By Bill W,Rob Kocak photo
August 13, 2012 – Brian Brown had 25,000 fans on their feet in the grandstands Saturday night at the Knoxville Nationals! The Grain Valley, Missouri driver gave it all he had, coming up a half a car length short of winning sprint car racing’s biggest prize! The Casey’s General Stores/FVP #21 was fast all week long, and a second place finish at the Nationals proved that hard work pays off. The $75,000 check that comes with it wasn’t bad either!
Brian qualified for a starting spot outside of row two on Saturday night. “We talked about the first half of the race all day,” he says. “You can’t win it, but you can definitely lose it. I felt like in years past, I had gone too hard and used the tires up. I told myself to get settled in there, and run a pace to stay right there at the front.”
Before a mandatory fuel stop at the halfway point of the 50-lapper, Brian worked his way into third. “I got a feel for the car,” he says. “I was able to cruise for a while. I think my tires were in a little better shape than most of the others. The last eight or ten laps before the stop, I felt like the field was coming back to us. We were able to get by (Jonathan) Allard and got away from (Jason) Meyers into third.”
At the break, there wasn’t much to change on the Maxim chassis. (Crew chief) Chad Morgan and the rest of the team asked what I thought we needed,” says Brian. “Honestly, we didn’t change too much. I told Chad that I really hadn’t gone 100% yet, just because of the way the cushion was. If you get in there too hard, you can get in a bad spot.”
The race went green again, with 24 laps remaining. “Once we got going, I was content to ride with (Craig) Dollansky,” says Brian. “The last yellow came out (with 16 laps to go), and Dollansky made a move on (Donny) Schatz. He kind of hung himself in the middle, and gave me a chance to slide him in three and four.”
The pursuit of Schatz began, as the crowd rose to their feet on several occasions. “We fell in behind Donny at that point,” says Brian. “I looked up at the board with 15 or 16 laps to go. I really felt like that was the time that I needed to get going. I was able to run him down, and I felt like I was in striking distance to make a move. I decided to wait another corner, and when I did, I got balled up in turn two. I felt like ‘there went an opportunity to win the Knoxville Nationals’.”
But he would reel Schatz back in one more time coming to the checkers! “I kind of had to settle back in,” says Brian. “Once we got to traffic, I was just hoping he would make a mistake. He ended up making all the right moves, as someone who has won it six times should. Coming to the white flag, I wasn’t sure what he was going to do. He was pretty close to Cody Darrah, and I thought I may still have a shot. He rolled through the rubber in one and two just as well as I did. In three and four, he went through the center and that gave us an opportunity to make a big run. We drove just as hard as we could, and came up just a couple feet short.”
There are many to thank for the second place run, including the fans. “I’m just really proud of our team,” says Brian. “To go where it has in four or five years is great. Casey’s General Stores, FVP and Searsboro Telephone Company…my crew: Chad Morgan, Chad Ely, Keke Falland, Mark Clemons, Greg King, Glen Wignall, Grandpa George (Lasoski), Scott Ritchhart, every single person that works for this team deserved to run second in the Knoxville Nationals. One of the coolest things for me as a driver is getting out of the car and hearing the crowd cheering for you and being behind you 100%.”
Brian was on the Midway daily. As a fan himself, it is his favorite part of the Knoxville Nationals. “I had a great time with the fans all week long,” he says. “The cool thing for me is spending the time with the fans, and having their support behind me. It means a lot to me as a person and as a driver. I can’t thank them enough for coming out and supporting not only me, but the Knoxville Nationals.”
Brian set up his run on Saturday in part with a second quick time trial on Thursday. “Charlie Garrett Racing Engines has turned our program around,” he says. “It showed on Thursday with our qualifying effort. It sets the tone for the week really. We were able to go out and lay a good lap down.”
The heat did not go smoothly, but the misfortune of others played into Brian’s hands and he would grab the fourth and final transfer spot. “We didn’t get going at the start as good as we’d like,” he says. “We kind of got bottled up there behind (Terry) McCarl. We almost put it in the fence a couple of times, and we just weren’t that great. Once we got going and got stretched out, we ran McCarl back down. We came to the white, and Terry cheated the middle and I got a good run off of two. I was going to give him a big slider. Going down the back straightaway, Geoff Ensign, who was running third, blew up. He went across the track and caught Terry. I don’t think I missed him by more than two or three inches. That corner made our Nationals.”
The feature ended with a lackluster ninth place run, but enough points to lock into row two for Saturday. “We struggled,” says Brian. “We found some things that were bent on the car from being up in the rough stuff. We definitely had our hands full. I’ve never been so glad to see the checkers at Knoxville. I just wanted to get through it and be done with it. We knew we were in good shape points-wise.”
