From Bill W
December 18, 2010 – The 2010 season was one of many accomplishments for sprint car driver, Brian Brown, and the FVP #21 racing team. A second 410 track championship at the Knoxville Raceway, sitting on the pole of the Knoxville Nationals and a dozen wins were just a few of the highlights for the driver from Grain Valley, Missouri.
Things started early in the season for Brian when he picked up a win in his second start of the year on March 6 at Battleground Speedway near Highlands, Texas. It came after a late race pass of fellow “Show Me State” rival, “The Rocket” Jesse Hockett. “We took a little different approach to start the year,” he explains. “Normally, we start later in March at the Devil’s Bowl, but the ASCS-Gulf South series had some shows in southern Texas earlier in the month and we were able to get a good start to the season. That win at Battleground, racing with Jesse (Hockett), means a lot more to me now than just another win. We had a great race, and I was proud to win for once when it was his kind of track (heavy). You want to get that first win out of the way, and it was a good momentum builder heading into the season.”
Five of Brian’s wins came with the ASCS-Midwest series. He led the series in wins, top fives (10) and top tens (10). “Guys like (series director) Chuck Zitterich are the people who make sure we have good racing in an organized series like the ASCS-Midwest,” says Brian. “It’s a well-oiled machine. We get to go to tracks I like such as McCool Junction, Denison and I-80. It’s fun to travel and run with different associations and see how you stack up against some great competition. There are some tough drivers coming out of Nebraska like Billy (Alley), and then you have guys like Lee Grosz down from North Dakota. Hopefully, we can do some more of that this year.”
The crowning achievement, however, was another track championship at Knoxville. It did not come easy. “To fall out like we did the first night after our team working so hard all Winter long, was not a good feeling,” says Brian of an opening night DNF. “I believe we bounced back and won the next week, and that started kind of a roller coaster there for us. We were really good, or really not so good. We had a lull, and hit a couple of wins mid-season.”
By the time the Outlaws came for a big weekend in June, Brian and Don Droud Jr. were in a tight battle for the title. “We got in a wreck there with Joey (Saldana) the first night the Outlaws came,” says Brian. “I was ready to pack it up, but the team put the car back together and we were able to put it in the A, and come back the next night and run second. That was a big momentum builder heading into the Nationals.”
In August, the team was ready for both the 360 and 410 Nationals. “Of course, we felt good after winning the prelim of the 360 Nationals,” says Brian. “We felt we had the car to win, but we had motor problems. Going into the 410 Nationals, we thought we had a good shot, but it was a bit of a crapshoot. We had nights where we didn’t qualify well at all, and others where we did.”
The team emerged from their qualifying night on top of the points heap. “We were able to go out there and turn a good lap and then get through our heat race,” says Brian. “A move on the last lap of the prelim got us from fifth to second, and all of a sudden, we were sitting on the pole of the Nationals. It was my lifelong dream to just race, and next was racing at Knoxville. To be on the pole of the 50th Knoxville Nationals was just unbelievable.”
After running in the top five most of the 50-lap distance, Brian lost a tire. He would come back to finish 13th. “Looking back, my thoughts were about not doing anything to embarrass the team,” he says. “I didn’t want to go backwards. I was tickled to death that we were competitive. We weren’t great the first half, but we were able to hang in there. We were running a solid third there when the tire let go. Considering what happened with Sammy (Swindell) and Donny (Schatz), you can’t help but think about what could have been. But there’s always next year, and like they say, you have to lose them to win them.”
Coming back to weekly action, Brian had an opportunity to lock down the season championship with two nights to go. He was caught up in a first-lap wreck, and would have to come back on the final night ready to roll. “That was a bad deal,” he says of the August 28 accident. “We just had nowhere to go. We went into that night hoping to seal it, but we had to come back on Season Championship night and do well. The guys did a good job of repairing the car and getting it ready. We were able to win, and there was no better way to close the season than that.”
Brian enjoyed the season-long tug-of-war with Droud and the Strange Performance team. “Don Droud Jr. is a guy that kind of flies under the radar, but when you look at his record, you realize how good he is,” says Brian. “I really enjoy their whole team. Gilly (Sonner) and Donnie (Sonner) are class acts. An example of that was the week we showed up without a hood. I called Donnie about 3:30 and he had one at the track ready for us. That’s an example of the type of people they are. Obviously, we couldn’t have raced that week without a hood. If I couldn’t have won, I definitely would be pulling for them.”
Another accomplishment included taking home Brian’s first Jackson (MN) Nationals championship. “At the Jackson Nationals, we ran second both nights,” he explains. “It’s the first time I haven’t won the race, but took the big hardware home, so that was a little different. To put our name on the list of winners of that famous race is something I’ll never forget.”
A bit of a slump plagued the team later in the year. “There were quite a few things happening out of our control,” says Brian. “It seemed like for a month, no matter what we did, the luck wasn’t on our side. A good team doesn’t let nights like that get them down, and they keep plugging away. I think we did a good job with that, and we put those bad nights behind us and didn’t think about them going into the next one.”
