Shootout Survivor Now Running Martinsville Track Operations - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Shootout Survivor Now Running Martinsville Track Operations

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It's race time at the Martinsville Speedway...

And overseeing it all is Operations Director Matt Brannock...

"Hopefully it will all come together and we'll bet the checkered flag thrown on Sunday and it will be good, said Brannock talking to a NASCAR official on the track's infield. 

During this particular 8 hours, teams from the Camping World Truck Series must drop off equipment for the Saturday truck race and then leave to make way for the haulers for the bigger name Sprint Cup teams.

Carlin:" Your job today is to make sure all of this goes smoothly?" 

Brannock: "Yeah.  I think the big part of what's going on now is making sure these guys get in here and get unloaded."

You might remember Brannock's name from the news in 2011.  A state trooper at the time, he was among those on Interstate 81 chasing murder suspect Jonathan Agee, who had just shot and killed his wife. There was an altercation.  Agee opened fire, and Brannock was hit twice.

So how did he wind up here?  How do you go from Trooper to Auto Sports management?   After a dinner with Track owner with Clay Campbell, Brannock left behind a business card and said -- If you ever have a job....

"Did I ever think that would happen? No. This is a dream job get to work on the NASCAR circuit and motorsports management, I would have never though that it would happen," he said.

But it did.  Campbell called just weeks before Brannock was to return to the State Police.

In just kind of a joking way I said I thought maybe you were calling to offer me a job.  And he said as a matter of fact, that's the real reason I'm calling."

Though it represented a huge opportunity -- Brannock tells me it was a difficult decision to leave police work.

You know people put blood sweat and tears into every decision.  Well if you think about it there is blood and there's been sweat and there's been tears in this decision," said Brannock.

Not only does he love racing, but he grew up two miles from the track.  He couldn't believe he would be playing a major role in it's operation.

"From my perspective, I'm coming back home.  I'm serving the people that I grew up with.  I just want to be genuine.  I put my heart into everything and that's what I'm going to continue to do," he said.

You wouldn't know it to look at him or to talk to him but Matt admits that he still has some emotional baggage from that incident two years ago and he has a daily reminder, because he still has two bullets in his body from the shooting.

"I've tried to be who I am, regardless of whether it's being a state trooper or operations director of the Martinsville Speedway.  This is genuinely who I am.  I'm not anybody out of the ordinary.  I think I've just been blessed from the state police to the time I've made the transition to the race track." 

 Brannock manages almost everything at the track...  He oversees security at the gates.  His staff keeps race haulers moving in and out on schedule, and ensures there is room for everything in the crowded infield.  He's even in charge of making sure some of the curbing is painted pink for Breast Cancer awareness.

"I started this checklist about four months ago and now here we are Thursday of race week, and so my excitement level has been building," he said pouring over three long lists taped to the top of his desk.

Almost everything on that list is now checked. Race week for Brannock is like Christmas for kids.  He's excited, he's busy and he's grateful to Campbell for seeing potential in him.

"It didn't take me long to realize that there is a team here this is second to none.  Clay has been around the sport so long that he knows how important having a good team is to the success of the Speedway and our community.  So for him to offer me this position and put trust and confidence in me is very humbling," he said.

That was the theme throughout the day.  Brannock talking about how humbled he is.  How undeserving. How fortunate.  Unusual perhaps, for someone who carries in his body reminders of May 30, 2011 -- a most un-fortunate day.

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