The re-opening of the circle track at Houston Motorsports Park has turned into a revival of asphalt racing in Texas. Currently Texas has no operating asphalt short tracks, however, on July 8th the “Palace of Power” will return and some familiar faces will be making a comeback, too.
The revival has produced a few drivers like Brandon Bendele to dust off the driving gear. Benedele is no stranger to racing, especially in his home state of Texas. He started in karts at 14 years old in San Antonio and by 16 was driving a street stock competitively. It wasn’t long before Bendele was beginning to dominate tracks like San Antonio Speedway, Corpus, and Houston. Bendele later teamed up with Bob Garwood and began racing marquee events in Pensacola and down the East Coast in Garwood’s late model operation. After championships and dozens of wins, Garwood hung up racing and Bendele dialed back his racing career. He made a few starts for Raymond Delahoussaye, but hasn’t been back in a race car in four years.
A few weeks ago Bendele picked up a phone call from BMF Shocks and Chassis owner John Heil. Heil and Wild Child Motorsports owner Rick Pollaro asked him to pilot two cars for the Liberty Bell 200 at HMP on July 8th. Bendele told us, “I was excited and grateful for the opportunity. I know it was big shoes to fill as they have had some talented drivers in those cars.” Bendele will pilot the Wild Child Motorsports Pro Late Model and Pro Modified entries.
Bendele was able to get some seat time during an open test session at Houston a few weeks back. He said, “I was a little nervous, but once I put the helmet on, the nerves went away.” Bendele and the team were up to full speed and were very happy with the test. When asked what his expectations were after a four year absence from racing, he said, “I’m looking to go to Houston and win. You have to position yourself to be up front at the end.” He went on to say, “I’m going to approach this like it’s my last race and cherish being at the track.” Bendele will race for the first time in front of his 6 year old son along with a large following from San Antonio, including his wife and 10 year old daughter. “My wife is very excited about me getting back behind the wheel, and I better perform, because a lot of friends and family are coming to watch.”
You can get more information about the race on July 8th at