Brayton Haws' car will carry a tribute to his great uncle, a Vietnam Purple Heart recipient, at Southern National. (Haws family photo)
YOUNGSVILLE, NC - Since the CARS Tour began its season back in March, no driver has been hotter than Brayton Haws. The 15-year-old driver has won the last two CARS Late Model Stock Tour races at Hickory Motor Speedway and Orange County Speedway in North Carolina, and he still wants more.
"We feel that we can pull it off and keep the streak alive," Haws told Speed51.com powered by JEGS.
The "it" that he referred to is winning a third straight race this Saturday night in the Don't Tread on Me 250 presented by MMIA at Southern National Motorsports Park in Lucama, North Carolina. Considering the fact that Haws had never won two races in a row at any point in his career prior to now, three straight would be quite the accomplishment.
"I was really excited for two straight," Haws said. "But I really want three straight so hopefully I can prove people wrong and prove that we can run that strong all season."
SNMP may be one of the best places for Haws to be going to in an effort to extend his win streak. He's been victorious there once before, and he finished sixth there in the CARS Tour season-opener.
"We broke a valve spring in the motor early in that race," Haws said. "We were able to fix it and come back out in 36th. Throughout the rest of the race I was battling traffic. It was hard to save the tires but we made our way through the field and ended up sixth. We passed a bunch of cars that day."
Southern National also happens to be one of Haws' favorite race tracks. It's a fast, 4/10-mile oval and it has steep, 17-degree banking in the corners.
"That race track is probably one of the most fun race tracks I've raced at aside from Orange County and Martinsville," Haws said. "I never realized how much banking it had and how fast you can get on the throttle. I almost feel like the seat is going to fall through the floor."
When the CARS Tour season began at Southern National back in March it was Todd Gilliland who claimed the victory. When Haws won the Autumn Classic at SNMP in 2014 he had to beat Gilliland to do it, and this weekend it's almost expected that those two will be the guys to beat again.
"He's been really competitive all season and all the races are going to bring the best," said Haws. "Hopefully he and I can have a good race and maybe put on a race like Austin McDaniel and I did at Hickory. That was really fun and that would be a good show for the fans, too."
While obviously Haws wants another win and for his streak to continue, this weekend will be special no matter what as Haws and his Hawk McCall Motorsports team will be honoring a fallen soldier. Haws' No. 41 machine will have a decal across the top of the windshield honoring Sgt. Donald Clarkson, a Purple Heart recipient during the Vietnam War.
"There's a reason why I'm able to go to a race track every weekend, and it's because of the men and women who fight for us to have the freedom to do so," Haws said. "It's very special to have my great uncle, Sgt. Donald Clarkson's name on my car this weekend. Hopefully I can honor him and thank him for what he did for all of us by putting in a strong run on Saturday."
For more information on Brayton Haws, visit his website at www.braytonhaws.com or follow him on Twitter at @BraytonHaws.