CRANDALL, Texas — Up in the competitive turf of North Texas, where race tracks are seemingly as common as ice cream stands or Taco shacks, it takes quite an effort to secure double-digit wins. Whether you compete in Factory Stock or IMCA Stock Cars, you're in for a significant challenge.
Yet for 28-year-old second-generation hotshoe Bryce Pritchett, these classes are an ideal arena to showcase his abundant skills. Pritchett is wrapping up a strong 2023 campaign, with 10 wins and 21 top-five finishes in 27 starts. He's fast, consistent, and never far off the pace on any given weekend.
“I was disappointed in my Factory Stock last weekend,” Pritchett said. “After Saturday night, we didn't have a very good night at the Brian Mize Memorial. We started on the outside of the front row, but came home in fourth. But we won in the Stock Car, so that was good.
“I definitely knew if we were going to be in the hunt on Sunday night, we would have to make some changes. Luckily, Mother Nature put a little moisture down for us with that rain delay, so it worked out in our favor. We were pretty good in the Heat race, but that extra grip in the A Main put us on the slab.”
A smart approach and steady-as-she-goes attitude worked well for Pritchett all summer long.
“The biggest thing for me is just keeping everything consistent,” he explained. “I don't make a bunch of crazy changes to the car or anything like that. I just stick to minor tweaks, and let the car come to me. We're not always the fastest car, but we definitely keep it up there whenever we can. It's a challenge.”
Pritchett has been around our great sport his entire life. His exposure to the racing life started early on.
“I may have raced myself for 15 or 16 years, but I've been around the sport all of my life,” he said. “My uncle Duain started racing back in 1999 or so, and went on to win an IMCA Stock Car National title in 2003 or 2004. So I ran around with him and my Grandpa since I was knee-high to a Grasshopper.
“I learned a lot of old-school tricks; and I paid attention so I could learn some new tips, as well. I've put it all together and come up with some crazy ideas that seem to work most of the time. It's worked out.”
As mentioned earlier, the level of competition across North Texas is about as tough as it gets.
“There are a ton of teams with newer cars and way bigger budgets than mine up here,” Pritchett said. “I knew a long time ago, that if I wanted to compete against those guys, I needed to figure out the setups and beat them with handling. I'm not a big-buck racer, but I do understand how to make a car better.
“Whether you're at Rocket Raceway, RPM Speedway here in Crandall or off at KSP or Boyd, you'll have some very fast guys capable of winning. Our I-Stock division is loaded with strong cars, it looks like we're seeing a renewed interest in it this year. Everything has to come together just right to win.”
When Pritchett puts on his safety suit and gets ready to racer, he climbs into two very unique machines.
“I drive a home-built car in Factory Stock,” he explained. “I started building my own car in college; then it got put on the back burner when life came calling. So it sat collecting dust for a while, until I was in a position to dig it back out and get it finished. It's actually a pretty solid and reliable piece.
“As for the I-Stock, it's a 2010 Grumpy Chassis built out in New Mexico. I think he's still building a few here and there, but this is the only one I know of around here. It's well built and serves me well. I don't have two state-of-the-art race cars, but the ones I do have get me around the ovals pretty well.”
Along with his years of experience and unique race cars, Pritchett has great folks on his side.
“I want to thank the valued sponsors who stand behind me; including Arty and Sons Paint and Body; Inlaw Fabrication, Powdercoat Plus, Brad's Transmission, Stephenville Starter & Electric; CRS Suspension, Stan Hopkins Company Driveshaft and Differential; Lenamond Auto Supply, and CA's Auto Supply. Unfortunately, CA is no longer with us, but I still keep him on the car out of respect.”
With weekly racing pretty much in the books around the state, focus now turns to those Fall Specials.
“We'll probably be out there chasing some big trophies and checks this Fall somewhere,” Pritchett concluded. “I'm not sure to what extent exactly just yet, but we'll be at a few of them. Our season got kind of cut short this year; we haven't raced as much as we'd like to.
“I had my Twin boys arrive early on me; so I spent a week in the hospital with my wife before they came. Then I spent a long time in the hospital with my babies, so racing kind of got put on the back burner. The best part is, the kids are at home with their Mama and doing well. That makes me happy.”
By Phil Whipple, RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer
Photo by Stacy Kolar/Southern Sass Photography