By Phil Whipple, RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer. Photo by Stacy Kolar/Southern Sass.
ROBINSON, Texas — In recent weeks, we've taken a look at the phenomenal amount of talent inside pit areas around north Texas. From Waco to Kennedale and at places like RPM, Buffalo Creek and Boyd, there are loads of dedicated, skilled racers hoping to make a name for themselves.
Among them is an IMCA Sport Mod driver with a ton on his plate, from a family crisis, to having his house remodeled and keeping his bosses happy. For 34-year-old Brandon Geurin, the current points leader at Heart O' Texas Speedway, 2021 has been a year of big speed, consistency and plenty of stress.
In six starts this season, Geurin has one win and six top-five finishes at HoT, and he also ran a race at Cotton Bowl Speedway when the World of Outlaws were in town. Things are good, for several reasons.
“For one thing, we're starting to figure out this car we bought last year,” Geurin said. “We struggled at first, experimenting with various shock packages and setups. Towards the end of last year, we hooked up with CRS Suspension. With the right shocks and more time in the car, it started to come together.
“We started to find the right settings and get it dialed in the way we like it to be. We found a sweet spot for this car, and I can't tell you how good it feels. We had gone as far as we could with that older car I had before. This piece and team chemistry did the trick. I couldn't ask for anything better right now.”
This 26-year veteran of the ovals got a very early start, competing in Karts all over the state. He says it was an ideal training ground for the next steps in his career.
“I've been around the sport my whole life,” Geurin explained. “Both of my parents raced, my Dad still has a Street Stock, in fact. I was real big into sports growing up, I played basketball and baseball a lot. I got started racing on dirt in a Kart when I was eight years old, and raced one every year until I was 16.
“I had an IMCA Stock Car when I was 15, but couldn't race it until the next year. I won a lot of races and track titles in Karting, but was excited to move up. My years in a Kart helped a lot, you have to be super smooth on the steering wheel to be fast. My Sport Mod today is the same way, smooth is faster.”
Geurin is just one of the weekly contenders at Selby Holder's incredible Heart O' Texas facility. It's no secret the level of competition there is as tough or even tougher than it is anywhere else in the state.
“Man, it's some stiff competition at Heart O' Texas every single week,” Geurin added with emphasis. “As the points leader, I'm starting in the fifth or sixth row every night. I start last in my heat race, and they take the top four to the A Main. Track conditions can determine how tough it can be to move up.
“If there's any moisture in the track, it makes guys that aren't always fast seem like rockets. So they're going to be harder to get around that night. When everybody's fast, you've got your work cut out.”
One of the reasons Geurin is having such a great start to his season is the car he started driving in 2020.
“We got this car I'm running now last year,” Geurin explained. “Richard Pickens, my car owner, bought it from Johnny Torres down in San Antonio. It's a 2018 IRP, we got it as a bare chassis and built it up the way we wanted it. My engine is from Marty Robins, of Robins Performance Engines.
“He builds us some great horsepower, and the reliability is second to none. The motor we're using now is the one I ran last year, I have a new one that will be ready in about two weeks. I kind of hate to pull this one out just yet, though, it's been running so strong.”
What makes this gifted racer a model of courage is how he's dealing with a family crisis, one that involves a child. He and his wife are going through something most parents could never even imagine.
“During the off-season last year, my four-year-old son became extremely ill,” Geurin said with audible emotion as he reflected on this ongoing ordeal. “We spent a month in the hospital with him from Halloween until Thanksgiving. He was diagnosed with a rare disease, and had a viral bacteria infection.
“His body went into overdrive to fight off the infection. When that was gone, his body kind of attacked itself. He had inflammation in his brain, some optic neuritis, it was the scariest time of my life. When I first walked into the room and saw him in such condition, it was pretty overwhelming.”
When folks in the tight-knit racing community got word of the Geurin's situation, they sprang into action. Just like police precincts who look after their own, teams and fans wanted to help out.
“I don't have any words to describe how appreciative we are for their response,” Geurin said. “It means so much to us to to have their support. We're still dealing with this, in fact Bracen has another treatment on Wednesday. He'll be hooked to an IV for six of seven hours, they're adding antibodies to prevent future problems for him. It's been a stressful time, but my son is the inspiration for us all.”
“It has truly rocked our world, but we'll get through it with such a great support system. People like Joe Spillman are still helping us out, which we appreciate it so very much. Our friends are just so helpful.”
Along with his amazing raw natural talent behind the wheel and laser-sharp focus, Geurin also has a few key people working behind the scenes to keep his program on-track.
“I am surrounded by great people who support me,” Geurin said. “I need to thank my wife, Heather; my son, Bracen; my dad, Mark Geurin, and his business, Auto Worx; Glen Wilson, of Wilson Chassis Co.; Richard Pickens, of Wicked Fast Transmissions; and Billy Robinson, of Drywall Incorporated.
“I also want to thank David Cole, of Poor Boys LP Gas, LLC; Marty Robins, of Robins Performance Engines; GW Egbert, of CRS Suspension; Jeff Moore, of Five1Seven Designs; Dan Chervaneck, of DLC Racing Equipment; James Hammack Jr., of Hammack Fabrication; Justin Chance and Derek Cates, of TruForm Race Products; Jarrod Jennings, of Spot On Tires; and Jason Ingalls, of IPR Race Cars. I greatly appreciate each one and what they do for my racing program.”
Once the spring rains have dissapated and we get back to those dry-slick condiditioons he loves, Geurin has some clear goals in mind as he straps back into the No. 12 Sport Mod machine.
“It's a little tough to pin down right now, since we are leading the points,” Geurin concluded. “But I'm not really focused on points, we're more interested in feature wins and the points will fall as they may. I really enjoy winning races, so I want to do that for my crew and our sponsors. I just love to win.”