited and have it ready."
When asked why he races every weekend, Ashton said, "I do it just for the fun. I guess it's in my blood. Since I was a kid, I went (to 85 Speedway) and watched with my uncle and my friend who got me into racing that's where he raced at.”
“The longer I've raced there, the more friends I've made. I enjoy the people and I enjoy the track; it's one of the faster tracks and it's got banking to it.”
In addition to all regular race divisions, 85 Speedway will be featuring the Southern Outlaw Street Stocks and Powder Puff races this Saturday. Gates open at 6 p.m. and racing begins at 8 p.m. Call 972-875-8500 or visit ennis85speedway.com for more information.
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