Why I Love Grassroots Bracket Racing

Brandon -

Why I Love Grassroots Bracket Racing

Hey there #BracketLifer’s!

Its Brandon here, and I’m back this week to talk about why I love grassroots bracket racing.  As I mentioned in my first blog post, I grew up at the race track with my family and got behind the wheel of a junior dragster at a very young age – like I’m sure most of you reading this have. As a kid, growing up at the racetrack, for me, was such a different experience than what kids I was going to school with got to experience. Most of my heroes and/or idols that I looked up to weren’t on TV or in movies – but were a bunch of regular men and women who were great at my favorite sport. The real difference between my hero’s and those of my classmates were that they didn’t get to grow up becoming lifelong friends with their heroes/idols. 

In my childhood bedroom (at my parent’s house) there is a picture hanging on the wall that I got for my 3rd birthday. These pictures were cut-outs of my favorite racers, such as: Becky Ray, Butch Douglas, Al Ray, John Chatwood, my Uncle Steve and my grandpa (Jim Parkhurst), just to name a few. Now almost 22 years after being gifted this picture, I can confidently say that all of those racers – who were larger than life to me – are now my friends, mentors, and well – practically family. Everybody always said to never meet your idol because they typically aren’t as great as you make them out to be, but my idols have only ever exceeded my expectations. As I look at the next generation of bracket racers starting their racing journey, I hope I can be the ‘hero’ they’ll look up to one day and who will eventually become part of my racing family. 

So why do I love grass roots bracket racing so much? Because of the impact it has had on me – not only on the race track, but most importantly off the race track. Here are three reasons why: 

  1. It helps you to stay grounded. I have had the opportunity to travel to many ‘specialty’ race events with bracket racers who race maybe 2-3 times a year. You go from the land of Toterhomes and stacker trailers to low-budget racers who threw their race car together with whatever spare parts they could find to get it to the race track. For me, these grassroots bracket racers keep me grounded. When our racing lifestyle starts to become a little too overwhelming – from the long drives and busy schedule – watching people genuinely enjoy the sport and love even just being at the track in their race car – is a good reminder that we are all there for the exact same reason. Because we love bracket racing.
  2. Don’t judge a book by its cover. You can roll into the million-dollar race with the fastest and most expensive race car on the market, and a guy with an old station wagon, that he used to drive in high school, going 7.50’s in the 1/8 mile, will still come and eat you up. Don’t judge a book by its cover applies very much here, and I have learnt many valuable lessons and unorthodox methods from these grassroots drivers. 
  3. Most importantly, respect. Growing up in a grassroots racing program at Shannonville Motorsports Park, I still cut my teeth as a bracket racer sometimes. I constantly remind myself to never forget where I came from and to always treat everyone with respect, no matter what. I have travelled across North America to bracket race, and with my fair share of success at 24-years-old. But I would not be who I am today, or half the driver that I am, if I did not grow up to respect my peers, my equipment, and myself. 

Grass roots bracket racing has taught me so much both on and off the track. And as we continue to keep the sport of bracket racing alive, let’s not forget the power of what grassroots bracket racing has done for us racers.  I hope that one day, I’ll be able to leave behind these lessons for future bracket racers. 

Thanks so much for spending some time reading my blog post. Once again, be sure to check out our online BracketLife Brand store and grab some awesome BracketLife apparel. Stay tuned for some really, really, really big things coming soon from Rachel and I. 


Blue skies and green lights.

See you next time, 


Brandon Barker


  • Very well said Brandon, it’s definitely helped shape you into a true gentleman and amazing Bracket racer , there no doubt the next generation is paying attention to the examples your setting. I look forward to being around with you to see we’re this all goes.👊

    Mike Ogilvie
  • Brandon.
    Your family gave you the humility you possess and practice in life and racing you will go far young man.


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