Phil Potts Earns Driver of the Week With Second Late Model Win Of 2016

Phil Potts drives his No.29 Pro Late Model at Brighton Speedway earlier this season. (Rod Henderson photo).

Brighton Driver Has Been A Fixture For Years

By Clayton Johns

BRIGHTON, Ont. (July 7, 2016) – Phil Potts earned his second Vanderlaan Building Products Pro Late Model win of the season last Saturday night and did so in dominating fashion as he led 48 laps to win the Mid-Season championships. The win earns the Brighton, Ont. driver Campbellford Chrysler Driver of the Week honours for the week ending in July 2.

Phil Potts won his second feature of the season on Saturday night. (Rod Henderson photo).

Phil Potts won his second feature of the season on Saturday night. (Rod Henderson photo).

Through eight races this season, Potts has seven top-5 finishes and eight top-10s to accompany his pair of wins. Those results have placed him second in the championship standings and have kept him in the championship hunt at the unofficial halfway point of the season. Entering the 2016 campaign, Potts’ stated goal was to win his first Late Model track championship.

“It would be heartfelt. It would mean being the cream of the crop. We’ve been so close so many times. It might be the only thing to make Stuart retire,” Potts joked of his longtime car owners Stuart and April Archer. “We want to win so bad.”

Potts knows it won’t be easy, though, with the competition as tough as it’s ever been since Late Model racing returned to Brighton Speedway in 2010. The top four drivers are separated by just 65 points, meaning everybody is still in the hunt.

“This year’s going to be a fight to the bitter end because the same five cars finish in the top-five every week,” Potts commented. “Our new thing is “cautiously quick”. You have to go as hard as you can, but as smart as you can. You can’t afford a dumb mistake.”

Phil Potts won his second Pro Late Model feature of the season during the mid-season championships. (Rod Henderson photo).

Phil Potts won his second Pro Late Model feature of the season during the mid-season championships. (Rod Henderson photo).

And Potts, by his own admission, has learned a thing or two in his time at Brighton about racing smart. He’s come a long way since he first began at the track in the early 1990s.

“I spent more time driving off the track than I did on the track,” Potts said with a laugh about his first season. “I just assumed you could hold it wide open and it would do what you wanted it to do.”

He quickly realized it didn’t quite work that way. Potts raced sporadically over the next 25 years in the track’s Modified, Pro Stock and Pure Stock divisions, coming and going in spurts.

His most decorated season came in 2008 when he won the Pure Stock track championship in a car owned by Len and Sheila Canfield.

“There wasn’t anything we didn’t win with that thing. It was bent perfect. It would turn by itself, I swear,” Potts said of the car.

He took the 2009 season off and during that time word began to circle about the return of Late Model racing or the introduction of Sportsman Modifieds to Brighton in 2010. Late Models won out and Stuart Archer discussed with his former grade three classmate about getting back in to the sport.

“If I don’t drive for you, I’m going to shoot you,” Potts jokingly told Archer at the time. “I have to drive for you.”

Fowl Mood Racing formed the next season, named after Archer’s poultry company, with Potts as the driver.

Over his more than 25 years around the speedway, Potts has seen plenty of change at the track, like many of the Northumberland County track’s dedicated fans, drivers and sponsors have as well. Notably, the track’s surface is as smooth as ever and safety improvements have improved exponentially, as they have at most short tracks.

“Safety has gone through the roof 100%, which I’m really happy about. All of the crews are there immediately when something happens. I feel safe when I’m at the track,” Potts said.

There is one other change which is perhaps most relevant, he argues.

“The fact the fighting has stopped. There’s no more getting out and thumping on a guy, which I think is awesome. You want to yell and scream, that’s great,” Potts commented. “There’s no more using your car for a battering ram either.”

After so many years of racing, so much change and, surely, thousands of late nights in the shop, at the track and on the road, Potts has a simple answer when asked why he continues to race.

“It’s an addiction. It’s just something I have to do. Last year, I didn’t go to Black Rock (with the Go Nuclear Series). I sat at home on the deck and I was pacing, checking Facebook, Twitter trying to find out how the races were going,” Potts said, adding his girlfriend Michelle was none too impressed. “She said “I’m never putting up with this again. You have to go, because I can’t put up with it. You’re a little kid.”

And little kids full of excitement create some of the best racing, don’t they?

