Bradley McCaskill is a name that in Eastern North Carolina has been synonymous with two things, bad ass design skills through his budding business Grafix Unlimited, and has been one of the top Late Model Stock Car racers in the region for several years with a CARS Tour victory and a Southern National Motorsports track championship to his credit.
McCaskill is still growing his decal business but his hobby is changing and this weekend at Fayetteville Motor Speedway in Fayetteville, NC, he’ll strap in a UMP Modified and tackle racing on dirt for the first time. McCaskill says he doesn’t usually do anything for a long period of time and he had outlived the time he wanted to spend in a Late Model on asphalt.
“I was just ready to do something different,” McCaskill said. “Me and the girls went to County Line (Raceway) a few months ago and had an absolute blast just watching the races there. It looked like a lot of fun.”
McCaskill said his daughters are a big part of the reason that he wanted to make a change as asphalt racing had become too testing and time-dependent.
“The girls are growing up and asphalt racing takes a lot of time at the track, where I’m away from them. From everything, I’ve seen and been told dirt racing is a lot less time at the track. Just from the testing, you know there’s a lot less testing in dirt racing because the track you’re on that day won’t be exactly the same as it is when you race.”
McCaskill says with asphalt racing you have to test and you have to spend a lot more time at the track. He also says that it takes being near perfect to win on asphalt.
“Asphalt racing, I hate to say it is where you have to have everything right and you can’t make a mistake. What you practice on with dirt isn’t what you’ll race on and that takes a lot of the time out of the equation.”
McCaskill also feels as if money plays a lesser role in dirt racing especially at the UMP Modified level he’ll be racing in.
“There are guys with $60,000 rollers in this deal too, I’ve seen them but there are also guys who have $5,000 rollers. You can see the guys with $5,000 cars going out there and getting their stuff right and winning races. That isn’t going to happen on asphalt now and there’s not much you can do about it with the technology in racing.”
McCaskill says that his departure from asphalt racing was just a timing thing and says that the way this past year played out might have played a role.
“Me and Ronald (Renfrow his car owner in Late Model Stock Cars) are good, we’re still friends,” McCaskill explained. “I was ready to do something different and I talked to him and he was very supportive. He’s still going to do some racing and we’re still going to help each other out. I had just been doing Late Models too long.”
McCaskill and his family-owned team backed by his mom and dad are entering the world of dirt racing but not at the top level like he has been on in asphalt for the last several years. The UMP Modifieds are a step down from the Late Models but McCaskill says he feels comfortable starting on the ladder and working his way up.
“The Late Model world on dirt is extremely competitive, I figured with the way the rules are with the Modifieds, that I could only screw up one end of the car with setup,” McCaskill laughed. “The Modified class also gives us the ability to race just about anywhere. We could race a lot of places on any given weekend and that’s going to be the fun part.”
McCaskill’s first race this weekend at Fayetteville wasn’t some grand plan, he says he just saw they were racing and figured it was as good of a time as any to go. He tested Wednesday night and said that while he had a good test, he has zero expectations going into the race on Saturday night.
“We’ve got high hopes after a good test last night but we’re going into this with zero expectations. That’s the best part about it, I’m just hoping we learn some stuff and we don’t ruin anyone else’s day. This racing stuff cost a lot of money and right now we’re just going to learn and see what happens.”
McCaskill says that despite his racing background, there isn’t a lot he can take from asphalt to dirt other than the car has four tires and a steering wheel.
“Everything is different,” McCaskill explained. “Getting out of the pits is different. The different clutch and transmissions and everything is a different beast. Dirt seems to be more forgiving, where asphalt is super line sensitive and precise. The dirt car takes more car control but it’s easier to make up for a small mistake.”
He says racing on dirt is fun and a lot like racing a Super Late Model on asphalt. However, from a cost comparison, he says it’s a lot like a true Limited Late Model program where you race on scuff tires.
“It’s all about making yourself and your car work for the track conditions. I’m looking to have a boatload of fun and just doing this as a family. We’re taking it seriously but we’re doing this to have fun.”