When he made the move to the Pro 2 class for the 2019 season, Brandon Arthur brought a wealth of experience and success into the sport’s high profile division. Given his impressive résumé, Arthur anticipated having the opportunity to mix it up alongside the biggest names in the sport. However, an engine issue during the first night of racing put the HRT Motorsports effort behind the eight ball as they were forced to use a spare motor for the bulk of the championship. Moreover, the expected growing pains of being a rookie in the class saw Arthur fighting valiantly for every finish, experiencing the ups and downs that often come with short course off road.
Congratulations on capturing Rookie-of-the-Year honors in Pro 2. Talk about your 2019 season. How does it feel to earn such a prestigious award?
It’s great to earn Rookie-of-the-Year, but it’s also kind of a bummer. I felt like we struggled all year. Obviously, it was our rookie season and we were still learning, but we always want to come out and do the best we can. We did that, but it wasn’t quite the year that we would have liked to have. We landed on the podium I think only one time. So, the season was kind of a bummer, but we’re excited to have a decent start to the year and still be able to get the Rookie-of-the-Year title. That’s a big deal. In all, sitting back and looking at it, it went pretty well.
What was it like making the jump from Pro Lite to Pro 2? Both classes are really deep and really competitive. What was the key to your transition?
The jump was a lot bigger than I thought it was going to be. I thought the trucks were going to be a lot more similar. It’s just driving a truck, but a little bit bigger of a truck. But really, it was a lot different than we thought it was going to be. We kind of got to the point in Pro Lite where we weren’t enjoying it quite as much as we used to. We were so close to a championship a couple times, but we’d always have little things happen that take us out of championship contention. So, we just got to the point where we weren’t enjoying it as much as we wanted to and the jump to Pro 2 made us think we’d get back to where we’re enjoying it a lot more. We definitely did, but the move definitely added a lot more challenges and struggles in a lot of different scenarios than we were facing in Pro Lite.
What did you find to be the most challenging aspect of racing in Pro 2? What did you do to get better with each round as the season wore on?
I think the biggest thing is the competition is obviously higher. I mean, Pro Lite had a lot of competition as well, so it wasn’t that the competition got better per se, but the competition had more experience. I’m still now learning how to drive a Pro 2 and how much different they drive. The way they drive is a lot different than a Pro Lite was, and we’re still trying to figure that part out and still trying to get it to where I’m comfortable in the truck and know exactly what it’s going to do, and know how it’s going to react when we do certain things. We’re still at that point right now where we’ll still trying to figure things out.
How did it feel to break through and capture your first podium finish at Glen Helen in October?
It definitely was a stress reliever. It was a pretty hectic season. We started the season and hurt a motor right away, and had to go to a backup motor. We kind of struggled with that, and Glen Helen in October was when we finally got our main motor back. It was a relief knowing that we were down for the count in the beginning, but we were finally able to get the motor we wanted in the beginning, the one we wanted to run all year with, and were able to get that back in and run up front with those guys. It’s so good to know that we were making changes and kind of going in the right direction. Weren’t just stuck, seemingly, in the hole of being just outside the top five the whole time. It felt good to finally break through, and get up on the podium. To be able to thank all of your sponsors and all the people that support you.
You finished sixth in the final standings, and every single driver ahead of you are amongst the most experienced and successful drivers in Pro 2. Is that a confidence builder coming into 2020? Do you feel like you’re ready to take that next step to compete with those guys?
Yeah, it definitely helps. It’s hard because the year was just kind of a struggle, and looking at the points, you still want to reflect on every individual race. Try and think of things you could do better. It’s hard to look at that now because the races are gone and the season is over, but it definitely helps knowing everyone in front of you are guys that have been doing this for years and have experience in the class. It helps to know that we’re right there. We want to try and come out swinging in 2020 and hopefully be able to run up front with the front guys, and be in contention for a podium every race. Not have a bad race where you fall back, or every once in a while have a good race where you’re trying to contend for a podium. To try and be in contention for that podium at each round is something I think is going to be a big, leaping step forward for us this year.
With 2020 kicking off in just a matter of days, how has your preparation been going? What are your goals for this season?
Actually, this offseason has been a real struggle for us. We’re having a hard time trying to find funding for this year. I know a lot of people are. It definitely hurts, and it makes it hard to prepare for the season just knowing that you’re not going to have the funding that you want to have to be able to race a whole season. Our preparation is to just get the truck ready as much as possible. Try to keep as much time as we can off the parts that we need to try and make last all year. Unfortunately, we’re not coming in as prepared as we would like to be, but I know that we’re definitely going to make some changes to the truck that we’ve been wanting to do for a while. Those are going to be done. We’re going to have a better truck, but it’s going to be a little bit tougher of a year financially.
Who would you like to thank for all the support you receive?
I definitely got to give it up to my mom and dad. They’re the ones that have made this possible and they continue to support me in everything that I do. We do everything we can when they get home to get the truck ready for each individual race and for the start of the 2020 season. I definitely would not be able to do it without them. Cole, my right hand man at the shop. He does a lot of the work for us as well. More behind the scenes with getting the truck ready as well, but also making phone calls and doing emails, and trying to keep everyone in the loop that we can as a team. And, obviously, for 2019, Stronghold Motorsports and MAVTV for supporting us in earning Rookie-of-the-Year. Unfortunately, this year we’ll be parting ways with them as they’re returning to the series under their own canopy, which is great to have more cars coming back to the series. As of right now, we’re still looking to have that title sponsor to help us throughout this year. Toyo Tires has been with us for, I think five or six years now. They’ve been a big part of our program and they keep working with us while we try to get a tire figured out for Pro 2. We’re looking forward to the 2020 season and kicking it off at Glen Helen. I’m just excited to go back short course racing.
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