By JIM CLARKE
Action can get intense; almost aggressive, with racers fighting for every possible position. When the checkered flag waves, everything changes and teams get together to share a laugh or 2 and exchange stories about the night of racing. That’s the difference between hometown divisions and competition on the national stage.
Brockville’s Dylan Kirkland has been spending weekends with his motorsport’s family and friends since 2015 when his stock car racing career began in the local oval’s Mini Stock division. Before that, the 25-year-old cut his teeth in the go kart ranks. After clinching the 2017 track championship and recording a handful of main event victories with the 4-cylinder class, Kirkland acquired his first Sportsman car midway through the 2018 schedule and raced full-time – with a couple of feature wins – in Rookie Sportsman during 2019, before moving to the Sportsman-Modified class in 2020.
“Its fun to run weekly with such a great group of people…including my brother,” admitted Dylan Kirkland. “Here at Brockville, down the highway at Cornwall and even at most of the tracks across the border, the Sportsman-Modified division has some the best teams in the business and the talent pool seems to get deeper every year.”
Like many local competitors, Dylan Kirkland is also a racing fan. His KBR Motorsports ride carries No. 88 in tribute to his favourite driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. The Algonquin College graduate – who will be starting his 16th season in the sport when the 2021 schedule takes the green flag – works as a second-year diesel mechanic at J & L Truck and Trailer Maintenance in Brockville.
“Restrictions caused by COVID-19 caused the year to start late and meant we didn’t get to race as often as we’d hoped,” said the driver who hopes there will be a move to the DIRTcar Small Block Modifieds in his future plans. “On a positive note, the team was able to start the annual winter rebuild right after the Fall Nationals at Brockville, so I’m sure we’ll be ready to rock once things get rolling this year.”
Dylan Kirkland appreciates the help of marketing partners J & L Truck and Trailer Maintenance, KD Construction, King Edward Auto Parts, RM Racing Lubricants, Hodges Flooring, Rycon Electrical Contractor, L.A. Knapp Construction, Campbell’s Towing and Lasalle Shocks for their sponsorship support of the No. 88 program. Behind the scenes and at the track, the team’s equipment is prepared and maintained by the driver’s father Dale Kirkland, his mother Tammie Hurlbert, girlfriend Samm Stenvers and brother Josh Kirkland.