County Characters: Brandon Simmons’ passion for filmmaking grows with experience

Brandon Simmons films a driver interview at Wiscasset Speedway on Saturday July 9th. Simmons started filming races at the track in 2012 with just a cell phone before becoming a track employee in 2014. (Photo by Alec Welsh)

Armed with a simple cellphone camera from the stands, Brandon Simmons began filming races at 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 into 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 caught the attention of Wiscasset Speedway announcer and promoter Ken Minott.

“At the end of 2013, Ken came to me and asked if I’d like to be hired as a videographer for the track,” Simmons said.

For Simmons, there was no decision to be made. He joined the team without hesitation, starting in the 2014 season, shooting streak races and training sessions.

“By then I had purchased a Sony portable camera and the videos started taking off like wildfire online,” Simmons said. “Now I have riders coming to me asking if I was able to get footage of their races.”

These interactions fueled Simmons’ passion for filming. Its goal is to capture moments from perspectives invisible to pilots and spectators.

“The camera doesn’t flicker,” Simmons said. “You never know what the camera is going to get that you haven’t seen.”

Simmons’ duties at Wiscasset Speedway have expanded this year to include driver interviews. An hour before the green flag is waved, Simmons will film promoter Nick Hoff as he interviews drivers competing in races that begin moments later.

“We’ll do three to five interviews, but we’ll only do a few before the race,” Simmons said. “The rest is posted on YouTube after the event.”

Requests for Simmons’ services began to increase with the popularity of her video. In 2013, Mainely Motorsports TV hired Simmons to film races taking place in the state of Maine.

“I shot at Oxford, Speedway 95, Unity Raceway,” Simmons said. “I would shoot footage and send it to them for their TV show.”

WPME would air the Mainely Motorsport TV 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 Wiscasset Speedway and is employed by Lincoln County local access television station LCTV, where he films, edits and produces an hour-long show that airs on Fridays.

“I’m taking footage from last week’s races at the circuit, editing it on my laptop and sending it out on Wednesday,” Simmons said.

Newcastle resident Brandon Simmons films races at various racetracks across Maine, including Wiscasset Speedway.  (photo by Alec Welsh)

Newcastle resident Brandon Simmons films races at various racetracks across Maine, including Wiscasset Speedway. (photo by Alec Welsh)

Seeking to expand her filming experience, Simmons began filming other events for LCTV. Last winter, he filmed home games for the Lincoln Academy men’s varsity basketball team, as well as Lincoln Academy’s 2022 graduation ceremony. Eventually, he hopes to establish the shoot as a full-time job.

“They say you don’t work a day in your life when you’re doing something you love,” Simmons said.

Born and raised in Damariscotta, Simmons saw his first race at Wiscasset Speedway at age nine.

“The first event that comes to mind was in 1996 when a driver rolled over on the back stretch,” Simmons said. “The petrol leaked. There was a fire but the driver got out with only a scratch.

Simmons’ passion for racing was not hard to express. When asked to describe other hobbies, he could only mention running.

“I do four-wheeling, but racing is my addiction,” Simmons said.

Simmons’ desire for racing is not satisfied by simply filming events all over Maine. For the past three years, Simmons has raced enduro at Wiscasset Speedway.

“It’s a cheap way for anyone to get involved in the sport,” Simmons said.

Enduro racing takes any tram and removes the rear seats and all glass 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 riders to gain experience and develop their skills.

“I’ve been in six events over the last three seasons,” Simmons said. “I took second place twice, once after running 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 boned in a race, causing damage to his transmission and ending his run for the season. He hopes to race for the first time this season while waiting for a new car to be ready.

“My friend Park Clegg is fixing a 2004 Monte Carlo,” Simmons said. “I hope 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 the set.

“Since working with LCTV, the passion for filming has grown even more,” Simmons said. “That’s my main priority now.”

Simmons’ videos can be seen on Wiscasset Speedway YouTube Channel and on the circuit website: www.wiscassetspeedway.com.