Daytona’s NASCAR truck race can’t get here soon enough for George Bragg
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season opens on Feb. 21 at Daytona International Speedway. George Bragg wishes it started sooner.
“I told somebody yesterday, I can’t wait to get to the racetrack,” Bragg said. “Usually, you worry about everything on your list and wishing you had an extra week. When you do as good as we did last time, you can’t wait for it to get here so you can do it again.
“We’re living the dream of anybody who’s ever had a passion for racing right now. We’re really blessed to be able to do this.”
Last time for Bragg’s BRG Motorsports was the NASCAR truck race at Talladega Superspeedway in October. In the team’s only outing of the 2013 season, BRG came away with a fourth-place finish. Bragg said the team expected to do even better in the NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona on Feb. 21.
“We want to win Daytona, and I want to bring that trophy home to BRG Motorsports,” Bragg said. “We came so close to winning Talladega with Parker (Kligerman) with the support that we have and our race team. We still have all of that in place. We have a brand new truck that’s better than the one we had at Talladega. I feel like we have as good a chance as anybody there to win, especially with NASCAR evening out the playing field from all the truck-support teams that we were having to battle with. Now they’ve changed the body and changed the nose and tightened up the rules. Where everybody with a wind tunnel and all that kind of stuff had an advantage on us, they’ve taken a lot of that away. So we stand maybe even a better chance at this race than we did the last one. We’re just so excited to be going.”
The BRG Motorsports’ Daytona entry again will have Kligerman in the truck and Josh Bragg on top of the pit box. Josh Bragg is George Bragg’s son and the winner of the pro late model season championship at Mobile International Speedway for each of the past two seasons.
“Everybody we have on our race team wants to be here,” George Bragg said. “They’re proud to be a part of our team. Everybody works together. It’s hard to get all that. A lot of people on a race team just work there. We don’t have any people that just work here. That’s one of the special things about our race team. Most everybody is family and friends. We don’t have anybody that’d rather be somewhere else on race day. It’s not a job.”
BRG Motorsports has grown over the past decade from its roots in Helena, Miss. The Daytona truck was prepared in a shop in Mooresville, N.C., in the heart of NASCAR country. The team has support from Joe Gibbs Racing’s motor program and Toyota.
Daytona will be the team’s sixth NASCAR truck event. Bragg would like to race more often. He said BRG Motorsports was building another speedway truck to race at Talladega on Oct. 18. Josh Bragg will be back racing pro and super late models at Mobile International Speedway, and the team is adding a legends car to the gokarts that it has fielded for young drivers at Sunny South Raceway in Grand Bay. For the truck series, other than Daytona and Talladega, nothing is certain for the 2014 season except the team needs sponsors to enable it to race more.
“So far, I’ve pretty much paid for the whole thing again out of my pocket,” Bragg said of the Daytona venture. “That’s what it was at the last race. We’ve got some deals still working and some time still. We really would like to get funding, but as long as I’m able, we’ll keep racing. If we were actually to get the win, I think it will make the funding possibilities a lot easier. We’re working on all of that. That’s our weak point is to get funding. We never have learned how to do that. We’ve learned how to race. It’ll come.
“If we step up our truck program, it will be led by funding. There’s only so far you can go without that.”
After two seasons as a regular on the truck circuit, Kligerman’s Talladega outing with the Braggs was his only truck race of 2013, when he raced full-time on the NASCAR Nationwide Series. This year, Kligerman has moved up to NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series with Swan Racing. But he’s still interested in driving for BRG Motorsports after their combined success at Talladega.
“We were there all day long,” Bragg said of the Talladega race. “Every time we got shuffled to the back, it was like an automatic reflex — the driver and the truck and the crew chief’s calls and all the changes we did all day during the race — we popped right back out on top, and that’s not luck.
“Parker did what we did. He went there and he had fun and he gave 100 percent in that race. All day long, he never quit trying. With Josh and me and all the other races we’ve done in NASCAR and our late-model success, it takes 100 percent plus to win at any racing level nowadays because everybody’s gotten smarter. The technology’s out there. Luck don’t get it done for you anymore. Josh won the track championship at Mobile again this year in late model. We’re pretty much 100 percent people, and when you find a driver that will come back to the truck series and will put 100 percent in and try to win a truck race — this year, he’s racing Cup now, but he found something he liked in our race team, and we know he’s going to lay 100 percent down. You can’t get better than that. He has the talent, and we wouldn’t trade him out for anybody.”