(TOLEDO, Ohio – April 8, 2014) — By Don Radebaugh, arcaracing.com – ARCA photo — All you have to do is look at Michigan’s Brandon Hermiller and you can see the resemblance to his uncle Tim Steele.
Beyond the resemblance though, the Coopersville, Michigan native is hoping to accomplish the one thing that his uncle Tim never did, and that’s to win a race at Toledo Speedway.
Hermiller, 21, will get his chance this Saturday when the 7-UP 150, a combined ARCA-CRA Super Series and ARCA Midwest Tour clash, meets on the lightning-fast Toledo half-mile for some high-speed late model drama.
“Tim is my mom’s brother,” said Hermiller. “When he (Tim Steele) was in his prime, not too many drivers did it better. He was just as sharp on the chassis side of things as he was the driving part.”
Steele won 41 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards races over his career and three national ARCA titles, but nary a victory at Toledo.
Hermiller is testing two ARCA-CRA cars Tuesday at Toledo in preparation for this Saturday’s big show. And it’s probably a good thing too, because just as Hermiller was heading out onto the track with his primary car, a fitting busted on his power steering pump.
“That’s one good thing about testing,” he said. “If that happens during the race, we’re in trouble. If it happens today, we can get it fixed.”
So that’s what they did – took the power steering pump off the back-up car and put it on the primary machine. Hermiller tested both cars Tuesday.
“The cars are good. We just need to work the bugs out, which is exactly how this day has played out. Today is really all about fine-tuning the car and knocking the rust off me.”
As fast as things happen at Toledo, the track is not exactly accommodating to rusty drivers.
“This track is so wicked fast; you’ve definitely got to be on your A-game. I’d say it’s one of the more difficult tracks to run. It’s so physically demanding. The force is so great through the corners.
“It’s also really mentally challenging, especially with the race being 150 laps. It’s more of a chess game where conversation and strategy play huge roles.”
Hermiller’s No. 6 HS Die-Visi Ford Fusion is a Port City Race Cars chassis with an Ernie Elliott-built motor inside. His grandmother Marsha Steele (Tim’s mom) is the car owner.
“I know our equipment is good enough to win this thing if we can just get our details in order. There’s going to be a lot of really tough people here, especially with both series coming; it’s definitely going to be a challenge.”
Hermiller works fulltime in the shop back home in Coopersville.
“Right now our plan is to hit up the bigger shows this year, the more prestigious shows, and the 7-UP 150 is definitely one of our biggest races. We’ll race some local stuff to fill in the gaps, but we’re going for more quality than quantity.”
The on-track action for the 7-UP 150 at Toledo Speedway starts Friday, April 11 with a practice session from 3:00 p.m. to 7:30. A complimentary dinner for Friday pit pass purchasers will follow in the Toledo Speedway Bar and Grille from 7:30-9:30. Dinner will guests will enjoy watching last year’s 7-UP 150 on the big screens leading into the live NASCAR Nationwide Series event from Darlington Raceway.
Saturday, raceday, starts with practice from 10 – 11:30 a.m. ahead of qualifying at 1. Last chance races are scheduled for 3 with an on-track autograph session following. Pre-race and driver introductions follow the autograph session, all leading into the late Saturday afternoon start for the 7-UP 150.
The 7-UP 150 is slated to start 30 cars, the 20 fastest qualifiers, six provisionals based on points and four from the last chance races. All on-track activities will feature Live Timing & Scoring at ToledoSpeedway.com.