Seekonk Driver Scores 2nd Late Model Win of 2012 In CHR Ride
HOLLISTON, Mass. – Bill Bernard still gets chills when he thinks back to last Saturday night, when he scored his second win of the season in the 30-lap Late Model feature at Seekonk Speedway.
It was just the third career Late Model victory for the 60-year-old racer out of Holliston, Mass. – who only started racing in the division six years ago after many years of drag racing, road course programs and sporadic stock car racing.
“People were standing, yelling and cheering. That means a lot to me, to (crew chief Conrad ‘Joe’ Arbine) and to my whole crew. It means we’re doing what we’re setting out to do,” said Bernard, who had a new No. 47 Crazy Horse Racing chassis built over last winter. “I get goosebumps thinking about the other night. We don’t want to be remembered for what we did, we want to be remembered for who we are. As a couple of older guys, we wanted to be good role models and put our best foot forward every week.”
The No. 47 Cardiac Kids Toyota has roared through the second half of the season at the .333-mile Seekonk Speedway. Capped by the win Saturday night, Bernard has five straight Top-10 finishes in weekly competition at the track with four Top-5 finishes during that same stretch.
Bernard said the success is due in large part to Crazy Horse Racing, which provided both technical and product support in previous seasons with an ACT Late Model Tour race-winning car previously owned by Mark Hayward. Prior to the start of 2012, Bernard purchased a Crazy Horse Racing car from Dennis Spencer Jr. before having a new CHR car built over the winter.
That car won on opening day at Seekonk this season, snapping a nearly three-year winless drought for Bernard.
“We haven’t done anything different all season, except maybe come together as a team a little more and change our philosophy about tire management a little bit. But we really enjoy working with this car, and we enjoy getting to know it,” Bernard said.
“This whole season has been all about (Crazy Horse Racing) and the support we get from Mitch, Mickey and Judy Green. If I need something, it’s there a day later. We couldn’t be more pleased or happy with them as an organization. The product support, the technical support. You can’t find better people. You really can’t.”
Having experience with the old Mark Hayward car has paid dividends, too, Bernard said. It helped get the team up to speed with the characteristics of a CHR chassis. He’s hopeful it will continue to pay off in bigger events at the end of the season, including the DAV Memorial at Seekonk and Octoberfest at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H.
“It was instrumental in getting this car up to speed. What worked for Mark didn’t really work for me, because everybody has different driving styles,” Bernard said. “Having some basic knowledge on how Crazy Horse Racing cars work, it gave us an education on creating a baseline setup for (the new car). Of course, you pick up the phone and call Mickey or Mitch whenever you need anything, and they’ve always got suggestions on what we can do.
“Sometimes you get a little perplexed – the car’s loose on entry and tight off or whatever – and there’s several different approaches on how to fix the car. It’s nice knowing that they’re always there to help.”
Help is a staple of the Bernard’s team, a philosophy that he wants to work both ways.
“I don’t care who you are at the track,” Bernard said. “If you’ve got a Late Model, a Super Late Model, Truck, or Street Stock – if you’re in trouble and we can help you out, we’re there for you. We struggled really bad the first year we did this, and there were all these people that came and helped us out. We figured we’d do the same for others once we could.”
There’s no doubt in Bernard’s mind that the karma paid off over the weekend. Two weeks after he surrendered a big lead on the final lap of the Late Model feature on Aug. 11 thanks to what he coined a “Mark Martin Moment” – he misjudged the number of laps remaining – Bernard rebounded with a dominating night on Saturday.
Bernard was fastest in final practice, won his qualifying race and then won the feature by nearly a full second.
“There’s a guardian angel looking out for us right now,” he said. “We needed to prove something this last week. That was really driving the car this week – that determination. We’ve been fast all year, but we said that we needed to go out and solidify who we are and let everyone know that we’re here to be reckoned with.”