By Phil Whipple,
RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer. Photo credit: Dalton Warren
GREENVILLE, Texas — Most race fans enjoy seeing a longtime racer make a big comeback after any sort of slump in performance. When that magic combination of skills, savvy and good equipment come together to produce wins and broad smiles, well, there's nothing quite like it in short track auto racing.
For 53-year-old open-wheel veteran Billy Brierton, that magic recipe is making some mighty tasty soup in 2021. Brierton has earned seven wins in USRA Limited Modified action, along with one win in his brand new USRA Modified machine. With 17 top-fives to back up the wins, it's been pretty impressive.
“I actually took last year off from the Modified division,” Brierton said. “I had raffled off my old car to benefit a couple of local charities, including the Parker Lee Project. I saved up and bought a new car for this year, and it's really turned my program around. It's been a busy yet very successful year for us.
“Driving the Limited for car owner Norman Young is just a real pleasure. He had a different driver in his car that left him the middle of last year, so I went back and finished the season with him. We won five in a row right off the bat. We've had a good year with his car, I'm so honored to drive for the man.”
Brierton has enjoyed an illustrious 30-year career behind the wheel, with plenty of notable highlights. His busy day job (with lots of Saturdays required) has kept him from doing a whole lot of traveling, but he's earned a rock-solid reputation at his home track of Superbowl Speedway since the very beginning.
“I did pretty well back in 1991, my first full year in the Hot Stock class,” Brierton explained. “There was between 25 and 30 cars there every week, and we won the championship our first season. That same year they were running a monthly IROC series, and we were lucky enough to win that, as well.
“I'd say winning the David Pope Memorial at RPM in a Limited Modified was definitely one of my career highlights. To win that event was very special, because when I was a little boy, David used to take me and my brother Dennis to the races. So that win was moving for obvious reasons, you know.”
Brierton competes in one of the most competitive divisions in Texas. His USRA Modified rivals are up on the wheel every week, and to run up front with them takes all the right ingredients.
“The level of competition in this Modified division right now is off the chain,” Brierton added. “On any given night, whether it's the USRA American Racer Modified Series, or the Touring Outlaw Modifieds Series, you need to be at your very best. In that ARMS deal, there's 15 to 20 that can win.”
When this wise veteran suits up and gets ready to compete, he climbs into a state-of-the-art machine.
“My new Modified is an MB Customs by Cade Dillard Racing,” Brierton said with pride in his voice. “It's the very latest technology, and the craftsmanship is absolutely amazing. Plus the guidance I get from Cade on any topic is priceless to me. He can help me get the car to feel the way I want it to feel.
“Today, you need that kind of top-notch equipment to run against these guys. I needed a car that could keep me up front. I have that, and a builder who I can call knowing he'll be straight forward and tell me exactly what's going on.”
For horsepower, Brierton utilizes one of the Deep South's most reputable and respected engine builders.
“I'm proud to run a motor built by Dennis Wells at Wells Racing Engines,” he added. “It has all kinds of power, and is as reliable as any other powerplant on the market. I'll choose a Wells engine for as long as I run these cars.”
Along with three decades of experience and that beautiful new MB Customs ride, Brierton also has several key people and sponsors on board who keep his program on-track and successful.
“I want to thank Norman and Linda Young, Kevin McNatt and Shawn Gammage for all they do for me,” he said. “I also need to thank Dewayne’s Garage, Greenville Powder Coating, Pics by Dalton, MB Customs Race Cars by CDR, Oreilly Auto Part, X-Treme Graphics by JRod , Day Motorsports, Rooster Racing, Wells Racing Engines and Smiley's Racing Products. I couldn't do this without their support.”
As the 2021 season starts to wind down with mostly special events left to run, Brierton has some plans.
“I am planning to run both the Bryan Mize Memorial on Saturday night and the Ronny Sigman Memorial on Sunday night at RPM Speedway this weekend,” he added. “They've got some big payouts this year, but I know there will be lots of good cars. We'll go down and do our best to get us a trophy.
“It just feels great to be back running up front and contending for wins. I'm having a blast this year.”