WINNERS TO DATE

Vanderlaan Building Products Pro Late Models: 2 – Phil Potts (April 30, July 2); 2 – Steve Baldwin (May 21, June 11); 2 – Adam Turner (May 14, June 18); 1 – Charlie Sandercock (May 28); 1 – Tyler Rand (June 4)

Bainer’s OilGARD Canadian Modifieds: 4 – Andrew Hennessy (May 28, June 4, June 18, July 2); 2 – Dan Ferguson (April 30, June 25); 1 – Doug O’Blenis (May 14); 1 – Curtis King (June 11)

Brighton Automotive Pro Stocks: 5 – Justin Ramsay (April 30, June 4, June 18, June 25, July 2); 2 – Doug Anderson (May 21, June 11); 1 – Wade Purchase (May 14); 1 – Brandon Murrell (May 28)

Bill’s Johns Comp 4s: 4 – Tyler French (April 30, May 14, May 28, June 4); 2 – Josh Read (June 11, July 2); 2 – Josh French (June 18, June 25); 1 – Adam Flieler (May 21);

Quinte Septic Super Stingers: 2 – Chris Lammle (May 28, June 11); 1 – Rick Phillips (May 14); 1 – Arthur McCauley

Quinte Septic Junior Stingers: 1 – Chantel Golden (May 14); 1 – Brittany Golden (May 28); 1 – Willy Bolton (June 11); 1 – James Turgeon (June 25)

Southern Ontario Sprints: 2 – Mitch Brown (May 21, June 18)

Go Nuclear Late Model Series: 1 – Charlie Sandercock (June 25)

About Campbellford Chrysler/JJ Stewart Motors: Campbellford Chrysler and JJ Stewart Motors have a strong and committed sales staff with many years of experience satisfying their customer’s needs. JJ Stewart Motors, located in Norwood, and Campbellford Chrysler, located on Hwy.30 just south of Campbellford, are among the top dealers for Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep in the area. The Brighton Speedway Dodge Ram pace truck is provided by Campbellford Chrysler. Receive a FREE family pass to regular Saturday night racing at Brighton Speedway when you test drive at Campbellford Chrysler. Visit them online at www.campbellfordchrysler.ca and www.jjstewart.ca.

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Brighton Speedway’s 2016 season is proudly supported by the following corporate sponsors: ABC Taxi, Adecco, AeCON, Bainer’s OilGARD Anti-Rust, Battlefield Equipment Rentals, Bay Marine, Behan Construction, Belleville Boyer Nissan, Belleville Transmission & Auto, Bellevue Fabricating Ltd., Bicknell Racing Products, Bill’s Johns, BJ McColl Fams, Bonn Law, Boyer Chevrolet Napanee, Brighton Automotive, Brighton Recycling, Budweiser, Campbellford Chrysler, Canadian Energy, Canadian National Autism Foundation, CANEX, Classic Hits 95.5, Classic Rock 107.9 The Breeze, Coca-Cola, Comfort Zone Heating & Air Conditioning, The Community Press, Cool 100, CSC Products, Davis Auto Repair, Deerhaven Farm and Garden, Dibbits Excavating, Eastern Overhead Doors, Electro Cables, Excel Tower Service, First Place Trailers, Gerow Propane, Gilmour’s Meat Shop, Gord’s Water, Greig Truck & Trailer, Hellraiser Race Bodies, Hewbrook Incorporated, Hits FM 95.5, Hotch’s Auto Parts, Hoosier Racing Tire, Humber Nurseries, ImageFactor.ca Motorsport Designs, JJ Stewart Motors, John’s Equipment, Jones Automotive, KD Transmission, Kiwanis Club of Trenton, KOA Campground of Brighton, Krown Rust Control Trenton, Lange & Fetter Ford, Larry’s Towing, Leaf Racewear, Leclair Electric, Lester’s Hot Dogs, Lucas Oil, Maestro’s Painting, Mark Heating & Cooling, McDougall Insurance and Financial, Mix 97, Monacoe’s Hair Salon & Day Spa, Monster Energy, Motosports of Trenton, Muskoka Aircraft Refinishing My FM 100.9/93.3, Mystical Distributing, NecksGen Head and Neck Restraint, NOCO Fuels, Owasco RV, Part Source, Peter’s South End Garage, Qunte Mall, Quinte Septic, Rapid Rad, Read’s Accounting, REMAX (Saoirse Graham & Nicole Parks), ROCK 107, Rona Trenton, Sanderson Tire and Automotive, Stewart Electric, Stix & Stones Billiards, Stoneridge Specialty Insurance, Target Fabrication, TAS Communications, The Trentonian, Therapeutic Massage Centre, Towne and Country Liquidation, Turris Communications, UCB Radio Canada, Ultramar CST, Vanderlaan Building Products, Vandermeer Toyota, VanZuylen Tire and Alignment, The Vinyl Solution, Vito’s Restaurant, VP Racing Fuels and Workman’s OK Tire.

About Brighton Speedway: Brighton Speedway is a 1/3-mile clay stock car racing oval located on the shores of Lake Ontario in Brighton, Ont. The speedway hosts five weekly stock car divisions on Saturday nights from May to September.

Brighton Speedway mailing address: 775 County Road 64, Brighton, ON, K0K 1H0.

Media Contact: Clayton Johns Media

claytonjohns@brightonspeedway.com

Photo Credit: Rod Henderson

www.canadianracer.com