Traverse City, MI (Wednesday, January 18, 2023) - A surprising move was announced on the latest episode of Horsepower Happenings with Zach Hiser and Rich Frantz. In an interview with multi-time DIRTcar UMP Late Model Champion, Brandon Thirlby, it was revealed that Thirlby would not be returning to drive for his family-owned team in 2023, but rather be joining forces with another familiar name in Late Model Racing - Dave and Jody Bowen and their DFB Racing.
The indication that change was on the horizon came when Thirlby posted to his personal Facebook Page a picture of a black, red, and silver no. 69 with “Thirlby” placed directly under the number plate. Quickly, speculation began on the social media site, but no true answer had been given until Monday night.
“We’ll be racing for Dave Bowen and Jody Bowen,” explained Thirlby. “Basically the deal is, we’ll have the two cars and when the stars align and I don’t screw anything up, I’ll run one car all weekend, give it back to Dave… and that one that’s fresh in Dave’s trailer I’ll load up and run the following weekend, and we’ll keep swapping them out,” he explained.
Thirlby says time played a huge role in taking the opportunity to race for the Bowens. With just two wins last season in over 30 races, Thirlby says given the time he was able to put into his race team, he’s happy with those results. He says his involvement with Thirlby Automotive has continued to grow, pulling him away from the shop.
“I’ve dreamed about a setup like this,” Thirlby exclaimed. “There’s not too many people who see Colin [Thirlby] or myself roll into the race track with these big haulers and good equipment and want to give us a shot, because why would ya,” Thirlby remarked. “But this is something I’ve dreamed of.”
Thirlby says the teams will essentially become combined, with team members from Brandon Thirbly Racing teaming up with DFB Racing crew. Along with Thirlby, DFB Racing will also field a car for, McBain, Michigan’s Bobby Timmer. Thirlby will be behind the wheel of a Mastersbuilt chassis, one chassis featuring his traditional ProPower Engine under the hood.
As for the number, it all comes down to marketing. Thirlby says the team had several discussions about what number they would run, whether it be Thirlby’s traditional no.M14, Bowen’s traditional no.33, or something different.
“I don’t know, it’s more of a marketing ploy than anything,” Thirlby laughed. We sold a hell of a lot of t-shirts last year and everyone has an M14 so hopefully this year, we’ll sell a bunch of [number] 69 shirts,” he explained.
Thirlby says his tenure with DFB Racing will begin at the end of February in Fort Payne, AL. Indications are that he’ll compete in the 5th Annual Bama Brawl with the Valvoline Iron Man Late Model Series, February 23-25 featuring $5,000 to win. To hear more about Thirlby’s move to join Dave and Jody Bowen, find the latest episode of Horsepower Happenings at www.HorsepowerHappenings.com/podcast. Also, be sure to follow Horsepower Happenings on Facebook and Instagram.