Bryan Fortner won races in five different cars last year. Photo by: David Miller/Special to the Dispatch
April 12, 2019 2:59:20 AM
BY DAVID MILLER
Special to The Dispatch
In the wake of the announcement Wednesday that this weekend's Golden Egg Spring Nationals had been postponed due to rain, there wasn't a more disappointed racer than Bryan Fortner.
Fortner, the Street Stocks driver who piloted the No. 99 to an improbable last-lap victory in last year's race, was eager for an encore at Magnolia Motor Speedway. As of Wednesday, he was still waiting on a car to be delivered and was set for Thursday's practice, the first of three days of action at the track that would host two days of features and a $5,000-to-win Street Stocks feature on Saturday night.
Now, Fortner and other drivers will wait until April 25-27, per Magnolia owner Johnny Stokes. The weather forecast includes at least a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms tonight through Sunday.
"When that race comes up, especially after how it played out last year, really and truly, I was amazed that I got a chance to win it," Fortner said. "Now that we're sitting here having to wait another couple of weeks ... there's a lot going on in my head."
Magnolia has now had four race weekends that have either been postponed or cancelled due to rain.
"We've had over five inches of rain in the past seven days at the track, and with more forecasted for this weekend there's no way that we could have the track in good shape," Stokes said via a release. "In addition, Saturday's weather looks really bad, and I don't want a lot of racers and fans making the trip down here for this event, and then having to spend more money to come back again at a later date for just the final night. We'll hope for much better weather on April 25-27."
Springtime can be a frustrating season for both racers and promoters, as wet weather is a bugaboo across the state and region. Fortner praised Stokes for "putting his neck out on the line" in making the call to postpone the race, despite the chance that the forecast could clear.
"I don't want to see [Stokes] lose any money," Fortner said. "If he puts on a race and takes a big loss, there may come a chance when he can't do it next year. We definitely don't need to take a chance on something."
When the Golden Egg Spring Nationals do finally take place, it will mark Fortner's first race at Magnolia this season. Conversely, he had a pair of runner-up finishes heading into last year's Golden Egg feature. In seven races in 2019, his best finish is seventh at the Battle of the States at Whynot Motorsports Park in late March.
Fortner has driven two different cars this season, including the Tony Jackson chassis he drove at Columbus Speedway and Whynot. Prior to that, he built and drove a RaceTek car in races at East Alabama and Talladega, leading in each race before selling it.
He says he's still "feeling out" his TJR chassis.
He was set to drive a different car this weekend -- for Jerry Fletcher, of Boaz, Alabama - and confirmed he will drive Fletcher's No. 007 car in two weeks.
Fortner doesn't see his musical chairs of race cars as a hurdle; he won races in five different chassis in 2018. Fortner said driving a new car increases his focus and allows him to get the most out of a car.
"People ask me about that all the time," Fortner said. "To some, it may be difficult, but it's better for me to get in something I've never sit in; I've found myself winning in cars I've never sat down in. You get a car and you get comfy in it, but you forget to feel the car -- you know what it's going to do when you make a lap. In a new car, you pay attention to how it's going to enter, center and come off the corner."
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