You have to wonder if, when Brett Simala was a young boy, was he the type of youngster who did exactly the opposite of what he was told to do?
Because that's been his mode of operation recently at Cocopah Speedway, and it's working out quite nicely for the driver in the Pro-Stock Division.
In eight feature event starts so far in the 2013 Cocopah Speedway Racing Series, Simala has won five times. And he's got a two-race winning streak going right now, which he attributes to doing what he's been told not to do.
“We've been trying changes we normally don't try. People tell us, ‘No, don't do that too much, don't do it,' and finally we said we need to start trying some more stuff,” said Simala. “So we tried some stuff that we've been wanting to try that everyone told us not to and it's made a big difference.”
After winning the first two feature events of the 2013 season in January, Simala won only once in his next four starts. But after making those don't-do changes following the April 6 racing program, he's back on track, winning again and putting more distance between himself and his nearest challenger at the top of the series standings, Mike Lerwill, from Lakeside, Calif.
Saturday night Simala will set out to make it a season-high three wins in a row when the racing series hits the track for Round 9. The program will feature all five racing divisions — IMCA Modified, IMCA Sport Mod, Pro-Stock, Street Stock and Factory Stock — with the first green flag flying at 7 p.m.
The program has also been designated Armed Forces Night, which will feature a color guard and include static displays.
“Brett is a very happy camper right now,” said Greg Burgess, Cocopah Speedway's director of operations. “And he should be. For whatever reason he's talking about, he's got his car dialed in, and he's figuring out how to adjust to the different racing surfaces. He is doing all the right things right now, and it shows when he's out on the track.”
After winning on May 4, Simala attributed his drive to the checkered flag to going even further with his car's setup than he did two weeks prior.
“My car was decent in the heat race but I knew I had a long ways to go, especially starting in the back (of the feature event). I knew you had to have a good car.
“And we did a lot with the car, went further than we've ever gone; and in other areas too. We did a lot of stuff tonight.
“We thought we had it figured out last year, but we're definitely getting it down this year.”
That spells out nothing but bad news for Simala's competition, especially after he drove from the back of the field during the May 4 event to take the win.
And Simala is not done pushing the envelope.
They say, ‘You've gone too far already, don't do that. I think you're getting all you can get out of the car. You'll have to change your driving or something,'” said Simala. “But we're not done. Not yet.”
Entering Saturday night's show, Simala is eight points ahead of Lerwill, and 29 points ahead of Yuma's Joe Haines in third place.
In the Factory Stock title chase, Yuma's Miles Morris is a comfortable 23 points ahead of his nearest challenger, Yuma's Jason Beshears. But the driver who is making the most noise in the division is Yuma's Jordan White, who has won a division-best five feature events in 2013.
On the Street Stock level, Brawley's Steven Daffern has pulled out to a 15-point lead over two-time champion Adolfo Noriega, of Yuma. Noriega, meanwhile, is only one point ahead of Alpine's Mike Harlan.
IMCA Sport Mod action saw the seven-race winning streak of Yuma's Ty Rogers come to a screeching halt on May 4, but it was only a blip on the point scale as Rogers still enjoys a 20-point lead over Yuma's James Dupre.
In the IMCA “A” Modified Division, Imperial's Steven McCollough became the sixth different driver to win a feature event in 2013 during the May 4 event.
The division point leader is Imperial's Lance Mari, at the moment. Mari and his Imperial Valley neighbor, Russell Allen, from Brawley, have been trading the lead over the last few races, with Mari currently two points ahead. Next in line is Yuma's Bobby Horton, a distant 26 points behind Mari.