RPW Column: Friday At Port Royal Was Eventful, But Very Good For Brett Haas: He’s In The Speed Showcase 200

Column By: BOBBY CHALMERS / RPW – PORT ROYAL, PA – Friday night at Port Royal Speedway was an eventful one for Brett Haas. However, even though it was eventful, in Brett’s words, it was a “very good night.”

Thanks to that good fortune, he’s now locked into the Speed Showcase 200 for Saturday.

Haas started the first 20-lap Modified qualifier from the 11th spot. In a field of 13 that included such names as Bachetti, Watt, Horton, Gular and Laubach, he knew it wouldn’t be a cakewalk to get into the top six and guarantee himself a seat at the table for Saturday’s big 200-lap $50,000-to-win affair.

Things became even more difficult when he was involved in a jingle on the fourth lap with two other drivers in turns three and four. While it didn’t hurt the #55 machine, it did send him back to the rear of the field to start over.

Unfortunately, this time, he had four less laps to get back to a qualifying spot.

That’s when the driver from Pittsfield, MA pulled his seatbelts tight, took a deep breath and got to work. Over the final 16 laps of the event, Haas worked low and high to find any way to get around the competitors in front of him.

It worked.

By the time the lap counter clicked to the 16th circuit, Haas was powering around the outside of fellow Lebanon Valley racer JR Heffner for the final transfer spot. To top that off, as checkers flew, the 55 had some insurance. Haas had worked his way past the 23c of Kyle Coffey to finished fifth.

What was it like for Driver 55, having to fight your way back from the rear of the field, but knowing he had the time and car that could do it?

“I honestly didn’t think we were going to have enough time with the level of talent in our heat race,” Haas said. “I knew we had to make something happen so I tried the extreme high side and was lucky enough that no one was quite that high yet and we were able to make headway.”

After racing on Thursday night at the Speed Palace and coming away with a 16th place showing, did Haas and his team learn anything that helped translate to Friday?

“We wrenched on the car all day (Friday) after last night,” he said. “We made the right adjustments and got a balance back in the car. Now I feel like tomorrow (Saturday) we can somewhat relax.”

How so?

“We know we don’t have to run a consi,” he said. “Now we can focus more on strategy and preparing the car for the 200 instead of worrying about transferring from the Last Chance race.”

With that being said, do Haas think he’s got the car that can contend on Saturday evening? Having qualified for the inaugural event in 20220, how will that experience play into it?

“Knowing how the track changed over the course of the race last year and what lane was fastest at that point in the race helps,” he said. “However, with the weather, it could change how the track will react.”

What’s he think of the bullet he has this weekend? Is it a car that can win?

“I think we’re very close,” he said. “I don’t want to make too many adjustments and dial ourselves out of the ball park. I feel tire that selection and strategy will be key to end the race up front.”

What would it mean for the second-generation driver if he was able to park his car in victory lane at the end of the crown jewel 200-lap event?

“I don’t think I can properly answer that,” he said. “It would be career changing and to have your name in the record books would be a highlight of anyone’s career, especially not racing for a living. If we won it, I don’t know if I’d be able to sleep for days.”

 
 
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