Brad Urquhart made his Street Stocks racing debut Oct. 13 at Barona Speedway and finished second in the main event.
“I’m very happy with second place considering it was the first time I had ever driven the car,” Urquhart said.
Urquhart had finished second in the Pure Stocks main event Aug. 4 after finishing third in that night’s heat race. Urquhart also finished third in the Pure Stocks heat race Aug. 18. Barona Speedway drivers normally race counterclockwise, but prior to the Aug. 18 main event track officials opted to run the Pure Stocks race clockwise. “A couple of the drivers weren’t happy about it so they sat it out, but I enjoyed it up until I hit the wall head-on,” Urquhart said.
Urquhart was in second place prior to the final turn of the final lap, when a lapped car whose handling became loose hit the car ahead of Urquhart’s. Both cars veered into Urquhart’s path, which sent Urquhart’s 1970 Monte Carlo into the track wall.
Barona Speedway promoter Todd Salazar told Urquhart that he had never previously seen the K-rail moved 18 inches.
The damage to Urquhart himself was limited to neck stiffness, but the car fared worse. “It was totaled,” Urquhart said.
“It was built like a tank, but it met its match,” Urquhart said. “The K-rail met its match, too. But the concrete always wins.”
The Monte Carlo was sent to the crusher. “It’s in car heaven now,” Urquhart said.
“It was a head-on collision,” Urquhart said. “It was damaged almost beyond repair.”
Instead of purchasing another Pure Stocks vehicle, Urquhart took advantage of an available Street Stock. “I’ve been kind of thinking about moving up a class anyway, so this kind of made it an easy decision,” he said.
Urquhart actually purchased two Novas. Fellow Fallbrook driver Jim Ramsey, who sold the Monte Carlo to Urquhart prior to the 2010 season, had a 1976 Nova he intended to race, but Ramsey had postponed the completion of that racecar for other projects. Gary Hartsuyker drove a 1978 Nova at Barona Speedway but has decided to retire from racing. James and Rod Robison are turning Ramsey’s Nova into a dirt-track racecar while Urquhart took over Hartsuyker’s Nova. “His car was race-ready,” Urquhart said. “I had seen his car running and liked the way it seemed to stick in the corners compared to my former car, which always ran better up close to the wall.”
Urquhart added a head and neck restraint system to the Nova along with fire suppression equipment. Urquhart, who drove car #2 in the Pure Stocks, also changed the former car #66 to his old number.
Although Urquhart purchased the two cars in August, his wife is battling lobular breast cancer. Carol Urquhart had surgery in September; in November she will begin radiation treatment which will last through December. “We’re doing everything we can to win this battle,” Brad Urquhart said.
Urquhart did not race in September. On Oct. 12, Urquhart and Rod Robison had the opportunity to drive an Indy car at AAA Auto Speedway in Fontana. Urquhart went into the corners at approximately 155 mph. “The G’s (G-force) around the corners were fun,” Urquhart said.
Urquhart noted that Barona Speedway’s quarter-mile oval makes straightaway driving more appealing to him at the shorter track. “It’s way more exciting in the Street Stock racing,” he said.
Urquhart and Robison made their reservations at AAA Auto Speedway prior to the Aug. 18 crash, so the conflict with Barona Speedway’s Oct. 12 practice prevented Urquhart from practicing in the Nova that night. “I haven’t had any chance to drive it prior to this race,” he said. “I had no chance to run any practice laps.”
Hartsuyker watched Urquhart drive practice laps the night of the race, and Hartsuyker also witnessed Urquhart in the heat race. Hartsuyker used those observations to provide Urquhart with tips to drive the car better in the corners.
The Barona Speedway rules stipulate that a driver who races in a new class is considered a rookie. Rookies must start in the back for both their first heat race and their first main event. “I didn’t mind this since I hadn’t driven the car before and needed to get some seat time,” Urquhart said.
Urquhart finished seventh in the eight-lap heat race. “I took it real easy. I was trying to get a feel for how the car was going to handle in the corners,” he said.
Spending the race in the back also kept him away from drivers seeking to advance. “It was a stress-free start. I wasn’t worried about somebody clobbering me from behind,” he said.
Urquhart prefers, however, to drive in traffic. “It’s a lot more fun,” he said.
Urquhart had that opportunity in the 20-lap main event despite starting in the back. “I wasn’t expecting much because of my lack of familiarity with the car and my end of the pack starting position,” he said. “I also wanted to stay in one piece.”
Urquhart avoided two potential collisions in the first five laps. “In the main event there was a close call,” he said.
Jim Harlan’s 1981 Monte Carlo broke in front of Urquhart. “I had to take quick evasive action,” Urquhart said. “That was a lucky collision avoidance for me.”
Urquhart was fifth after five laps. Three laps and two yellow flag cautions later he was in third. “I was surprised to see myself in third position,” he said.
“I started to begin thinking differently about this just being a get to know your car event,” Urquhart said. “I started looking for openings a little more aggressively.”
Urquhart demonstrated the ability to master driving in traffic in the Nova. “As each lap went on I was gaining confidence in the car’s abilities,” he said.
Urquhart passed the second-place car on the outside before going both inside and outside to take the lead on the 12th lap. “I did kind of an ‘S’ move,” he said.
Urquhart stayed in the lead for the next five laps. “What a shock, on my first night, and starting from the back,” he said.
Manny Baldiviez passed Urquhart with three laps remaining. “I started to get a little bit too excited,” Urquhart said.
Urquhart explained that he reverted to his Monte Carlo habits and was driving the Nova too hard into the corners. “It started pushing out,” he said. “This car doesn’t have to be pushed as hard into the corners.”
Baldiviez remained in first place while Urquhart held on to second. “Overall I’m happy with the progress made on my very first night of driving this car,” Urquhart said. “Finishing second was a bonus. It was a clean race for me. I stayed patient and waited for my opportunity tonight.”
Rod and James Robison were Urquhart’s Oct. 13 pit crew. Urquhart is sponsored by Eagle Eye Fabrication, Fallbrook Auto Works, and Fallbrook Fertilizer Feed and Farm Supply. If weather permits the Barona Speedway season will conclude Nov. 10.