Brandon Clements raised the bar for excellence in the Mini Stock division at Carteret Speedway in 2017, winning six races and securing a second straight championship. He topped division runner-up Travis Provost by 39 points.
“Racing these cars is a lot more challenging than you might think,” said the 27-year-old Swansboro resident. “There’s a lot of great competition around – guys like a national champion AJ Sanders, Chuck Ruffner’s number 53 car, Travis Provost and all the guys we run with every week at Carteret.”
Clements was a Late Model racer earlier in his career. He said he “stepped back into the Mini Stocks to have some fun because the other stuff was too expensive. We’re racing these four-cylinder cars and asking them to do things they weren’t built to do.”
A passion for racing runs in the family for Clements, whose father Lewis fielded some of the top four-cylinder stock cars in the state for many years. “My dad passed away about four months before I started my driving career,” said Clements, who owns Left Turn Design, a screen printing business. “My dad’s cars won a lot of the big shows from Florida to Virginia. I got started in racing because of him and I still do it as a tribute to him.”
Clements said the flat four-tenths of a mile Carteret County Speedway “is the most difficult track in North Carolina. You have to be careful not to overdrive the car. The design of the track is tough on your equipment and it’s a job just keeping a good car underneath you. It’s definitely my favorite because it is a challenge to drive there.”
Grant Garner was crew chief for Clements and Billy Leach was car chief. “Those guys were with me week in and week out,” said Clements. “The car would not have made it out of the shop, much less won a race without them.”
Sponsors for his 2017 title included: Smith’s Custom Homes; Braswell Carpet Cleaning; Brew Racing Engines; H & H Landscaping; Remax Realtor Kim Jenkins; Arnold Landscaping; AniMed; Odom’s Auto Salvage; Jolly’s Home Improvements; Dockside Docks; Tractor Country and Left Turn Design.
Clements was non-committal about going for a third straight Mini-Stock championship at CCS. “If the right sponsor dollars come along, we’re kicking around a return to Late Models,” he said. “But nothing is set in stone yet. We’re definitely going to race my Mini-Stock stuff. It’s just a matter if I’m driving it or somebody else.”
Bowman Gray Stadium visitor AJ Sanders made two trips to the Sportsman’s Wholesale Victory Lane at Carteret County Speedway. Other 2017 Mini-Stock winners at CCS were: Michael Rouse; Clay Jones and Tyler Matthews.
Top 10 In Final 2017 Mini Stock Division Standings
- Brandon Clements 231
- Travis Provost 192
- Jimmy Odom Jr. 149
- Andrew Deal 119
- Kris Hetu 112
- Michael Rouse 96
- Gary Murphy 73
- Stephen Sanders 71
- Adam Fulford & Peanut Evans 62