With new car number and color, Bruechert honors his dad
By Bert Lehman
Editor, Full Throttle Magazine
When Brian Bruechert’s dad, Ken Zuege, passed away in January, Bruechert knew the 2014 race season was going to be different.
“He taught me everything — mechanically and the values of life,” Bruechert said. “This is my 25th year [racing] and up until the time he passed away he was up in the stands in Luxemburg every night I raced, always. He was a rock up there. For 10 years I raced out of his shop. He was always there for advice and always there to tell me stories about the coupes.”
Bruechert said Zuege raced coupes in the 1960s, mostly at Luxemburg Speedway.
Shortly after his dad passed away Bruechert said he knew he had to do something to pay tribute him. He decided to have his 2014 race car decked out in a graphics scheme similar to the one his dad raced in 1965.
“One of his favorite cars was orange, he had sponsorship from Orange Crush. That’s where the “Little Crushy” name comes from,” Bruechert said. “This is his number with his initials. He was actually my stepdad but he raised me from when I was about two years old. He’s my dad so we decided to do a tribute this year.”
For his entire racing career, Bruechert’s race cars have been adorned with the No. 5. As part of the tribute to his dad, Bruechert is racing the No. 74, which was his dad’s number. The orange color is also a drastic change from Bruechert’s normal race car colors.
“The color scheme is totally different from my pink and white and purple all the time,” Bruechert said.
The change in car color and number has created many questions for fans.
“Everything has changed. And then I pulled into the pits with a different truck this year so everybody is thrown off,” he said.
Bruechert admits he had previously thought about this type of a tribute to his dad, but after what happened in January, there no doubt in his mind that this was the right thing to do.
“I had thought about it before when he was still alive and obviously that would have been cool for him to see this car, sitting up in the stands yet, but once he passed away it was an easy decision,” Bruechert said.
When he took the car to Victory Sign to have the graphics applied, Bruechert told them what he wanted. He said Victory Sign then added their own special touch to the graphics scheme, so he wasn’t sure what the final outcome would be.
“I’ve always trusted Victory Sign. They’ve always been fantastic to me. We went to pick the car up and boy were we so happy. It was really touching,” Bruechert said.
Bruechert’s family was also happy with the look of the car.
“We never expected it to turn out this good and be such a hit. It’s really gone over really well,” Bruechert said.
The new look to his car also gave Bruechert a new determination to race, as he said he has been battling some health issues recently.
“This drove me to get better and get out here and get this car on the track,” he said.
The first time Bruechert put the car in victory lane at 141 Speedway earlier this year, he said it was very emotional.
“Putting the car in victory lane was huge,” he said.
Bruechert said he is unsure if he will stay with the No. 74 next year, or go back to his familiar No. 5. Right now, he’s just enjoying the moment.
“It’s a hit right now,” he said. “I picked up a lot of fans this way on Facebook. It’s worked out pretty good. I like it. I never thought I would. I’m not much for change. This was an awesome change.”
(This article first appeared in the July 2014 issue of Full Throttle Magazine.)