Bryan Sykes has been pretty successful in his life as a high school football player, a go kart racer, a special event driver and now in asphalt racing. He’s been racing the past few seasons at Bowman Gray Stadium in the Stadium Stock Division and had some great success in that division.
After driving his own car for a full season, he turned some heads and ran very consistent in the A Race, which features the guys higher up in points, he ran up front and almost gained that first win. After he acquired the former #11 Hilton Hill stadium stock, he racked up the top 5’s and & top 10’s and garnered 2 wins with the help and knowledge of his good friend Brandon Brendle who drove the former Hill car. That may not seem like may wins, but in a division filled with talent, it’s always great to get a win.
Bryan was on track to possibly win the 2016 Law Offices of John Barrow Stadium Stock Championship, but after a deadly wreck at the end of July, his hopes of winning the title were dashed. Sykes was devastated by the way his title run ended, but he didn’t let that get him down, he rebounded nicely after that and clicked off many top five runs. He still had a good chance to win the title on championship weekend, but with him starting in the rear and his championship foes starting towards the front, he couldn’t get to the front quick enough and pass them and had to settle with a 6th place finish and a strong 3rd in the final points standings.
So how do you follow up the success that he last season? Well instead of staying one more season and trying to beat A.J. Sanders, Billy Cameron Jr. and Chuck Wall, he decided, “After talking to my brother (in friendship) Bobo Brown, we decided we were going to take this season off and try to rebuild the stadium stock.”
This plan didn’t last too long, once his big brother Jeremy Warren got wind of Sykes plans, he “wasn’t wanting to hear that”. So he looked around for a car to buy and he didn’t have to go far as there was a race ready car almost literally in his backyard. Jeremy found out A.J. Quakenbush was selling his car and he quickly sprung up and went to A.J.’s garage and they took a look at it. After going over everything the brothers bought it.
The guys got the white car back to the shop and there wasn’t much to do as the car was almost ready to race, but the team went over the car to make sure everything was ok and wasn’t bent, it turns out the chassis was pretty much perfect. So after replacing some panels and the door skins, they brought in their other partner in crime Casey Kepley Jr. to set it up and get ready for practice. Normally when you ask drivers that’s transitioned from the 4 cylinders to the 8 cylinders, they’ll say it’s definitely different, you have to learn how to get used to the more horsepower. Sykes said, “The transition was pretty easy and I wished I could’ve moved up sooner.”
The biggest thing before you can race at Bowman Gray is picking a number and it was kind of a dilemma for Sykes as his brother was running the 97. So they decided between the 96 and 99, but Bryan didn’t like the sound of the 96 and his old high school number was 99, so he chose the 99. Where Bryan has been friends with former car #99 driver John McNeal, he called him up and told him “I’ve decided to run your old number 99.” John quickly and humorously said “Have fun and win some races”. So after telling his family and friends which number he decided on running, most of them said the same thing, “You have some big shoes to fill as that number has done a lot in that division.” The driver affectionately known as “B. Sykes” responded back in the most sneaky way possible “I’ve got some big feet, so I think I’ll be fine in that division.”
Sykes has been a family man who loves to hang out with his girlfriend and his children. If you ask Bryan he’ll admit “My life is my kids and my beautiful girlfriend and I wouldn’t be the man he is today if it wasn’t for Ashton being there to help me out and my kids by my side”. Speaking of family, Bryan has surrounded himself with the best crew, or as he calls them his family, in Jeremy Warren, Casey Kepley Jr., Billy Gregg, Bobo Brown, John McNeal and Brandon Brendle. This combo of wheelmen will bring their family to the track every Saturday this summer and will show the top drivers in the street stock division that they have to watch out and keep their heads on a swivel and show them how good this “new” guy in the #99 is.