Brian Rickman returns to action Saturday in the Mississippi State Challenge Championship Series set for Columbus. Photo by: Photo from Scott Ogelsby/Foto-1
June 27, 2014 10:59:49 AM
Anything can happen at "The Bullring."
As unpredictable as super late model racing can be at Columbus Motor Speedway, Brian Rickman is banking on years of experience at his hometown track to help him make a significant jump in the Mississippi State Challenge Championship Series, which returns to Columbus Saturday night.
Rickman is currently 55 points behind brother and Rickman Racing teammate, Rick, who leads the MSCCS standings. David Breazeale is nestled between the two in second, just five points out of the lead.
While Rickman has experience at each of the tracks on the MSCCS circuit, he's keen to make a make a dent in the 55-point deficit for the points title -- which could yield as much as $10,000 at the end of the season -- at the track where he "cut his teeth."
Rickman took the pole for the last race at Columbus on April 12, but finished fifth.
"Everyone in the series has gotten to the point where they can get around Columbus pretty well," Rickman said. "Everyone in the series has at least one win there. I don't think the advantage that the local guys have is what it used to be, but we still have a home advantage - that's where I started racing.
"It's our most dominate track."
Still, Rickman warns that "you never know" at Columbus, evidenced by his pole position in April and settling for a top 5 finish. That day, Breazeale won and Rick Rickman finished second.
"I already have one DNF this season, which really set me back," Rickman explained. "A track like Columbus can create on 'uh oh' moment, and next thing you know someone takes a bit of a slide in points while someone else moves up.
"Here lately, our luck has been pretty good."
Chipping away at a 55-point deficit will not only require multiple top 2 or top 3 finishes, but misfortune finding Breazeale and brother, Rick.
"The way they're running, it'll take a DNF or something like that in a couple of races to really have an impact in points," he said.
Brian Rickman is keenly aware of his older brother's prowess on the track. He calls him the more aggressive driver, whom he's been racing against since 1990.
Rick and Brian grew up under the tutelage of father Eddie, a former late model driver. The Rickman team include the trio, plus area driver Jeremy Shaw and Rick's son, Trey.
It's a team in every sense of the word, Brian said, as family members are often around the shop.
Then, there's Brian's crew chief Al Johnson, Eddie's former crew chief.
"He's been a tremendous help," he said of Johnson. "He's made it real easy on me, being the set-up guy for the car."
Johnson's experience has helped with the transition to a Bob Pierce Race Car from a MasterSbilt.
"This will be the third weekend in the Pierce car," he said, "and since then, we've been much faster."
Rickman is in his third season in the MSCCS and owns series finishes of third and fifth.