Family tradition

Published 6:20 pm Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Charlie Bradberry has a passion for getting in a car and speeding. It’s not against the law, and it’s all he’s known since he was a little kid.

Bradberry races in the NASCAR Elite Division in the Kodak Southeast Series as well as the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, and so far in his career has known mainly success.

&uot;I have been around racing all my life,&uot; Bradberry said, &uot;and it is really all I have known since I was a little boy. I want to go as far as I can in my career, but if I don’t make it big in the Winston Cup Series (now the Nextel Cup Series), I won’t lose a wink of sleep. I can keep doing what I am doing, which I am having a ball with.&uot;

Bradberry should be having a ball. During his rookie season in 2001, Bradberry was named the series Rookie of the Year. In 2002, Bradberry led the point standings in the series for the first five races before what he calls &uot;falling off&uot; at the end of the season and finishing third.

So far this season, through four races, he finds himself at the top of the pile again. Bradberry holds a slim 10-point lead over Hueytown’s Jon Boy Wilkerson. Defending champion Jeff Fulch is in a close third, just 30 points back.

Bradberry claimed the biggest win of his career three weeks ago at the Harmon Memorial Sunbelt Rentals 125 at Nashville Superspeedway.

&uot;I owe everything to my family,&uot; Bradberry said. &uot;My dad has supported my racing just as he did with my brother, Gary. And Gary played a big part in this win because of his superspeedway experience. The car got stronger as the race progressed and I know it was the way Gary taught me how to roll into the corners, when to get back on the gas and come off the corners.&uot;

Gary Bradberry raced in NASCAR Winston Cup in 1995 and raced ARCA races at places like Talladega as a rookie in 1994.

Charlie followed up that win in Nashville with a fourth place finish at the Kentucky Speedway.

Bradberry competed in the Craftsman Truck Series this past Saturday in Martinsville, Va.

&uot;When we go to race in the truck series, it’s like taking a donkey to the Kentucky Derby,&uot; Bradberry said. &uot;But the team puts forth a complete effort. We try and do as well as we can.&uot;

Bradberry qualified 19th and after 30 laps was hit from behind and spun out. Bradberry regained his composure and the team walked away with a 16th place finish.

&uot;My main priority right now is competing in the Kodak series,&uot; Bradberry said. &uot;We go to 7 truck races during the year. That allows us to keep our rookie status in that series and get our name out there and get a little publicity as well.&uot;

Bradberry celebrates his 21st birthday Saturday, and he will be celebrating the only way he would like &045; behind the wheel of his racecar.

&uot;I hope I can celebrate my birthday in victory lane,&uot; Bradberry said.

Bradberry will travel to Owensboro, Kent. to race in an All-Pro series race on Saturday, then leave Tuesday headed to Ocala, Fla. to race Wednesday, July 2. From there, Bradberry will be back in Alabama to race in an All-Pro event in Huntsville.

This season, Bradberry has won two races and finished second twice. At the Opp Rattler 150 on March 1, Bradberry won but was disqualified after the race. His wins have come in Nashville and

at the Pensacola 150 Snowball Challenge. His second place finishes have come in Mobile and Birmingham.

At the second race in Birmingham, Bradberry started last and made his way through the field for a sixth place finish.

In the truck series, Bradberry has finished 16th last weekend and 26th in Martinsville on April 12. His next truck series race will be at Indianapolis Raceway Park in conjunction with the Brickyard 400 on Friday, August 1