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Doug Pace: Friends, cohorts remember Braton

Doyle Braton would be proud of the work his cohorts in the Northwest Modified Association have accomplished in 2009. With Richard Mucciaccio at the helm, car counts are up and fan enthusiasm is high as the series heads into this weekend’s event that honors Braton’s work and driving career over nearly five decades of Modified racing.

Mucciaccio returned to the leadership role of the series this year with hopes of increasing interest and honoring the traditions of modified racing in the region – something happening on a weekly basis heading into the 93-lap main event that honors Braton and highlights Stateline Speedway’s Saturday night schedule.

Braton “never missed a day of racing in his life,” according to Mucciaccio.

“Right up to the time he passed away two years ago, he was always at the races and always wanting the modifieds to be successful. He and Gary Miller (the series’ other memorial race honoree) put a lot into this series and it’s an honor to see it getting back on its feet as we head into the race that highlights Doyle’s contributions.”

The event is a competition, but it also honors the spirit of Braton.

“Doyle won the Sportsman of the Year award on this series so many times I can’t even count,” Mucciaccio said. “When a guy needed some kind of help or even a way to get to the track, Doyle was there and to see our car count up heading into the weekend (where a minimum of 16 cars are expected) is a testament to his spirit more then the work I have put into this season.”

Joe Doellefeld had the idea for the race. The series is grateful for his efforts to honor Braton, including displaying the No. 93 that Braton drove on the center stage at Stateline Speedway.

“Joe really wanted to do this because Doyle meant so much to the series and to Stateline,” Mucciaccio said. “(Doellefeld) came up with the idea to run the race to lap 93, Doyle’s car number, as a way to let everyone know we’re always thinking about what he meant to all of us and I think that is pretty neat.”

Modified race fans circle the Gary Miller Memorial and the Doyle Braton Memorial as events to catch for Inland Empire open-wheel racing.

Blaine Sneva is the defending Doyle Braton Memorial champion and is back to defend that title this weekend. Tim Sawyer is locked in a tight points race for the 2009 championship with Chris Ochs (the drivers are separated by 17 markers), so even casual race fans can enjoy the Braton Memorial modified action, according to the series director.

“This is the race to see,” Mucciaccio said. “With Doyle’s family out there to honor him during opening ceremonies, guys like Jeff Bird returning to racing and running in our series, and, of course, Sawyer and Ochs going at it for the championship, this weekend’s race at Stateline is going to be the place to watch the series if someone was thinking of checking us out for the first time.”

Follow Doug Pace’s blog for area racing news at blogs/keepingpace

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