JAIDEN REYNA GRABS PODIUM FINISH IN HIS FIRST FALL BRAWL AT HICKORY
Hickory, NC (November 14th, 2022) – For the last run of the 2022 racing season, there is nothing like running in the Fall Brawl at Hickory Motor Speedway. This year like any other offered some of the greatest competition in short track auto racing. Heading into the event, driver Jaiden Reyna and his crew had their sights focused on a strong finish. Yet at the start of the day, well it didn’t go as planned. “The rain and the heavy fog left the track really green, so we couldn’t get a solid gauge on the car right away,” Jaiden said. “We made a few laps at pace and knew we were close but also that we could be better. We made some adjustments for our second run but didn’t even get a lap in.” A lap cut short due to a tire failure. “When the right front blew going into 3 we nailed the wall pretty good. There were a lot of parts that needed to be replaced but the biggest problem was the upper control-arm that completely snapped. We didn’t have another one.” And this is where racing is one of the greatest sports in the country, even the world. “I have to thank the Sutton Family Race Team for stepping up and helping out by providing a welder.” Real sportsmanship in a truly competitive world. Jaiden continued, “Kres had to weld that back together. They had to bend the mounts back into place. The left side was jarred pretty good too so they had to rebuild that side. It took them over 2 hours to put it all back together.”
A real team effort got Jaiden out on track for qualifying. A car with a band-aid and a driver with little to no practice, the team had their driver feeling confident as he headed out on the race surface. “Considering the condition of the front end, my crew gave me a really solid piece. We were all pretty happy with that top-10 qualifying effort.” As nightfall landed upon them, the drivers of the 2022 Fall Brawl were ready to do battle on the famous speedway in one of the most iconic races of the season. With not many laps in, Jaiden seemed to have a level of confidence in his car and team as he sits 9th on the starting grid. “I was pretty comfortable with it. I trust Kres and everyone else so I wasn’t worried. I felt like as long as I stayed patient and out of trouble we would be there at the end.”
After the Green flew the fierce competition was battling it out with Jaiden finding his groove and not settling in. He was on the move and by lap 32 was gaining ground on the front of the field sitting in sixth. It wasn’t the low line or the high line, it was both that were taken advantage of by the 16 year old. “The top is great at Hickory so I knew I had different lanes to choose from,” he said. “This field was really stout. I like ripping the top because of the control you have on the car under you. The top can help if the car is not handling great but it’s always better when you can put the car anywhere you want. Kres’ equipment can do that.” As the halfway break came the team and driver had a chance to make some adjustments to the Ally Banking / HendrickCars.com KVR Chevrolet. “We struggled a little bit over the whole race with rotation through the center and drive off. They made some adjustments for that but the cautions slowed the process of the car coming in.
In the final laps as the front runners were beating and banging, Jaiden made a smart move to the outside putting himself in contention for the win. Was that just the right place at the right time or did he anticipate what was about to happen... “A little bit of both to be honest. I saw how hard the leaders were battling before that so I was pretty sure something was bound to happen. I kept my foot in it.” He continued, “I had the opportunity to thread the needle out of two on that Green, White, Checkers restart, but we just didn’t have the drive off to keep our nose in there. I wasn’t worried about anything happening behind me. At that point I was just focusing on execution for those last two laps.”
Final thoughts as Jaiden looks back on an amazing race, the Fall Brawl 2022. “We finally put a full race together. Not without incident but we recovered really well and I’m most proud of that. I would like to know what could’ve been if we had gotten to practice though.”
“I have to thank Kres VanDyke and the whole Driven for Development team, my spotter Ryan, Ally Banking and HendrickCars.com for making these eight races possible, and my mom and dad for always supporting me.”