This week I drove out to Acushnet, MA, the hometown of Mike and Emily Brightman. When I arrived they were mid project trying to get new fenders on Emily’s Pure Stock. As Emily was peeling away last year’s decals on the doors, Mike was fighting with the fenders trying to match them up with the rest of the car, but it wasn’t working out so well. He called his father, David, and brother, Nick, for help. While we waited for them to arrive I was able to ask Mike and Emily a few questions about their plans for this season and a little about their time in racing.
Mike, being a few races into the season how are you feeling about 2017 so far?
Mike: Better than I have for any season I have ever raced.
What are your goals for this year?
Mike: The head table in North Carolina…nothing less.
Emily: I want to get my first win.
Who is your biggest racing influence and how did you get your start in racing?
Mike: My dad, David Brightman, raced and I have been coming to the track since I was 2 or 3 years old. Emily has been coming since I think she was about 6 months old. I started in the Formula 4s.
Emily: My dad got me into racing; I started when I was 15 in the Pure Stock division on Friday nights.
Tell me about how your paint scheme and where your number comes from?
Mike: With the paint schemes it’s kind of like a family game night…we bounce ideas off each other. What do you think of this or that? I have always designed all of my own paint schemes even with this year being wrapped by Thirty Two Designs we went back and forth for about a month with ideas before we finally got it right. Last year Emily covered whole car with the yellow vinyl with a heat gun and then a hair dryer because the heat gun got too hot and was melting the vinyl. Then we took a design that we made stencils out of paper for and just cut it all out with a razor, because the body was the blue with the yellow decal over it the blue came through when we cut away the design.
Emily’s original car was black with the 27 on it, nothing really fancy. Last year we added the purple and I asked Emily if we could put checkers in the purple so she tried it and you would have never know we did the decals right in the driveway.
My cousin Scott Allen played semi-pro hockey and he was kind of my idol back then and he was number 7 and 17. When I first started the 7 was taken but he 17 was available so in the Formula 4s I was the number 17. When I moved into the trucks Archie Sherman was the 17 so I couldn’t have the 17 and the 7 was also taken. 28 which was my dad’s number was taken too so we went with the next available “7” which was the 27 and we just kept it because we had so much success with it.
Emily: I took the 27 because it is my dad’s number.
How would you describe your 2016 season?
Mike: It was kind of like waking up and it’s raining out and then it gets sunny right before you go to bed. Not a great start to the year then it got good for a little bit then the end was just as bad as the beginning.
Emily: It was a learning experience. I just got my license this past October so this year will be my first driving with my license.
Are there any sponsors that you would like to thank?
Mike: I would like to thank all of my sponsors for all of their support. Tri State Trucking, Mahoney’s Building Supply, Impact Collision Parts Inc., Breault Roofing, Lech Auto Body, E.M.I Energy Management International, Joseph’s Hair Design, Quality Fruitland, and D.B Fabrication.
Emily: SMR Recycling and Impact Collision Parts Inc., thank you for all of your help and support.
Is there any race that you would like to have a “do over” in? What would you do to make the outcome better?
Mike: The 2008 DAV. I would have won if it wasn’t for a half gallon of gas. We went out for hot laps and had forgotten to put the fuel cap on and they made us come in (the pits) because we were leaking fuel. We put the fuel cap on and went back out and if it wasn’t for the fuel we lost in those two hot laps we probably would have won. I would have liked to remember the fuel cap before going out for those hot laps. There are a lot of races we would like a “do over” in, but that is probably number 1.
Emily: My first race probably. I was just way off the pace. I think I got black flagged like 3 laps in. I just would have liked to have been faster.
What track, other than Seekonk, from any type of racing would you like to have the opportunity to compete at?
Mike: I would like to do something on dirt at Lebanon Valley.
What one word would you use to describe racing at Seekonk Speedway?
Mike: Controlled Chaos. I know that’s two words, but some nights you never know what is going to happen.
Emily: Rollercoaster. There are a lot of ups and downs along the way.
What is your favorite moment from all of your time involved in racing?
Mike: In 2005 when I won the Late Model Championship. That was the greatest night of my life next to getting married and having kids.
Emily: When my dad won the Phil’s Propane Triple Crown Championship in 2014. Just being there in the pits for everything and being able to celebrate with my dad and the team was something I won’t ever forget.
In just spending a short amount of time with them you can easily tell that this father-daughter duo has such an incredible bond. They are best friends and both work hard to help each other out at the track. Emily looks up to her dad, her hero, and her mentor for advice, guidance, and support to help, learn, and grow in racing. They are both each other’s number 1 fan.
You can catch Mike in his #27 Pro Stock every Saturday night and Emily in her #27 Pure Stock on Friday nights; I cannot wait to see what they have in store for us this season.