Gabriel Brito takes first at last weekend’s drag races

Gabriel Covos of Sure Shot Racing won first place at last weekend’s drag races. From left to right: Albert Covos, Nathan Moize, Gabriel Brito, Ricky Carrasco, Sesar Baeza and Alex Jimenez.

PRESIDIO — On Saturday night, Gabriel Brito of the Sure Shot racing team claimed first place in the Presidio International Dragstrip’s monthly event. Robert “Coach” Romero took second place and Armando Moreno rounded out the rankings in third.

The win was a first for Brito — last summer he placed second, but this weekend was the first time he’d ever snagged the top prize. “I was speechless,” he said. “The crew knew it was my first win, and we sure did celebrate after that.”

Brito is a proud member of Sure Shot Racing, a group of Presidio locals who all found a love for the racetrack. David Martin got the group up off the ground and did much of the original recruiting — Brito and friends Albert Covos and Edward Martin started working on cars together not long after.

Though these four are the core Sure Shot competitors, Brito said that they have too many supporters to name — numerous friends and neighbors have lent tools, expertise and cold beverages to the effort over the years. “We all grew up together,” he said. “Presidio’s a small town, you know everybody.”

Brito currently works in quality control at Permian Tank in Odessa, but his roots in Presidio run deep. He tries to make it back as much as he can to see family, but the Sure Shot team keep in close contact over the phone to keep preparation for each race consistent.

He was grateful for the team at the Presidio International Drag Strip for providing an outlet for fun community gatherings in his hometown. “Everyone comes to the races — we cook out, have some drinks, hang out with friends,” he said. “It’s something cool for Presidio, where there’s not a lot to do.”

Brito has been working on his ride — a souped up ‘81 Chevy Malibu — for two years now, and has gained plenty of skills along the way. A few months ago, friend Jared Schufeldt helped him rebuild the motor — Brito had never worked with an engine in that way before. “If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be ready right now,” he said.

Despite all his preparation, Brito said that expert mechanic work and a strong team bond weren’t enough to win races. “It’s always something, you’re always going to have a problem,” he said. “You never know if it’ll be your day or not. It’s all luck in this sport.”