2012 was a season to remember for Shannon Brake at Speedway 660. The Quispamsis resident out-dueled Rick Cashol to win our Street Stock title. But now Shannon “The Cannon” has turned his focus to family and his four year old son - a champion in training. Wade Wilson recently had a Conversation with Shannon Brake.
Wade: Congratulations on winning the 2012 street stock championship. How do you feel about that accomplishment now that you’ve had all winter to let it sink in?
Shannon: Personally speaking, it feels fantastic to have won it all, working beside my two great friends, Charlie Raynes and Kelly Bassett. They stuck with me for five years to help get us to the top of the toughest racing division in the Maritimes. But we never could have won that championship without the support of the great fans in the stands at Speedway 660. They cheered us on and gave us lots of encouragement all the way through our 2012 championship run. Last year, we spent four nights every week working on little things on the car to make it better and stay ahead of the game to give the fans what they wanted…a new Champion! We did it for the fans and it was their support that motivated us to turning wrenches into the wee hours of the morning so many times last year.
Wade: You had what some folks might call a bitter battle with Rick Cashol in 2012. You guys went toe-to-toe all season long and the championship wasn’t decided until the last point race. How intense was that rivalry and what did it mean to beat out a five time champion?
Shannon: Believe it or not we didn’t really concentrate on Rick Cashol last season. We only focused on what we could control week in, week out. When it came to the 54 car, we just decided not to let another season go by being on the receiving end of a brake-check or bump-and-run coming out of turn two. And when our team mentality switched from being the hunted to becoming the hunter, good things just started to happen for us. Our 660 mission statement was: “Just Stay Aggressive.” And that mantra paid off.
Wade: All that’s behind us now and the 2013 season is almost here. What are your plans for the future?
Shannon: After last season our team met and decided our focus should be on our families for the next few years. So I won’t be running full time this year. But I hope to get back in a car when my son Preston is old enough to get behind the wheel of a go-kart or Bandolero. But right now my wife Kelly and I want to be able to spend more time with our boy, teaching him right from wrong and fostering a competitive attitude within him. To me it’s all about winning with respect. It’s more important to make friends than enemies. It’s all about growing your inner circle. And it’s all about family.
Wade: Family is important and racing is recognized as the ultimate family sport.
Shannon: Coming from another province, and not having an immediate family here, I’ve made a lot of close friends at 660. And I consider a lot of them family now. I want to thank Speedway 660 for breeding that kind of atmosphere for Saturday night racing. In a few years, I look forward to returning to the track and making racing a family affair for us for years to come. And you can rest assured, when we get back behind a wheel, we’ll be an immediate contender. In the mean time, if anyone needs a pinch-hitter driver for Street Stock or Sportsman, you may see a cameo appearance.
Wade: From what I hear there may be a bit of a resurgence in the street stock division. We expect some 4 cylinder and Bandolero drivers to move up. That should make for interesting competition.
Shannon: I’m glad to see so many great drivers moving up. As a matter of fact, fans will see our 2012 Cannon Security championship car on the track. Four cylinder champ Luc McLaughlin just bought it and is anxious to show what he can do in street stock. This resurgence in street stock racing is long overdue. I think this year will be a dog fight for sure, and we may see more cautions with so many more cars in the mix. This will make for great racing at 660 for the fans and I would not be surprised to see another new face atop the standings at the end of 2013. My personal favorites this year are the 29 of the McKeen family, Slocum in his 15 and you should look out for Heidi Ness in the 1 car for sure. Oh yeah, and I’ll likely be cheering for Luc too. My advice to all the competitors in the Street Stock division is to Just Stay Aggressive.
Wade: Speedway 660 has new owners. As a driver do you have any advice or words of wisdom for them?
Shannon: Wade, we both know I’m pretty opinionated about equality among drivers and fair play. I think Chris and Steve did a great job with what they had to work with. Going forward the only real improvement I can see is the installation of a HD camera system, integrated to help officials make the right call out there on the track. It’s not easy to govern a bunch of wanna be pro race drivers. Instant replay would really help that out. I think Cannon Security may be able to help with that.
Wade: Let’s talk about the future. Do you have any thoughts or plans about moving up to Sportsman or perhaps even Pro Stock someday?
Shannon: When we come back, we’ll most likely be behind the wheel of a Sportsman car. But I’d be just as happy returning to the street stock division when the time is right. You never know… this summer when dad stops bringing home these little “Piston Cups” to his boy… perhaps I’ll be ordered back into a car before the end of this year.
Wade: I know the Speedway 660 fans will be disappointed to find out you won’t be defending your street stock championship.
Shannon: We were really looking forward to fighting along with them this year too. We will be there this summer helping out in the pits. But the fact remains, family comes first and when I can integrate my immediate family with my 660 family, we’ll be back at it with bells on. Thank you Wade for devoting such a big part of your life to racing and representing Speedway 660 with professionalism.