Armed with just a cell phone camera from the bleachers, Brandon Simmons started filming races at the Wiscasset Speedway during the 2012 season. Inspired by racing videos he saw on YouTube, Simmons created his own channel to post videos.
“I just went as a fan in the stands” Simmons said. “I wanted to support the sport and help keep it alive.”
Posting the raw footage he captured on his YouTube channel, Simmons attracted the attention of Ken Minott, announcer and promoter of Wiscasset Speedway.
“At the end of 2013, Ken came to me and asked if I would like to be hired as videographer for the track,” Simmons said.
For Simmons there was no decision to be made. He joined the team without hesitation, starting with the 2014 season, shooting footage races and practice runs.
“By then I had purchased a Sony handheld camera and the videos started taking off like wildfire online,” Simmons said. “Now I have drivers coming to me asking if I was able to get footage of their races.”
These interactions fed Simmons’ passion for filming. His goal is to capture moments from perspectives unseen by the drivers and spectators.
“The camera doesn’t blink,” Simmons said. “You never know what the camera is going to get that you didn’t see.”
Simmons’ duties at Wiscasset Speedway have increased this year to include driver interviews. An hour before the green flag is waved Simmons will film promoter Nick Hoff as he interviews drivers participating in races set to begin moments later.
“We will do three to five interviews but we will only run a few before the race,” Simmons said. “The rest are posted on YouTube after the event.”
Requests for Simmons services started to increase with his video’s popularity. In 2013 Mainely Motorsports TV hired Simmons to film races taking place across the state of Maine.
“I have filmed at Oxford, Speedway 95, Unity Raceway,” Simmons said. “I would shoot footage and send it to them for their TV show.”
WPME would broadcast Mainely Motorsport TV’s program once a week before Mainely Motorsport had to end production in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Currently, Simmons continues to film for the Wiscasset Speedway and is employed by Lincoln County’s local access television station, LCTV, where he films, edits, and produces an hour-long show that airs on Fridays.
“I take footage from last week’s races at the speedway, edit them on my laptop and send it in on Wednesday,” Simmons said.
Looking to expand his filming experience Simmons started filming other events for LCTV. Last winter he filmed home games for Lincoln Academy’s boy’s varsity basketball team, as well as Lincoln Academy’s 2022 graduation ceremony. Eventually he hopes to establish filming as a full-time job.
“They say you don’t work a day in your life when you do something you love,” Simmons said.
Born and raised in Damariscotta, Simmons saw his first race at the Wiscasset Speedway at the age of nine.
“My first event that pops into my mind was in 1996 when a driver flipped over on the back stretch,” Simmons said. “Gasoline came pouring out. There was fire but the driver came out with only a scratch.”
Simmons’ passion for racing wasn’t difficult for him to articulate. When asked to describe other hobbies he could only mention racing.
“I do some four-wheeling, but racing is my addiction,” Simmons said.
Simmons craving for racing isn’t satisfied by just filming events throughout Maine. For the past three-years Simmons has participated in enduro racing at the Wiscasset Speedway.
“It’s a cheap way for anyone to get involved with the sport,” Simmons said.
Enduro racing takes any street car and removes the back seats, and all glass windows other than the windshield. After paying $40 for the transponder and entry fee, participants are free to race.
At Wiscasset, enduro racing is for entry level drivers to gain an experience and develop their skills.
“I have raced in six events over the past three seasons,” Simmons said. “I have taken second place twice, once after racing 20 laps with my hood up.”
Simmons’ girlfriend, Barbara Bradford, also races enduro cars and has competed in four races.
“She has finished all her races. She has a better track record than me,” Simmons said with a laugh.
Last year Simmons was T-boned during a race causing damage to his transmission and ending his run for the season. He is hoping to race for the first time this season as he waits for a new car to be ready.
“My friend Park Clegg is fixing a 2004 Monte Carlo,” Simmons said. “I am hoping to be able to race at the next enduro car event in a few weeks.”
While he hopes to race again this season, Simmons’ attention is on filming.
“Since working with LCTV the passion with filming has pick up even more,” Simmons said. “That is my main priority now.”