EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a continuing series of off-season profiles on NASCAR Pinty’s Series drivers as a lead-up to the 2018 opener at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on Sunday, May. 20.
Alex Gallacher (NASCAR.com): What sparked your interest in racing in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series?
Brett Taylor (NASCAR Pinty’s Series Driver): I believe that it’s the top tier of racing in Canada and I remember watching on TV. Seeing guys liked Andrew Ranger and Scott Steckly duke it out. Just being a part of NASCAR has always been a place I want to be, so obviously what better than NASCAR Canada. I started racing in B.C. and I was doing really well there, a lot of first places and my driver coach said “look, if you want to be better and you want to get to the next level you have to go race against the best.” The fastest way for me to get to the top is to race against the best and that was one of the reasons why I picked the Pinty’s Series.
You currently race with the No.46, what is the significance of that number?
So that number is the car number of Cole Trickle in the move Days of Thunder, when he raced with the green and yellow City Chevy sponsored car. Number 46 in that movie is actually what got It all started for me, I’ve always had a need for speed and seeing that movie for the first time when I was around 8, it was an inspiration to me and I probably watched that movie over 200 times. When I got into the Pinty’s Series that was the first number I asked for and I was shocked that nobody had it so I scooped that number up. To me that number is a comfort number, looking at the number represents what I think it means to be a winner.
You grew up in Calgary, Alberta. What was it like growing up there and what was the racing scene like out west?
When I grew up I kinda lived on a farm and there was no track and my family didn’t even know what racing was, but when I was younger in Calgary, my Uncle would race carts locally in Calgary so I would go with them to the races. When I was with them they would let me take around the cart in practice, so you know that was the closest thing I had to racing in Calgary.
Race City was torn down around 15-20 years ago, so I didn’t really have an opportunity to race on Race City because I didn’t really have a clear path to be able to get on that track so to speak. I didn’t have anyone who was in late models or any kind of car on that track, so unfortunately by the time I got to a point where I was racing Race City was gone. The race world is funny because here in Calgary, you meet one person who knows about racing and they know 100 other people who love racing, they still have old cars in their garage and they still travel around Calgary. You don’t know that world exists until you start digging in to it. We are an oil city and people here, racing isn’t something they are into. You have all these oil execs, a lot of them don’t really aspire to go short track racing. It’s been tough because there hasn’t been a local track or any kind of local race events in a long time.
However, if I drive for 3 hours, 6 hours, 10 hours in a certain direction there are tons of race fans and a race world. They have a community north in Wetaskawin and west in B.C with the new Area 27 track, but I find in southern Alberta there is almost nothing.
Who was your biggest influence growing up?
I have a lot of influences. I have my faith, I’m a Christian and that has influenced me in many different ways.
My father and how hard he has worked growing up. My family, we are a really tight, close family and we are really supportive of each other, we have a lot of strong family values and morals and that’s really set me on the right direction. I’m one of those people that pay attention to every single word someone says to me, every job that I’ve had, every person I’ve met I always walk away learning something from them and I try to pay attention to that. I believe that it’s faster and easier to learn in life if you learn from someone who’s been there and done that.
Why go through life making all these mistakes for the first time when you can learn from people who have already made them once or twice and just skip that learning curve. I’ve always allowed myself to be influenced in a positive way be people around me because you can learn something from every person and walk of life. Whether it be business or love or anything you can always learn something.
What is your favorite Pinty’s Series track to race at and why?
I struggle between the Honda Indy and CTMP. I mean CTMP, that track is nuts. The elevation changes, the high speed turns, the braking in turn 5A as you’re going up a hill. It’s known worldwide so it’s almost like there is a legend to it. I always just want to be the best I can at that track cause I think if I’m really good at that track I’ll be good at every other track. Actually all my testing that I’ve ever done in NASCAR has been on that track, but there is the Honda Indy. The Honda Indy is very similar to what I started my racing career on, it wasn’t in downtown Toronto but the track I learned on had concrete barriers on both sides, it was a tight track and you were full throttle, hard braking, full throttle, hard braking. That’s pretty much what the Indy is like, so I get the Indy a lot easier but if you take the fact that it is in downtown Toronto and you have anywhere from 75-100 thousand people at the event, the atmosphere is like non other and to top it off I think it’s pretty cool to race with the CN tower in the background. If I had to give one answer it would be the Honda Indy.
You become the first western Canada based driver to compete the full season since Noel Dowler in 2014. What does it mean to you to be able to represent Western Canada on the Pinty’s grid?
First of all, I thank God for the opportunity because without God I wouldn’t be here. I feel honored and slightly anxious because there are so many western drivers and I didn’t realize how many there were until I started racing super late models last year. I race against these guys and they are just freakin nuts, they are stout competition. The Admiraals, Trent Seitel, Clint Habart these are just a few guys that I have met, but they are all top tiered drivers. Why I said I’m anxious is because there are all western Canadian drivers, they’re all really good and here I am the only one who is in NASCAR.
I know they’re watching me and I want to make them proud, I want to make every driver in western Canada proud of me. So that’s why I’m a little bit nervous, because I don’t think I’m here because I’m better than everyone else. The excitement part comes because, I think I have an opportunity here to help draw some attention to western Canada.
