CHARLOTTE, N.C. – As the ninth annual Orange Blossom Special approaches at Orange County Speedway on April 5, fans and racers alike are eagerly awaiting a trip to one of the favorite stops on the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South super late model schedule.
Several teams have already tested at the high-banked, three-eighths-mile speedway in Rougemont, N.C. While fans are equally excited thanks to PASS Fan Appreciation at Orange County Speedway with special admission pricing featuring $25 per vehicle for up to six people or $10 admission per person. But, one long time PASS South team might be even more anxious to get to Orange County than all the rest.
New Day Motorsports and driver Brandon Ward had high expectations entering the 2013 PASS South campaign. After all, the veteran team was coming off their best season ever following wins at Wake County Speedway and Anderson Motor Speedway and finishing fourth in final points. But what looked to be such a promising season quickly proved to be a nightmare. Ward struggled to get the handle on the familiar No. 62, destroying the team’s primary car at South Boston Speedway in May after his brakes failed entering turn one.
But that was just the beginning. In August, veteran crew member Mike Sabiston lost his life in a freak accident at Southern National Motorsports Park. Then, just two months later, the team’s second car was destroyed at Orange County after a hard crash involving Randy Gentry.
Now, having survived virtually everything the “racing god’s” could throw at them, Ward and the New Day Motorsports team come to this year’s Orange Blossom Special closer and stronger than ever before. Having to prepare a whole new fleet of cars did set the team back causing them to miss the first two races of the season at Greenville-Pickens Speedway and Dillon Motor Speedway. But, Ward believes the Winston-Salem, N.C., team is more than ready and at 100 percent heading to Orange County.
“We had a lot to do and some regrouping to do over the winter, but all the guys have worked really hard and they’ve got a really good car put back together,” said Ward. “We wanted to run the first couple of races, but just weren’t quite ready. We’ve tested at Orange County and we’re going to be ready to go on April 5.”
It may seem ironic that Ward returns with the kpmoto.com/Foothill Ford #62 at Orange County since it was there last October where the 2013 season came to such an abrupt end. But, following a successful test at the track last Saturday which saw the new car hit the track for the first time, Ward believes Orange County could be the place to get New Day Motorsports back on track, so to speak.
“It’s close to home for us and we’ll have a lot of friends and family there looking to have a good time and put last year behind us,” says Ward. “It’s a fast race track and with the banking there you can move around a lot. You can pass because you’ll see cars run the top and bottom. You’ll see crate cars be fast there, but the built motor cars are too. It’s just a good race track that seems to suit these PASS cars and always put on a great race for the fans.”