Web site info
For up to date information on Brian Brown Racing visit www.BrianBrownRacing.com
Paul Bernstein asks: Did you like the new Friday format at the Nationals?
Brian answers: I really enjoyed it. It was a dead deal. Toby Kruse, John McCoy and Brian Stickel got together, and came up with a good Friday night program. As a fan, I was as excited about it as anyone. It was cool that there were guys who got another opportunity to race and put themselves in the show. From what I hear, it was a huge success.
Got a question for Brian? Send it to us at email@example.com, and we may answer it in this section! Put “? for Brian” in your subject line.
On August 27, 2005, Brian bested Billy Alley, Kerry Madsen, Ricky Logan and Justin Henderson for a well earned win at Knoxville.
About Casey’s General Stores
Casey’s General Stores is a Fortune-500 company (NASDAQ CASY) operating nearly 1700 convenience stores in 11 states through the Midwest. Known for its “Homemade-To-Go” pizza, sandwiches, donuts and bakery items, Casey’s strives to consistently deliver quality gas, fresh kitchen-prepared food, clean environments and friendly service at every retail location. Casey’s is currently the 12th largest c-store chain and sixth largest pizza chain in the United States.
We are very excited to introduce our new line of automotive chemicals, oils and fluids to our product offering. These new products will be available at many retailers across the country. We continue to offer a full line of high quality oil, air, cabin air and fuel filters, plus a complete line of high quality batteries for multiple applications including cars, trucks, SUV’s, commercial and other specialty vehicles. All products are made to OE manufacturer fitment specifications. FVP products are engineered to provide our customers with quality products that are equal or superior in performance to the major national brands at a competitive price. To learn more about our FVP products or to find out where you can have FVP products installed in your vehicle, visit us at www.FVPparts.com! FVP…The Confident Solution
In addition to our line of seasonal safety products, we are very excited to introduce a full line of SPLASH Wiper Blades. Our SafeView Performance Blades fit 95% of the vehicles on the road with quick and easy installation for everyone. The AccuVision Beam Blade offers memory curve steel, which provides uniform pressure for a clear wipe, without the streaks. Look for these great new SPLASH products! Whether it’s keeping your windshield clean or free of ice, protecting your RV, boat or pool from freezing in the winter, or your sidewalk safe to walk on, SPLASH Products are what you need! Check out our new SPLASH website at www.SPLASHWash.com! SPLASH…SEE SAFELY!
Marketing Partner of the Week – Impact Signs Awnings Wraps / impact4800.com
Brian says – “David and Julie Goodson have a great family there. They also make sure our trailer looks great with the graphics they provide. We’re proud to represent them.”
The goal at Impact Sign and Lighting is to make selecting the right sign and lighting for your business a simple process for you. Impact can design, create, and install virtually any type of sign on awnings, poles, buildings and much more including racecars, of course! They will work with you from conception to completion and make sure you are completely satisfied. We’ll give you personalized service, expert consultation, quick turnarounds, and reasonable pricing. Impact Sign and Lighting are responsible for the graphics on the Brian Brown Racing #21. Visit them on the web at www.Impact4800.com!
Associate Marketing Partner of the Week – XYZ Machining
Brian says – “Tim Norman and his wife do a great job there. We use their mounts and posts. They make a great product.”
XYZ manufactures aluminum and titanium racing components as well as custom products for other industries. Their company pays close attention to the three things important to customers: on-time delivery, quality work, and excellent customer service. Visit them on the web at www.XYZMachining.com!
Brian Brown Racing would like to thank Casey’s General Stores, FVP, Searsboro Telephone Company, Impact Signs Awnings Wraps / impact4800.com, Champion Brands, SPLASH, Ditzfeld Transfer, Maxim Racing, Smiley’s Racing Products, Weld Wheels, Housby Trucks, www.RateWin.com, Arctic Cat, K&N Filters, Hostiowa.net, FSR Race Products, TI64, Fuel-Safe Tanks, Awesome Racewear, Wolfe Eye Clinic, Bell Helmets, CP Pistons, Carrillo Rods, Engler Machine, Vortex Wings, Penray, All Pro Cylinder Heads, Butler Built Seats, AkzoNobel Sikkens, AllDayParts.com, Jack Links, Rockstar, Deli Express, Snap-On Tools, Rod End Supply, KSE Racing Products, Winters Performance Products, Santomauro Racing Products, Cometic Gaskets, Kaeding Performance, Donovan, Magtech, ISC Racers Tape, Kinsler, Racing Optics, Mothers Wax, Don’s Truck Wash, Gardner Farms, Hoosier Tires, GoPro, XYZ Machining, Brown and Miller Racing Solutions, Peterson Fluid System, Red Devil Brakes, Schoenfeld Headers, and WSIB Insurance for all their support!