Brian registered the high-point total among qualifiers who did not lock themselves into the Short Track Nationals finale before the final night. Starting seventh, he was caught in another lap one incident. He was able to complete 2010 on ASCS’s Western swing and finished with two second place finishes in Las Vegas. “At the Short Track Nationals, I felt we had one of the fastest cars,” he says. “We just got caught up in someone else’s deal. Going West, we didn’t have any luck with the draws, but it was cool to finish second to Tony Stewart at Las Vegas. It was kind of like playing pick-up basketball with Michael Jordan. A month later, you look back on it with fondness. You can’t put a dollar figure on competing with your idols.”
The team has a special relationship with their marketing partners, and will look to continue that in 2011. “We’re looking at continuing on with all of our partners in 2011,” says Brian. “I think we work as hard if not harder than anyone on helping our partners get a good return on their investment. The decal on the car is great, but you have to give them something in return. We need to do our part, because without every single one of them, what we accomplished this year would never be possible. It’s an absolute honor to represent FVP and every single one of our partners. It’s a win/win for all of us.”
Brian has a real appreciation for those who work with him every day. “A special thanks goes out to (crew chief) Chad Morgan, Kelby (Hopkins) and my grandpa, George Lasoski,” he says. “At Knoxville, Derek Beckman, Glenn Wignall and Jacob Engel are there to do anything we need. I just really appreciate them, as well as my wife, Heather, and the rest of my family. We need them all and I want them to know I really appreciate them and we’re looking forward to 2011.”
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For up to date information on Brian Brown, visit www.BrianBrownRacing.com!
Brian’s new t-shirts are here! You can choose from two styles!
Paul O’Donnell asks: What will your schedule look like in 2011?
Brian answers: A lot depends on what FVP wants us to do. I believe they have 68 locations now in some different parts of the country. I think we’ll hit as many of them as we can. Whether that’s a one-night IRA show in Wisconsin, or an Outlaw show in Vegas, or an ASCS race at Little Rock, we’ll hit it. I see us running Knoxville about 80% of the time. I’d like to run the King’s Royal one of these days, and the Skagit Dirt Cup is paying $40,000 this year. We’d like to do some of those races and make 70-80 shows.
Got a question for Brian? Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we may answer it in this section! Put “? for Brian” in your subject line.
Brian now has 92 career sprint car feature wins. His first came on September 11, 1999 in a 410 show at the Thunderhill Speedway in Mayetta, Kansas. Fellow Missourian Scott “Breezy” Whitworth ran second in his #96 that night, followed by Bob Weuve and Jaymie Moyle.
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Marketing Partner of the Week – Marketing Partner of the Week – Champion Racing Lubricants (Champion Racing 20W50 Motor Oil)
Visit Champion’s new web page at www.ChampionsUseChampion.com! Champion Racing 20W50 Motor Oil is the one that started it all by beating the competition in providing more horsepower, torque, and anti-wear additives than many of the more well known brands of racing oil. Champion Racing 20W50’s premium ZDDP anti-wear protection is among the highest in the industry. Champion’s exclusive shear stabilizer delivers better film strength and piston ring seal at peak temperatures. Champion Racing 20W50 also delivers more foot-pounds of torque with higher compression than any competitor’s brands.
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Associate Marketing Partner of the Week – Paul’s Auto Body Supply
Brian says – “Paul’s Auto Body Supply out of Kansas City has been a big supporter of ours the past three or four years. They provide us with paint and painting supplies so Greg can do the painting on our cars. They are a big help.”
Paul’s Auto Body Supply is located 1331 Woodswether Road in Kansas City, Missouri. Contact them for PPG finishes, Fleet and Industrial Coatings and a complete line of auto body supplies. Contact them at 816 471-4230 today!
Brian would like to thank FVP, SuperClean, Splash, Ditzfeld Transfer, Searsboro Telephone Company, www.FaxMeService.com, Housby Trucks, Maxim Racing, Champion Brands, My State Insurance Rates, Smiley’s Race Products, Impact Sign and Lighting, Arctic Cat, K&N Filters, Hostiowa.net, FSR Race Products, Fuel-Safe Tanks, Awesome Racewear, Wolfe Eye Clinic, Weld Wheels, Bell Helmets, CP Pistons, Carrillo Rods, A1 Mortgage, Rockwell Security, Paul’s Auto Body Supply, Engler Machine, Vortex Wings, Ostrich Racing Engines, Penray, All Pro Cylinder Heads, Butler Built Seats, Rod End Supply, KSE Racing Products, Winters Performance Products, Santomauro Racing Products, Cometic Gaskets, Kaeding Performance, Donovan, Magtech, ISC Racers Tape, Racing Optics, Pro Shocks, Don’s Truck Wash, Gardner Farms, Hoosier Tires, XYZ Machining, Brown and Miller Racing Solutions, Peterson Fluid System, Red Devil Brakes, Schoenfeld Headers, www.Impact4800.com and WSIB Insurance for all their help!