Predominantly, all the drivers here are from the east part of Canada. I’m hoping that his helps bring awareness to the sport in western Canada because I think it needs to be highlighted here and we need to find or build more tracks to have more races out here. I really hope that me doing this helps people in Calgary learn more about the sport because I think they would love it.
You competed in one of the longest endurance races in the world the 25 hours of Thunderhill. Talk about that experience and what did you learn from racing that event.
That was actually one of my first big events, I did that before I was even in NASCAR. The setup they have there is probably closed to a CTMP weekend, when the trucks are in town, for Thunderhill take that and double it. There are guys from around the around the world that come and race in this event, the Flying Lizards team they are huge into sports car racing and they have three or four haulers there. What makes the track and the event really difficult is that you’re on the grid with so many different classes of cars, there is no qualifying or anything you are all just on the track at the same time. I forget how many drivers there are, but there had to be at least 60-100 cars on the track at once. You learn so much about yourself physically and mentally, what you can and can’t handle. You’re suffering from sleep deprivation, cause you can try to sleep but it’s hard knowing you have to get up in 2-3 hours to race.
Thunderhill is a track I can closely compare to CTMP, it’s a technical road course with plenty of high speed turns and elevation changes. You take that and span it over 25 hours it’s a crazy race. There were 4 of us drivers and we each did 3 hour stints. Unfortunately for me every time I was in the car there were Jurassic weather and track changes. I raced in the hot sun, the darkness with everyone’s LED lights blinding you, raced in the pouring rain (at night) and then to top it all off the snow on slicks in the early brisk morning. I mainly learned how to remain calm and patient. Every driver needs to race Thunderhill at some point in their careers.
2018 will mark your first full time season with CBRT. How did this ride come into fruition?
Me and Joey (McColm) are very much alike, he is a very business minded person and very smart with marketing and putting himself out there to try and get sponsors. Me and him have a lot of cool ideas and it’s really nice to click with someone like that. So Joey and Bud [Team Owner], they have really taken time to help me. We’ve spent a lot of time just testing and training and they really believed in me and I can’t thank them enough, they’ve given me a lot of great opportunities.
I started down this road because my goal is to win Rookie of the Year this year. If I win I will become the first Albertan driver to win Rookie of the year honours. I’m really hoping to put my stamp on Alberta for that.
We’ve kinda planned it around this year, I know I’ve been in Pinty’s for two years now and done six races together and my best finish was ninth at CTMP. I wanted to feel my way into it before I went right for it. This year being full time, we as team feel that we can be really competitive and we are pushing for a podium finish.
How long have you been interested in racing and how did you become a fan?
I have always had a need for speed. I would take my grandfather’s farm truck and blaze through the fields as a kid. I would always be looking for ways to get behind the wheel of anything. My parents would let me sit on their lap and drive down the gravel roads. So it’s always been in my blood, but surfaced the first time I watched days of thunder, all I could think about was a path to get behind a NASCAR.
If you could race against any driver living or dead, who would it be and why?
Aryton Senna for sure! I know I wouldn’t be actually able to “Race” him, but to have the opportunity to speak with him or do some lead follow would be a dream.
If you could race on any racetrack, anywhere in the world which track would it be?
Definitely Daytona. The fans, the speed the legacy, I will race there before my career is over!
If you could give any piece of advice to aspiring race car drivers in Canada what would you say to them?
I know it’s a cliché to say “Never give up on your dreams” as everyone says that. But what I think that means is, always focus on what you can do to achieve your goals and live your dream. Every decision you make needs to be calculated to keep you pointed in that direction. Every day is a new beginning, no actually, every tenth is a new chance to make that step in the right direction. If you can’t get a ride because you have no financial support, work harder to make more money to do it yourself. Always look to yourself and what “I” can do to make this happen, don’t wait for someone or something to happen to allow you to live your dream!
If you weren’t a race car driver, what career path do you think you may have pursued instead?
In Calgary I build homes, it’s funny how racing is what got me into building homes. As I don’t come from a racing family so if I wanted to pursue this path I had to do it on my own. I happen to be good a building homes, so figured I could make the most money doing that to fund myself through racing school. I am lucky to have such an amazing wife, she supports me racing and therefore makes it easy on me to break away from the business for the weekend. It’s tough though juggling a business and racing. When its race season I have to work extra hours to ensure that when I get to the track I am not thinking about work.
What has been your favorite racing memory over the course of your career?
It was when I was racing in the GT league in BC. I had my own car and I was leading the race, I spun on a corner and dropped to the back. I thought to myself that maybe I should just give up and tow it around for a while, but then I thought to myself “Hang on a second, I’m here racing. Why would I just give up?” Even if I don’t get first I’m still learning something. I ended up coming back and winning the race making the pass on the last corner of the last lap. It was my first win ever and it came from spinning and fighting back to win the race.
What makes racing in NASCAR so special?
When I first watched it on Days of Thunder and saw the name and I started following the races on TV, it’s always been a goal to me and a symbol of what I’m aspiring to do. Now that I’m in it, it symbolizes to me my sense of accomplishment, “I’m here, I did it.” Everybody who told me a couldn’t do it, I proved them wrong. Most of all though I proved it to myself, your mind can be your worst enemy sometimes and I’ve even had doubts in my own mind I just said “push through it.” Like the first win I mentioned earlier, I was going to give up right away and I had to train myself not to give up and convince myself that I can do it. So being here, represents a sense of accomplishment and it proves that hard work really does pay off.
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