Brandon Varney sits in victory lane at Oxford Plains Speedway after winning an Outlaw division race on June 29. Oriana Lovell photo

 

It didn’t take long into life for Brandon Varney to get hooked on racing. He was, he says, “pretty much destined” to race.

His parents met at a race track, and he attended his first race at Oxford Plains Speedway when he was just six days old. His grandfather, father, a pair of uncles and an aunt all have turned laps at the track.

“It was only a matter of time before I did as well,” said Varney, who lives in Auburn.

But Varney hasn’t just turned laps at Oxford, he’s turned fast ones, with wins following him to whatever race car he jumps into.

He started racing go karts when he was 8 years old, and he racked up 50 victories and five championships. It wasn’t until four years ago that the almost 22-year-old started racing in stock cars, but he has made up for lost time, already compiling 31 more wins and two championships with his fourth season at Oxford not yet over.

Nearly half of those wins (15) came in the six-cylinder Cruiser division of Oxford’s Wednesday night Acceleration Series races, nine in the four-cylinder Rebels, three each in Bandits (another four-cylinder division) and figure-8, and a couple weeks ago he got his first win in the eight-cylinder Acceleration Series Outlaw division.

For someone used to winning, and in different divisions, getting a victory so early in his first season in an eight-cylinder car was a surprise for Varney.

“The only goal for this season was to get one win,” Varney said. “Being a rookie in a class that I’ve never raced in before and to already achieve that is just amazing for our team.

“I am just happy we have been as fast as we have been this year with a brand new built car. All of our goals are met for the year already.”

Varney said he doesn’t think there has been much of an adjustment for him personally going from one car to another, with the muscle memory from all the laps he’s taken around the track allowing him to make the jump.

He proved his ability to drive various cars successfully last year when he won in three different divisions in the same night, a feat he said he believes makes him the first Oxford driver to do so. Former Oxford Plains public address announcer and Sun Journal sports writer and editor Kalle Oakes also couldn’t recall hearing about the feat ever being accomplished before Varney did.

Varney called it one of his favorite racing memories, but his time in the seat of his eight-cylinder Camaro — which his family team painted blue this year instead of the black that adorned his previous rides — is quickly becoming a favorite as well.

“I love it so much, moving up to an eight-cylinder. There is so much more power, you really need to be on top of your game to get them to go right,” Varney said. “I love the challenge and the reward of being in a full-size car.”

Just getting to the track every week and making it worth it has also been rewarding for Varney and his Varney Racing family team. The car gets worked on during the week at his parents’ Mechanic Falls home, and family and friends — some who double as sponsors and vice versa — pitch in as well.

“My family and crew are the best people in the pits that I can ask for, I’m just glad I can make them proud on the track,” Varney said.

Brandon thanked his dad Kevin (who also has spent time in the seats of race cars over the past couple years) for spearheading sponsorship efforts. The car is backed by dozens of smaller sponsors, as opposed to major sponsors that are seen on NASCAR rides and local touring series cars.

“Getting sponsorship at any level can be very difficult. We are blessed to have a lot of great people that help us every year,” Varney said. “As a team we all work very, very hard to acquire, keep and most importantly represent our sponsors as best as we can.”

While the sponsorship money all adds up — as does any prize money from wins — moving up in class gets increasingly more expensive. Though he’s proven successful at every step up he’s made, Varney said there may be a limit to how far he can go in his racing career.

“I’d love to move up to bigger and fast cars, but it is such a money-driven sport that moving up can be difficult for a small-time team like us. Unless we win the lottery or someone wants to put me in a car, street stocks is probably going to be our ceiling,” Varney said. “Either way, we will continue as a family doing what we love and see where that takes us.”


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