As one of the prolific sportsman drivers of all time, K&N's Dan Fletcher continues to have the on-track success that many can only dream of and he continued his winning ways at the most recent NHRA National Event held at Brainerd International Raceway.
Dan Fletcher wins NHRA National Event at Brainerd International Raceway
Dan Fletcher and his K&N Clad Stock Chevy Camaro
Drivers such as Fletcher seem to have certain facilities where things just fall their way, more so than not, and the track just outside of Brainerd, Minnesota continues to be one of those venues for Fletcher.
"You know you can't put your finger on why, but yeah it is," Fletcher says when speaking of his history at the Brainerd track. "I think I've pretty much won there more than I haven't, when I go there. I really don't understand why, but things just work when I go there."
Fletcher competed in both of his K&N Chevy Camaros during the event, one in Stock and the other, Super Stock. But it was the Stock class Camaro where he would spend most of his weekend after taking an early first round bow in the Super Stock category.
"I don't know what it is but I sure have been conserving runs in the Super Stock car lately," he joked.
The Churchville, New York resident bettered each of his first two round opponents on the tree in his '69 Camaro E/SA entry and easily outdrove them at the stripe and that set him up for his first of two eventual meetings with the Line family.
For round three, Fletcher was paired up with Lance Line, brother of NHRA Pro Stock racer Jason Line and a very pivotal moment on his way to the final.
"Lance going red in round three gave me the bye in round four," said Fletcher of his memorable rounds. "And then the bye wrapped up racing for the day Saturday."
That would be the first of several redlight round wins for Fletcher throughout the event and when asked about if it had anything to do with the possible intimidation of running the likes of "Dan Fletcher", he just laughed.
"I seldom get many redlights against me. I get a lot of double-oh lights," he explained. "Make no mistake about it, it was a seven round race and I had three redlights [wins] and a bye run. [laughs] I mean I had a lot of good fortune and then you win."
"I don't want to be too contrite about it, but it's pretty much the way it is. The days you get lucky you're gonna win and the days you aren't lucky you are not going to win," he continued. "I mean the days of just being totally dominant and just rolling over people, they're gone. That just ain't gonna happen, you've got to be lucky, you've got to be good and you've got to be there."
When Fletcher made it to the final, it was not only a little different kind of scene on the starting line compared to most of his rounds, but it was also his second meeting of the event with a brother of Jason Line. This time he would be paired up with local racer Ben Line, who had made it to his very first NHRA final and was looking to do well in front of his family and hometown crowd.
"Clearly in the final, you roll up there and he's got a herd of eighty people around him and I'm up there by myself," he joked. "But you know I'm kinda used to that and frankly that may have put more pressure on him."
"But her certainly drove great," Fletcher continued. "He probably deserved to win the event. I mean I drove great in the final, but he had been driving great all weekend. I was driving I would say, [pauses] good. In the final I knew I was dialed to go under, I knew I hit the tree and I could tell he was going around me and I go ‘oh this is great, com'on, go on, go on, get on up there and take that stripe and we'll call it a day'. And I was able to back it off and take the win as he breakout."
Fletcher, who doesn't always get to hang around and enjoy his victories in the winner's circle due to travel time constraints, did finally get to enjoy this one, his 68th NHRA National Event win.
But now he's thinking this was one of the celebrations he should have skipped.
"I kinda felt like it had been a while, even though I guess it hadn't been that long since I got to hang out and celebrate," he explained. "So I stayed and did the winner's circle thing and sincerely wish that I hadn't because as I'm thirty seconds from pulling out of the place a monsoon wind blows up and blows the backdrop into the fender of my car."
"I'm standing at my passenger door and all of a sudden the kid that's holding on to that things says, ‘I can't hold it', and it just starts blowing towards the car," he continued. "I just took a flying drop kick like a pro wrestler at the thing and planted it with two feet. I hit the ground flat on my back and sat there leg pressing the thing off of my car. It was going to take out the whole side of my car. The door, the fender and it was probably going to topple over the roof."
"It dented the front of the fender and it chipped the paint," he said. "I don't know how I'm going to fix it. The car was painted in California."
Fletcher, who has had a great season in his Stock car, was hoping to test in his Super Stock Camaro after some changes prior to his next event at Cecil County, Maryland for the NHRA Division 1 event this past weekend.
But when parts didn't arrive in time, he only entered the event with his Stock car and made it through the first two rounds of competition before Mother Nature put a halt on the racing action.
Racing will resume for Fletcher and the rest of the remaining competitors this weekend with a much dryer forecast on tap.
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