LAND ‘O LAKES, Fla. – With the majority of a pandemic-shortened season under her belt, Florida short-track racer Brooke Storer is aiming to take the next step in her career.
After a healthy tenure at the grassroots level in her home state, Storer is targeting a move back into late models – and potentially into the ARCA Menards Series, as well – for 2021.
Storer told SPEED SPORT in a recent interview that she’s checked the boxes she wanted to check at the short-track level over the past few years and feels ready to make the jump onto a bigger stage.
“I feel like I have accomplished what I need to accomplish at the grassroots level and everywhere down here in Florida,” Storer said. “So myself and (marketing agency) Hype Motorsports, I’ve been working really hard over the past month since I signed with them to work on plans for next year between pro late models, super late models and ARCA. That’s definitely a big goal for us and it’s all headed in the right direction.
“I’m really hoping we can make an announcement here in the next month or so, but we’re optimistic about the future and I’m excited to see where it takes us.”
Storer, 22, has spent most of the year racing Sportsman cars in the Wheelman Racing Series. It’s a traveling series split between three Sunshine State short tracks – New Smyrna Speedway, Citrus County Speedway, and 417 Southern Speedway.
Storer has earned four poles and five wins in her last nine Wheelman Series appearances. It’s a stellar record, but one Storer feels could have been even stronger.
“It’s been a hectic year, but we’ve had a lot of fun in the process,” she noted. “Back around March, April and May, I think we had a total of six or seven races get canceled due to the pandemic. So that was really unfortunate. It cut our season down to roughly 12 Wheelman races and only about 20 shows total, which is a lot different compared to the past couple of years where we’ve raced 40 or 45 times. It’s definitely been a slower season, but we’ve still had a lot of success.
“This year has been interesting in a lot of ways and it’s hard to put into words, but it’s still been a very successful year, I feel like. The way we’ve been running, I think it would be even better had we been able to get some more races in. I can’t complain, though.”
Though the Sportsman class isn’t as well known outside of the state of Florida, Storer called it “very valuable” in terms of her development as a racer.
“Down here in Florida, the Wheelman series is a lot more popular than supers, and definitely a lot more popular than pros, because the pro late models really only race at Five Flags Speedway. But I would say there’s five, 10, or even 15 really good, local super late model drivers that have gotten rid of their supers to come run with us in the Wheelman Series,” Storer explained. “That’s just how popular the class is.
“They run the wedge (shaped) outlaw body, so it’s not the typical super late model body. A lot of the fans really enjoy the different style of cars,” she continued. “It’s still largely the same speeds, just on an eight-inch treaded tire, which is the big thing that’s different. You still have all the power and everything you have in a late model, but you’re on a lot smaller tire with a three-inch spoiler and a different body.
“It almost adds a little bit more difficulty to it; they’re definitely a lot more difficult to drive. I have experience in supers and pros at tracks all around South Florida, but this is definitely my favorite class that I’ve ever run. … It’s insane the way that the series and the class has picked up over the past few years over the supers and pros. It’s unbelievable.
“I’ve learned so much from it, but that next step up is calling and I’m ready for it.”
Storer has some past late model experience as a member of the 2019 NASCAR Drive for Diversity program, and it’s that track time she’s hoping to lean on as she prepares for her return to that level on a regular basis.
“I feel like I have enough experience in the late model-style cars that I’ll be able to hop back in and be just fine,” she said. “Last year I ran the late model stock. I ran pros, I ran a couple of super (late model) races and also ran the Wheelman Series. Being able to jump from one car to another and where they all drive totally different, I think, really helped me a lot,” Storer explained. “I was doing that every week. So I think that it will be like riding a bike and I’ll be fine once we get to it.
“I know we’re going to need a couple of test days, but I really look forward to all doing all that again in the late model style cars, and especially traveling,” she added. “Hopefully we can settle in again pretty quickly. Most of my late model experience was at Myrtle Beach (Speedway), South Boston (Speedway), Hickory (Motor Speedway) and places like that which were similar to some of the Florida tracks.
“I think next year, our plan is definitely to run the pros and supers at places like Five Flags, Montgomery (Motor Speedway) Nashville (Fairgrounds Speedway), and be able to experience those different types of race tracks aside from the ones that I’ve raced on a weekly basis up to now. If we can add in some ARCA races, I’ll really feel good about the direction we’re headed in.”