NWAAS: Mike, Daughter Emily Brightman Chasing Seekonk Success in 2015

Kyle Souza Featured, Northeast, Touring Series 1 Comment

ACUSHNET, Mass.  — Story by Race Chaser Online New England Correspondent Kyle Souza — Seekonk Speedway photo —

Most times when fans look around the grandstands at their local short track, the stands are filled with the family members of the drivers that are competing on the track.

The Brightman family, proud supporters of Seekonk Speedway Pro Stock driver Mike Brightman, are always around the Speedway in their red and white t-shirts — screaming as loud as anyone in the facility.

Brightman’s story begins back in 2005. Brightman was in competition in Seekonk’s Late Model division, cutting through traffic and putting up some moves that fans today say they don’t forget. That season, long-time track competitor Vinnie Annarummo picked up the Pro Stock crown by doing much of the same on the track.

Brightman found himself hoisting the Late Model championship that season, sitting beside Vinny at the head table come the January banquet.

Brightman moved himself into the Pro Stock ranks in 2006, collecting Rookie of the Year Honors in his first season. From 2006 to 2008 Brightman struggled at points here and there, but in 2009 things seemed to pick up quickly.  He finished in the top five numerous times and was one of the favorites at the start of the feature every single week.

His progression continued to show from 2010-2013, coming close to the championship a few times and winning races along the way. His most memorable year, however, was the recently concluded 2014 season. Even though some of the finishes along the way did not show it, Brightman was a top five car every time he unloaded from the truck.

His season was capped off with a top five in the point standings, even though he missed the final regular season race of the season.  Brightman was battling illness that required him to step out of the car, allowing former track front-runner Dave Bergman to jump in for competition. During practice that day, Brightman said that it was killing him to see his car out on the track without him behind the wheel.

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This season, the Brightman family will have another driver to be cheering on in HER travels around the famed oval.

Mike’s younger daughter, Emily, will be competing as part of the Pure Stock division on Fast Fridays in her rookie season in 2015.

“I am really excited to finally know what it feels like to be behind the wheel and be able to learn everything,” Emily told Race Chaser Online. “Racing has always been a big part of my life. My dad has been the best father you could ever ask for. I have been wanting to race for a while and he has been working his butt off to make it happen.”

“I honestly wouldn’t be anywhere with out him. And I know for sure that he will be there for me my whole racing career. And I hope I can be half the driver he is. I’m really looking forward to being the third generation driver [in our family].”

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Emily got behind the wheel in her driveway last week.
(Brightman family photo)

For Mike, having his daughter behind the wheel is a family dream come true.

“Emily has changed me since the day she was born. I used to be hot headed, (even more than now) – but the older my kids get the more I want to try and raise the bar for what they expect “a man” to be. I am blessed with four daughters and nobody is ever going to be good enough for any of them,” Brightman told Race Chaser Online.

Emily will be competing on her first Friday night race on Friday, May 30 as part of the Fast Friday kick-off at Seekonk.

“Emily is a ridiculously smart kid, loves racing and everything it has to offer – the ups and the down. She has a super car-that we bought from Tim Johnson at Propane Plus — Tim is a really great guy and the sport needs more guys like him and Phil from Phil’s Propane.”

Young Brightman still can not legally even drive on the streets.

“We will probably rent the track to get her feet wet — it will be her first time driving. She is only 15 and does not have her permit yet,” Mike said.

“Saying that I am proud of her would be an understatement. She is an honor roll student with a passion for racing — you do not find that too often. Not too many dads get to spend time with their 15 year old daughters — mine can not spend enough time with me!”

Not only will Mike be watching his daughter drive, he will also return to the driver’s seat in the track’s premier division, the Pro Stocks.

“I am most looking forward to building on what we started last year and getting to watch my daughter race,” he said. “Our team hasn’t had much time to grow this offseason. We kinda just took a deep breath and enjoyed the offseason until the snow kept hitting us and then we spent time making snow piles grow.”

“We are going to be tight at the moment with no financial support at all. Basically being forced to try and run a season off of a fundraiser and whatever winnings we get. We have about a dozen proposals out there and we are just waiting on confirmations. Never have I been this close to starting a season without a penny in sponsorship.”

Brightman finished third in the point standings in 2015 — even after missing the final race of the season.

“My expectation is simple — keep it fun and cherish the time spent with my family and friends and of course winning races always makes that easier.”

With Brightman’s daughter now driving, he shed some light on the possibility of this being the final season for him behind the wheel.

“This could very well be the farewell tour for me. I enjoy watching my kids participate in anything way more than I will ever enjoy anything I do — so if she takes to this- I’ll gladly hang up my helmet and become a has been crew chief!”

Visit www.seekonkspeedway.com for the track’s 2015 schedule of events.

Comments 1

  1. Hey Mike, I also bought a car from Tim, the #4 for my 16 yr old son, interested in track time, rental, maybe we could work something out when your daughter runs

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