Brougher's racing success a family affair
From a year of challenges in 2012 to a year of successes, Bullskin Township resident Jerod Brougher took home the 2013 championship trophy for the compact car division at Motordrome Speedway in Smithton.
The next move for the 26-year-old Brougher and his crew, which includes his wife, Tina, and his father, Duane, is to get the car ready in March or April for this season.
With NASCAR being his favorite sport as a child, it wasn't much of a surprise when he decided he would drive a racecar after watching an event at Motordrome. But it took a little longer to get there.
“I think my parents would have gotten me involved earlier as a kid, but we just didn't have the time and money,” Brougher said. “Racing is an expensive hobby, but I finally got my hands on a cheap ride in 2012 and things snowballed from there.”
That year, the dirt-track racecar he purchased was in rough shape, but he still ran a partial season at Motordrome.
“I think we had one top-five finish that season and no feature wins,” Brougher said. “We had a lot of problems, but looking back, that made it interesting and pushed us to be better.”
According to Tina, who is dubbed Crew Chief A, the team learned a lot from the 2012 season.
“We had wheels falling off, we ran out of gas (and) we had a radiator that blew,” she said. “It seemed like one thing after another, but we knew what to look for (in 2013).”
This past year, before each race, she said they constantly inspected the car — including gas and oil, water levels — and went over the entire car to make sure all was in working order.
Running a 1998 Dodge Neon that his father, dubbed Crew Chief B, said “stuck together pretty good,” they won their first race in the second week of the 2013 season.
“Our goal for this past season was just to win a darn race,” Jerod said. “Of course we wanted to win the championship, but that wasn't our goal. We never even dreamt that was possible.”
After the first win, Brougher said he still didn't get his hopes up for a championship run. It wasn't until after their second win that he knew it was a possibility.
“We had so much advice from other racers at the track last year, and some of it was great, but we threw a lot out the window and did our own thing,” he said. “We learned as we went and took notes. Obviously, it worked.”
Brougher and his team were completely surprised.
“We weren't expecting this at all,” he said. “I think we surprised everyone with how much we progressed over the past two seasons. My dad still can't believe we did it.”
“I'm so proud of that boy,” his father said. “To accomplish a championship in the second year you run — that's doing pretty good.”
The team also ended up 10th in the nation in NASCAR Division V.
This year, Brougher said he will more than likely run a limited schedule because his wife just gave birth. He plans to run about 10 races this year split among Motordrome, CNB Bank Raceway in Clearfield, and the newly reopened Jennerstown Speedway, just north of Somerset.
The team's season also depends on the number of sponsorships they get.
“Our 2013 sponsors have been great, giving us the opportunity to get some high-quality racing gear and making it financially possible to run good tires and have nice safety equipment,” Jerod Brougher said.
“If I can pick up a few more sponsors, I'll move into a higher division,” he added. “At the minimum, I'll keep my car from last season since it's still in great shape and run it whenever possible.”
Rachel Basinger is a freelance writer.