Longtime Southern National Motorsports Park competitor is hoping to pick up his first win in a decade in next Saturday night’s race, but the 29-year-old from Newton Grove has an even bigger personal victory coming next week.
Brandon Hobbs, a resident of Newton Grove, North Carolina, and his wife Kari are expecting their first child next week – a daughter. Their baby girl is expected to be delivered just a couple of days before the next race, which will be held on June 24th.
“It's an adventure,” Hobbs said. “I’m learning a lot every day. I don't know exactly what to expect.”
While Kari is expected to give birth before the race, Brandon already has plans to leave the track and head to Wilson, North Carolina to be with Kari for the birth of their child if it is to happen on race day.
“Wilson ain't too far away and we've got an ambulance there at the track and I can drive pretty quick,” Hobbs remarked. “If she's having contractions that morning, I'm not going to the racetrack. If I go to the track and don't get to race, that's fine. I'm going to play it by ear.”
While Hobbs wants to be at his wife’s side, he is also anxious to get back behind the wheel of his Late Model Stock Car at Southern National Motorsports Park. Next Saturday will be the first race at the track since May 27th and Hobbs is itching to go fast.
“Of course, I want to be there when she has the kid,” Hobbs stated. “I'm hoping she'll come a little early or on her due date, that's good too. I really want to race the 24th. I haven't got to run much this year, I've only got to race one weekend. Something's always a miss with the car.”
Despite working for his father, Ronnie, at Eddie’s Café in Newton Grove and racing, Brandon has already taken a lot of time to prepare for his new life as a father – setting up a room, moving pictures, painting and even thinking about spending time at the racetrack with his daughter.
“I've already been looking at Bandolero cars for her,” Hobbs joked. “She has more stuff than I have and she isn’t even born yet. We've been trying to get her room right, moving pictures, paint this.”
After all, racing is a family sport. Hobbs began racing at the age of nine in Go-Karts before moving up to stock cars at the Fayetteville Motor Speedway dirt track and, eventually, racing at Southern National.
“Dad bought me a dirt car and we went to Fayetteville,” Hobbs explained. “We ran half the season and they shut down the track, so we sold it and bought an asphalt car and put our dirt motor in it. We ran Super Street at Southern National. I was still in high school when I started racing there.”
Hobbs has two career wins at Southern National Motorsports Park, with his most recent win coming in a Limited Late Model race back in 2007.
“I haven't won a race since 2007,” Hobbs said. “I won two Limited Late Model races in 2007 and that's the last time I ran well. We wrecked that car and been chasing our tails ever since.”
In recent years, Hobbs has not been as active as he hoped to be. He had hoped to race for championships, but things just have not worked out on the track and the stars have not aligned in his favor.
“It's my desire to run every race at Southern National,” Hobbs commented. “I don't care about going to any other tracks. The last two years, I've had the same mindset, I'm going to run for the championship but it hasn't worked out for me. I'm going to keep trying and we'll get there sooner or later.”
That win could come soon. Hobbs has enlisted the help of Mike Darne. Darne is a former champion at the now-defunct Old Dominion Speedway and has won multiple Late Model Stock Car races at Southern National Motorsports Park. Now, Darne primarily works on cars for other drivers, and those cars have had a lot of success at Southern National. Jonathan Findley, driving a car prepare by Mike Darne, won the track championship in 2015 and Mason Diaz has scored four wins in 2017 with Darne calling the shots.
“Mike Darne has been working on my car,” Hobbs elaborated. “My dad has taken my cars to Mike's shop to get us better. Competing with Mason and Jonathan, odds are stacked against me. I just want to run well and have a good time. Top-three, top-five would be like a win for me. I'd love to win. You don't go to the track to get a top-10.
“We're going to get one sooner or later, it might not be this year but we'll keep at it until we get one.”
Brandon Hobbs will have two opportunities to score his first win in a decade on June 24th as the Late Model Stock Car division will run twin 40 lap features. In addition to the Late Models, the School’s Out 225 will feature racing for the Charger, Mini Stocks, Any Car, Legend and Bandolero divisions.
For more information about Southern National Motorsports Park, check out SNMP’s website at www.snmpark.com, “like” Southern National Motorsports Park on Facebook or “follow” @SNM_Park on Twitter.