PENSACOLA, Fla. – In less than seven months, Brandon Setzer has gone from confronting Raphael Lessard and Kyle Busch Motorsports to working for the team’s super late model program.
It’s a remarkable, and slightly ironic, reversal of a story that began in May at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway.
Seven months ago, Setzer was racing for the win in the CARS Tour Cloer Construction 300 with Lessard, in a race that came down to the final lap. Setzer bumped Lessard out of the way in turns one and two, but Lessard responded in turns three and four with a similar shot to the bumper that sent Setzer spinning.
After the race, which was ultimately won by Chris Dilbeck, Setzer and his father, Dennis, entered Lessard’s pit area. There was a scuffle between the Setzer clan and members of the Kyle Busch Motorsports pit crew. That led to a suspension from CARS Tour action for both Setzers’ for five races, which was later reduced.
Setzer promptly came back to Hickory in August and won the super late model portion of the CARS Tour-sanctioned Throwback 276, putting the first note of closure on the saga.
Now, fast forward to Snowball Derby week at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla., and you find Setzer adorned in Kyle Busch Motorsports crew apparel and working on the No. 51 Toyota that Lessard will pursue the Tom Dawson Trophy in.
Oddly enough, Setzer noted that it was KBM that reached out to him, as the team was in need of crew help during the latter stages of the season.
“It was a little surprising when I got the call, and they were looking for a guy to come and work,” Setzer told SPEED SPORT. “I didn’t know if it was a joke or serious, and it ended up being a good fit. I’ve been at KBM now for about three months, and it’s been a lot of fun, in all honesty.”
Setzer has taken all the positives he can out of the chance to work for a team viewed as one of the best in the short-track industry. He also hopes he can bring some of the knowledge he’s gaining back home.
“I’ve always worked on my own stuff, but I viewed this as a great opportunity to learn a lot and make myself better,” noted Setzer. “Doing this, hopefully I can go back later and produce a better car for myself, and also help KBM produce a better car for their program while I’m over here.
“I’ve enjoyed this, and I also know I can’t race forever and spend money forever,” he added. “It’s endless to go racing, but we all know that in life, eventually you have to start making money.”
Setzer said that he hopes to continue working with KBM next season, however, he also assured that he will be back in a race car himself for selected races next year as well.
“I’m going to run as much as I can, hopefully six to eight races,” he said. “I want it to be just like this year, where we show up at the track and have a shot to win each time.
“We had a really (good) year and just haven’t finished it off, but we want to show up with that same speed next year.”