[media-credit name=”Photo Credit CGH Motorsports” align=”alignright” width=”246″][/media-credit]In spite of his difficult to pronounce moniker, up and coming 20 year old racer Chad Hackenbracht has been making a name for himself on and off the track.
Hackenbracht definitely made a name for himself on the track at Talladega by leading laps at the end of the race and pushing Brandon McReynolds, son of former crew chief and FOX broadcaster Larry McReynolds, to his first ARCA win.
The driver of the No. 58 Kindify Chevrolet Impala led 38 laps and was leading when the white flag flew. Unfortunately, Hackenbracht was a sitting duck at the front of the field and had to settle for a third place finish in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame 250 when all was said and done.
This was Hackenbracht’s fifth career top five finish and his best finish ever at a superspeedway.
“I knew we had a good chance at winning for sure,” Hackenbracht said. “But you don’t want to be in the lead at a superspeedway.”
“You’re a sitting duck with no friends at all,” Hackenbracht continued. “So, they got me on that last restart. I tried to back up to them but they wound up getting around me.”
While rivals on the track, Hackenbracht and McReynolds have been good friends off the track. And they planned on working together in the draft during their superspeedway competitions.
“Brandon and I talked about pushing each other since the tandem racing began at Daytona,” Hackenbracht said. “Ever since then, we tried to work together but never got the opportunity until the Talladega race.”
So, how has McReynolds paid Hackenbracht back for that winning push, which has brought great attention to both racers’ names, at Talladega?
“He hasn’t given me anything,” Hackenbracht said with a laugh. “He called me after the race and thanked me.”
“He said we could go get some lunch or dinner or hang out,” Hackenbracht continued. “He has thanked me a lot and really that’s all you can ask for.”
“Obviously with Brandon being Larry Mac’s son and me pushing him to the lead, we’ve both gotten a lot of exposure,” Hackenbracht said. “So, when they talk him, they’re also talking about me.”
“We’re getting some good press out of it for sure and hopefully making a name in the garage area.”
Hackenbracht certainly had mixed emotions after the ARCA race, even with his third place finish. Among those emotions were elation for his friend, sadness that he was not in Victory Lane, and a little bit of anger all at the same time.
“Right after the race, I was actually kind of upset because the 16 came up and damaged our car,” Hackenbracht said. “He decided to come up and block us after we were right next to him.”
“Third is good because it helps us go after the championship,” Hackenbracht, who is third in the ARCA point standings, continued. “You always want to be in Victory Lane but it will happen when it’s supposed to happen.”
Hackenbracht has also been making a name for himself off the track as well. The young driver was chosen to do the Hoosier tire test at several newly paved tracks, as well as fulfilling a great deal of sponsor and charitable appearances.
“We did the Hoosier tire test,” Hackenbracht said. “We were the only team that went up and tested the tires on the new surface.”
“We also did that a few weeks ago in Michigan, as well as at Pocono,” Hackenbracht continued. “Michigan was very similar to the old track as far as conditions.”
“It had a lot of grip and is a lot faster,” Hackenbracht said. “We were actually only two tenths off of the Cup speeds in the ARCA cars.”
“Pocono also looks great,” Hackenbracht continued. “I can’t complain about that at all. It’s smooth and fast too.”
Hackenbracht has become a bit of a rock star off the track as well, between all of his sponsor visits and charities.
“Before Talladega, we went to Fort Bragg and did a show car appearance,” Hackenbracht said. “I had never once been on a base before and I didn’t realize it was like a whole other town.”
“It was great to meet the troops and spend time with them.”
“That Thursday of Talladega, we went to Fort Rucker and it was so nice to meet people and get my name out there,” Hackenbracht continued. “Another thing that I’ve started to do is with the RAD (Race Against Drugs) program. They’re going to have a go kart thing where kids get to race against us ARCA racers.”
“At ‘Dega, as soon as I got out of the car after finishing the race, I rushed everybody out and went to the hauler, changed my clothes and went outside the track to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame to sign autographs for different kids with the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind,” Hackenbracht said. “That was fun to speak with a bunch of different kids.”
“It was hectic getting right out of the car but it was really fun.”
While Hackenbracht likes to go fast and finish well on the track, making a name for himself and causes he cares about off the track is something that is vitally important to the young driver.
“That’s one thing I really like to do is the off-track stuff, whether it’s autographs or just meeting people,” Hackenbracht said. “I love meeting new people and you never know where there connections will lead.”
Although it is early in the season, Hackenbracht has been enjoying making a name for himself on and off the track. And he just knows that his team will be the next ones in Victory Lane.
“We’re getting closer to finally closing the deal on the win,” Hackenbracht said. “It’s been a long time coming.”
“We’ve had dominant performances but bad luck or other problems have gotten in the way of the win,” Hackenbracht continued. “It’s definitely been a good season so far.”
“Hopefully we will continue to go in the right direction.”
I would like to see Hackenbracht in NASCAR AND Hoosier back in NASCAR, too, because I am curious to see an actual Short Track Tire in Short Track USA.