Since 1998, Richard Brainard, of Sedalia, has been racing at local dirt tracks off and on. But this season proved more difficult, and it’s not what has happened on the track.
During his first season of racing in 1998 at Double-X Speedway in California, Brainard said he wanted to do something special for his mom, Donna.
He went into the announcer’s booth and told the crowd about Donna’s 80th birthday.
“There were about 1,000 people there and I had them sing happy birthday to her,” he said. “Embarrassed the hell out of her.”
Donna supported Richard’s racing career until her death at the age of 95 on May 22.
“It was on a Thursday and I came over and raced that Saturday night,” Richard said. “I just had to get out there. I just had to get into that little world again.”
Richard started racing at Central Missouri Speedway this season, and said his B-Modified race car is where he can sit and relax.
“When I get in this car I just forget about everything in the world,” he said. “I’m in a zone. I don’t think about nothing but racing.”
Richard said he’s seen drivers get so anxious before races that they have to vomit or smoke multiple packs of cigarettes.
“For some people it’s just a rush,” he said. “For me it’s just relaxation. I’ve been sitting in a car lined up for a feature race and fell asleep. I just get so relaxed.”
Richard described himself as a cautious driver, so he said some nerves come over him when he’s racing in the middle of the pack.
Of course, Richard doesn’t have the funds some of the drivers have, so he tries to avoid wrecks at all cost.
“I’ve got a total of $800 in my motor and these guys have $10,000 cars, $4,000 motors and a $1,200 carburetor and I’m still beating them,” Richard said. “I’m just out here having a good time.”
Richard doesn’t have a big-name sponsor covering his light blue 3B numbered B-Mod, but he did have a Jack Daniel’s sticker made to put on it. He also considered adding another sticker to the bumper.
“I thought about putting a caution slow moving vehicle sign on the back of this,” he said.
He may not have the fastest car every week, but he sits fourth in the points standings.
“I don’t know how,” Richard said. “It’s just being consistent, being here every night and finishing. I know a couple of guys that won track championships over at California that never won a race, but they were always just up in the top four or five.”
There won’t be a pit crew surrounding the car at the speedway — Richard does most of the work himself.
“My neighbor comes over and helps once in a while,” Richard said. “Helps in the pit, does little things. As far as the motor, the car and everything like that I just kind of do it all myself.”
Richard may not have a case full of race winning trophies, but he’s known at the track for assisting other teams in need.
“I’ll help anybody,” Richard said. “I used to carry extra belts and hoses and stuff in my pickup. At California if somebody broke a belt, I’d come over and say ‘I’ve got one.’ They’d say, ‘How much?’ Just bring me one back next week. I said we are all here to race. We are all here to go out and compete.”
Richard said the best trophies aren’t always given out in victory lane.
“I know a lot of guys that have first place trophies, but I have trophies at home for biggest prankster, most likeable driver, sportsmanship award. I just help people, I donated things. Those are the ones that mean a lot more to me.”