Phil Potts celebrates his 2016 Brighton Speedway Vanderlaan Pro Late Model championship with the Fowl Mood Racing team on Friday, September 23, 2016. (Photo-Rod Henderson)
By: Clayton Johns/Fowl Mood Racing
September 29 2016
Brighton, Ontario – Mission accomplished for Phil Potts and the Fowl Mood Racing Team. Potts earned his first career Pro Late Model track championship in decisive style on Friday night by winning the final point race of the season for the Vanderlaan Pro Late Models at Brighton Speedway.
Potts entered the night with a 45-point lead over Charlie Sandercock. Both drivers finished third in their heats, keeping the lead in tact entering the final 30-lap feature. Potts needed a finish of fifth or better to guarantee the championship. He had no intentions of squeaking in through the back door and stole the lead from Sandercock in traffic with three laps to go to solidify his title.
“With three to go, they just drifted up I guess. I can barely remember how it happened. All of a sudden I was there,” Potts said of his battle with Sandercock and Brandon Mowat. “It was unbelievable. At lap 11, I was scared to death. I was in sixth-place and there’s only 19 more laps. I’m in trouble and there’s really good cars ahead of me.”
Following the race, Potts parked his car in victory lane for the fifth time this season and was immediately greeted by his team and his biggest fan, his mother Darlene Potts.
“When it’s not handed to you, you won it and you earned it, its special,” Potts said. “It’s finally starting to set in now. I was as happy for my team as myself and for my mother. She sits out there and there could be frost on her and she will not leave. She’s proud of me and I’m proud of that.”
Potts was also quick to point out he would not have been able to succeed this season without the support of his girlfriend Michelle.
“Every long weekend this year I was gone racing. I have to thank her for putting up with me,” Potts said.
Potts returned Saturday night for the Go Nuclear Late Model Series’ 65-lap, $6,000-to-win Great Crate Race. With the stress of the championship behind him, Potts ran a smooth race after second-place time trial and heat race efforts.
“Saturday was such an easy race. It was important, but it wasn’t near what Friday was to us. We could just go out and race the car and have some fun. We could enjoy the race instead of worrying about where I had to finish,” Potts said.
The Brighton native navigated the Vanderlaan/Brighton Recycling/Indewey Excavating No.29 Longhorn Chassis to the front in a methodical manner. With 30 laps to go, Potts had found his way to fifth from the seventh starting spot.
A couple of restarts over the final 20 laps saw Potts jump as high as second, but several yellow flags prevented the No.29 from getting in to an extended green flag run.
“I think I used up my right-rear getting (to the front). Twice I went back and came back up through again,” Potts explained. “That car likes green flag laps. I was getting faster and faster and pushing Kyle (Sopaz) as the tires got warmer and then there was a caution. That Longhorn needs green flag laps for it to really come in.”
Potts ended up with a third-place finish after battles with Sopaz, Sandercock, Bryce Davis and Chad Homan.
“I was still happy with third. I would have loved to sweep the weekend, but they were tough competitors,” Potts said.
With the Brighton season now officially in the record books, Potts called the 2016 campaign his best ever.
“This is pretty much my best season I’ve ever had. I had a good year in the Pure Stock when I won everything (2010), but it wasn’t near the caliber of competition as we have now,” he commented.
“What we have now is unreal. You race with good competitors every week who are tough. “I couldn’t go out every night wondering if I’m going to win this. I had to go out hoping to finish in the top-five.”
Potts has two more races on his schedule for the 2016 season. He’ll head to Fulton Speedway on Friday, September 30 with the Go Nuclear Late Model Series before the series’ final race at Brockville Ontario Speedway’s Fall Nationals on Friday, October 14.
Phil Potts – 26 Starts: 5 Wins, 21 Top-5s, 25 Top-10s
FOWL MOOD MEDIA
The Fowl Mood Race Team’s 2016 season is supported by several dedicated corporate sponsors, including Vanderlaan Building Products, Brighton Recycling, Indewey Excavating and Crow Design.