SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – After a year in midget racing that hardly went according to plan, Brayton Lynch is hitting the reset button and trying something new this season.
The 19-year-old has added a winged sprint car to his racing stable and will compete in 20 to 30 events under the Brayton Lynch Racing banner. His Maxim Chassis entry will carry the No. 29.
Lynch, who struggled throughout his sophomore season on the NOS Energy Drink USAC National Midget Series trail last year, is hoping that a fresh start will bring some positives for him and for his family team.
“I’m a little nervous about it, to be honest with you, but I think it’ll be alright,” Lynch told SPEED SPORT. “It’s basically me and my dad doing this. We went in on the deal together … and we’d been looking around for a while. It just felt like the timing was right to go sprint car racing.
“One of the cars we bought was from Greg Wilson, and we just couldn’t pass that deal up,” he added. “We’re gonna put things together and see what we can do. There’s a lot of excitement for us with this.”
While Lynch – the grandson of noted midget owner and crew chief Rusty Kunz – has a recent history in midget-car racing, his family’s roots extend back fairly deeply into sprint car racing as well.
“Obviously, my grandpa has been in midgets forever, but there’s a lot of my family history that’s rooted in sprint cars too,” noted Lynch. “My dad went to sprint cars after running midgets for a little while, and my great-grandfather – who started it all for us back in the 60s running sprint cars with IMCA – won a championship and did a lot in that side of things.”
Because of Lynch’s ties to the midget scene, he didn’t necessarily expect to be going sprint car this season, but finding something else to race became a necessity because he simply wasn’t getting the seat time that many of his peers in the racing industry were able to have.
“It’s not necessarily a direction I planned to move into, but I wanted to get more laps because that’s where I’ve been lacking compared to the guys I’ve been racing against,” Lynch said. “All my competition races all the time. They’ll run whatever and wherever they can. I haven’t had that luxury in the past.
“Now I’m forcing my foot in the door and telling myself I’m going to go out and run a lot more than I have in the past,” he added. “I feel like a lack of laps has stunted me from getting better behind the wheel, with not getting to learn and get the adaptability that other drivers around me have. This should help me a lot this season and hopefully change some things for me going forward.”
Lynch isn’t putting his focus on a series or sanctioning body this year, but rather on racing as much as he can and soaking in a lot of knowledge along the way.
“I’ll probably run most of the MOWA stuff, but I’m not chasing (points) or anything,” Lynch explained. “I just want to run wherever I can, without having to travel a ton or putting the pressure of a championship (fight) on myself. I’ll probably run some IRA shows as well, to get some bigger track experience, and potentially some (World of) Outlaws and All Star shows that are close too.”
Just because he’s turning laps with a wing over his head, don’t expect to see Lynch vanish from the midget scene completely, either. He still plans to be racing the Rusty Kunz Racing No. 1k when possible.
“We’re not putting the midget away completely; we’re just a little burnt out after the collapse of the team with Joe Dooling,” Lynch noted. “We’ll do 15 to 20 shows with the midget, but mostly focus on the bigger USAC shows. We just want to take this whole year a little easier and get back to having fun.”
“It was honestly getting hard to even want to work on the car last year, just with how much of a struggle it has been for us, but I knew if I just stopped going (to the track) completely that I would never get better,” he continued. “I needed to reset. I had some good luck in the BC39 last year, and then the next race out I destroyed the car at Jacksonville and put us back to square one. It has really been tough.”
As far as specific goals, Lynch has just one mission in mind after the recent bad luck that has plagued him.
“I just want to consistently have finishes and get some good runs, but I want to win a race. Any race.”