Brandon Overton has achieved great things in 2021. He won both of the Dirt Late Model Dream races held in June at the Eldora Speedway. He won the Firecracker 100 at the Lernerville Speedway also in June. In August, he captured the North-South 100 at Florence Speedway. And in September he took one of the two World 100 races at Eldora then a short time later earned a lucrative victory at the dirt track located near NASCAR’s Texas Motor Speedway.
All of those events mentioned above paid $30,000-to-win or more, and in some cases, significantly more. And keep in mind that there were numerous other victories in features throughout the season that paid in the $10,000 to $20,000 range.
With all of that accomplished, the 30-year-old driver was asked whether or not he would have thought such success to be possible for him and his Wells Motorsports team when the season first began.
“I would have hoped all of that would happen but you never know with racing,” Overton replied in an interview with InsideDirtRacing.com held during the World Finals weekend at Charlotte. “I’m just as surprised at it as everybody else. It’s what I always wanted to do was be a race car driver and now I get to do it and I drive for a great car owner. It’s been unbelievable, honestly.”
Even with all of those coveted wins, there were still moments of frustration for the Evans, Georgia native during the 2021 campaign. One race that particularly eats at him is the second World 100 at Eldora where he led much of the way only to lose out to Jonathan Davenport in the end.
“I always think about it and I was real mad that I didn’t win both of the Worlds and both of the Dreams,” Overton admitted. “I just felt like I let it slip away. But you sit back and you think about it and there’s a lot of good race car drivers that haven’t won at Eldora at all, so if that’s the only ones I get, then so be it. It’s not just Eldora but all of the other things we’ve done and we’ve consistently run good all year. People can hit on it that night and win a race or two, but to be in contention at every $100,000 we went to or every $50,000 we went to, that means a lot. That means more to me than to get lucky and win one.”
So what new challenges are out there for a racer who has had such an amazing season?
During the NGK NTK World Finals, the Dirt Late Model regular tried his hand at an entirely different form of motorsports. After talking with World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series regular Jason Sides, Overton found himself behind the wheel of a winged Sprint Car.
And more, when he rolled out for hot laps on Friday night at ‘The Dirt Track at Charlotte’ it was the first time he had ever turned a lap in one of those machines. And he quickly realized that all of his racing experience was not very helpful in such a different type of car.
“I had been wanting to drive one but I didn’t necessarily want to drive one here with no practice and drive right out there and have to figure it all out right then,” Overton explained with a smile. “Jason Sides was down here and we were all talking and I told him I always wanted to drive one of them things and he said for me to just drive his. He told me he had another one and that I could drive it on Friday night. I told him I wanted to practice first but he told me to just drive it and it would all be fine. I thought he’d forget about it but he didn’t and they got it all ready for me. It’s definitely an experience. Everything you do in a Late Model to be good, you do the exact opposite in a Sprint Car.”
Being a successful Late Model driver does not guarantee Sprint Car success. However, ‘Big Sexy’ is determined to master the craft although he intends for Late Model racing to remain his primary trade on dirt tracks.
“Nothing at all translates,” he said. “It’s fast and stuff but that doesn’t really bother me. It’s more the steering and the air. I have a lot of learning to do in it. This weekend, it’s hard for me to get in that one(Sprint Car) and focus on what I’m doing wrong and then get in this one(Late Model) because I’ve got to do everything backwards. It’s a lot going on in one weekend. It’s something I’ve dreamed of doing and I’m super appreciative. I’m not done. I’m not going to give up. We’re going to do some testing and figure it out for when I do jump in one again I can be halfway competitive.”
Multi-talented Kyle Larson has demonstrated tremendous skill in other forms of racing including both Sprint Cars and Late Models. But Overton said other drivers attempting to cross over into other forms of motorsports is not necessarily an attempt to follow the lead of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion.
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“The thing about it is, anything you can jump in makes you better,” Overton declared. “He does it but he grew up racing Sprint Cars. For him to get in a Late Model, it’s a little easier. We watch him do stuff like that, we’re race car drivers, and hell, we want to do the same thing whether we’re competitive or not. We want to have opportunities to drive those cars.”
In the end, it’s all about making the sport better and drawing in more fans.
“The more we all mix together, the more it grows the sport. I met so many Sprint Car people last night and it’s the same way with him when he comes over and meets our Late Model guys. And there’s a lot of Sprint Car guys who want to drive these things(Late Models). I think it’s more about growing the sport than trying to do what Kyle’s doing. He’s in a whole different class. We’re dirt racers and he races on Sunday for a living, it’s just two different categories.”
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