Story By: CODY MANMILLER / BRETT KRESSLEY RACING – OREFIELD, PA – Brett Kressley is evading the winter weather to join the sport’s best at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla. this week for the DIRTcar Nationals.
“My grandparents love Florida,” Kressley began. “So, the original motivation for racing was basically to give them a vacation, see some of their friends, and for all of us to have a good time together.”
In the weeks leading up to the trip, however, his grandfather ran into some health issues and they were unable to attend. Still, the 25-year old, aboard the Kressley Auto & Truck Sales No. 19K, will take on the stars of the Super DIRTcar Series for five nights of action at the high-banked half-mile oval, beginning on Tuesday.
“My goal is to just improve each night, and get better,” the Orefield, Pa. driver said. “I don’t set the bar too high for myself, but it would be nice to run in the top 10 and finish races; that was my goal for my first season running Modifieds.”
Kressley’s first full season eventually led to four wins and 16 top-five finishes in 2016, quickly emerging as one of the top young drivers in the sport. Last year, the team improved that to six wins, including three at Grandview Speedway, becoming one of just three drivers to win multiple regular season events at the Bechtelsville, Pa. track in 2017.
This season, Kressley will be back at Grandview on Saturday nights, will run the early-season shows at Bridgeport Speedway in Swedesboro, N.J., and some bigger races at Minersville, Pa.’s Big Diamond Speedway, while also traveling with the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled by Sunoco South Series.
Kressley, a two-time winner in Modified action at Bridgeport, plans to use his success at the big 5/8-mile oval to guide him at Volusia, a track he’s never seen before.
“I talked to Rick (Laubach) a little bit, and he said that it’s a lot like Bridgeport,” Kressley explained. “The corners are a little tighter, but it’s definitely a momentum track, and I really enjoy racing there, so that gives me some confidence.”
On the journey south, the team stopped at Golden Isles Speedway in Waynesville, Ga. for a test session to work out the bugs on the brand new 2018 Bicknell and Enders Racing Engines Big Block.
“We just wanted to make sure the thing was going to stay together, and the test went well,” he said. “We found one issue, but were able to fix it so it was definitely worth it.
“I have a good group of guys with me, and we just want to run all the laps and have a good time,” he said. “If you’re fortunate enough to run well – and we have great equipment and great guys so we should do alright – it would definitely be a confidence boost to be competitive.”
“And, if we don’t, at least we are in the warm weather,” Kressley joked.
The racing format at Volusia includes five stand-alone nights, with qualifying, heat races and a feature event each evening, much different than the format used at the World Finals in Charlotte, N.C.
“I like this format a lot more than Charlotte,” Kressley said. “With all the qualifying done the first night, it puts a lot of pressure on you, but this week you get to start completely fresh the next day and do the best you can.”
Brett Kressley Racing would like to thank all of its sponsors, and especially Kressley Auto & Truck Sales, Harry’s U-Pull It, Northern Valley Erectors, Bicknell Racing Products, Enders Racing Engines, and Morgantini Racing Engines.