McReynolds takes off with full-time K&N Pro Series West ride
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Friday, Jan. 17, 2014

McReynolds takes off with full-time K&N Pro Series West ride

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/01/15/12/06/v9QSo.Em.138.jpeg|500
    - COURTESY OF McREYNOLDS FAMILY
    Brandon McReynolds.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/01/15/12/06/1bFuCu.Em.138.jpeg|391
    - COURTESY OF McREYNOLDS FAMILY
    Brandon McReynolds, left, with his father, former NASCAR crew chief turned TV commentator Larry McReynolds in Victory Lane after winning an ARCA race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in 2012.

Brandon McReynolds’ narrow victory in the 2012 ARCA race at Talladega Superspeedway appeared to be the boost the young driver’s career needed to catapult him to the next level.

But events didn’t unfold the way the son of former NASCAR crew chief and now FOX TV analyst Larry McReynolds envisioned.

“I sat around after I won that race for three or four months, and the phone never rang,” said the younger McReynolds, who lives in Mooresville. “It was definitely a hard time for me, but I learned about myself and learned that no matter what, you have to help yourself. Nobody is going to hand you this. You have to get out there and dig hard.

“Winning races nowadays just isn’t enough. It takes good off-track appearance. It takes good on-track appearance. At the same time, it’s all about communication and showing people you want it more than the next person.”

McReynolds kept his dream alive in 2013 by racing when funding was available but focusing full-time on preparing a super late-model for Harrison Burton, NASCAR driver Jeff Burton’s 13-year-old son.

Last fall at Phoenix International Raceway, McReynolds showed team owner Bill McAnally the depth of his desire. He fought his way from a starting position of 22nd to a fifth-place finish in last year’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race.

That performance led to McAnally hiring McReynolds as his full-time driver for the 2014 K&N Pro Series West’s 14-race season; however, before that series opens Feb. 27 at Phoenix, McReynolds will compete in the first two K&N Pro Series East events: Feb. 16 at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway and Feb. 18 in the UNOH Battle at the Beach at Daytona.

Unlike many young drivers seeking to climb the racing ladder, McReynolds didn’t buy the ride with the five-time K&N Pro Series West championship team with sponsorship money.

“I think that says a lot about how much (McAnally) believes in keeping racing a sport and staying away from some of the business side of it as far as having people come in that can just simply pay for it,” the 22-year-old McReynolds said. “To see Bill still very passionate about putting people in his NAPA Toyota that he believes can get the job done means a lot.”

The recently-engaged McReynolds will continue to live in Mooresville and commute to the West Coast events. When in North Carolina, he will spend time at McAnally’s East Coast operation, which will campaign Nick Drake for that series rookie title and Cole Custer in nine K&N Pro Series events.

McReynolds said he was taking it upon himself to spend as much time as possible at McAnally’s East Coast operation, housed at Ken Schrader Racing in Concord, so he can learn from both McAnally teams.

“Nowadays there’s not that many kids that can say they know how to work on and set up their own race cars,” said McReynolds, who has been racing since age 8. “I think that goes a long way with owners who do have some funding.

“I think a lot of times, people get in a box because they don’t know the mechanical side of a race car. They just say I’m loose or tight. Well, that can only carry you so far because there are so many elements that go into these cars nowadays.”

In addition to vying for the K&N West Series championship, McReynolds hopes to compete in a few NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races for Tom DeLoach’s Red Horse Racing. Larry McReynolds said that opportunity depended on finding sponsorship, and that meant $100,000 to $125,000 per race.

The young McReynolds made his truck series debut last year with an 18th-place finish at Texas in a Chevrolet owned by Steve Turner.

U.S. Pro Kart Series opening season at GoPro Motorplex

For the second consecutive year, GoPro Motorplex is hosting the U.S. Pro Kart Series season-opener of the four-round touring sprint karting series April 11-13.

Located off Mazeppa Road in Mooresville, GoPro Motorplex’s 0.7-mile sprint track is based on the historic Kartdromo Parma in Italy.

Deb Williams is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Deb? Email her at dwilliamscltobs@gmail.com.

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