(Bill W) August 6, 2012 – At the Knoxville 360 Nationals, you need to be fast every time you hit the track.
Brian Brown – Putting On a Show!
(Bill W) August 6, 2012 – At the Knoxville 360 Nationals, you need to be fast every time you hit the track. Though Brian Brown and the Casey’s General Stores/FVP #21 had troubles in qualifying, they put on a show for the fans the rest of the weekend with three big charges through the field. The Grain Valley, Missouri driver is hoping things are a bit easier for this week’s 52nd Annual Knoxville Nationals, and he can start a little further towards the front.
The 360 Nationals started with a late pill and a 35th fast time in qualifying on Thursday. That sacrificed a lot of points. “We had high hopes going into Knoxville to qualify well,” says Brian. “That was why we ran there a couple of times…to get better. We just didn’t get our job done. I think the coolest thing was, the crew didn’t get down about it. They didn’t drag around. They wanted to still win the thing, and that kept my confidence up.”
Brian did his job of getting in the prelim feature with a run from seventh to fourth in his heat. “It was a tough heat,” he says. “We were able to get up to fourth, which was the key. We just needed to get in. We continued to work on the car for the feature and we were able to go from 19th to 2nd.”
The charge had the healthy crowd on its feet. “It was good wherever we wanted to go,” says Brian of his Maxim. “It’s a testament to the team we have built the last five years or so. They all work so hard, and they never give up. I think that shows on the racetrack. It was unfortunate for me, but it was good for the fans. Sometimes racing can get one-lane without a whole lot of passing. That’s why we try to put on a show no matter where we start.”
Brian’s point total landed him starting twelfth in Saturday’s B. With eight cars to pass in 15 laps, he had to get going. He waited until the last lap to take the fourth and final transfer in dramatic fashion! “You never would have thought the B main would go non-stop,” he says. “We got to sixth pretty quick. I felt like I was the same speed as those guys in front of me. Honestly, I didn’t think I was going to make it. But it looked like Tony (Bruce) slowed down a little bit and Dustin Daggett kind of got balled up and I was able to get by him. Then I was able to run two of my best laps to catch Tony and get by him. The plan was not to do it on the last lap though!”
Starting dead-last in the A, Brian passed 16 cars to finish eighth in the non-stop 25-lap championship event. “I felt we had as good a shot as anyone,” he says. “We just needed some yellows. We kept plugging away and running it as hard as it would go. We were good. I think we passed as many cars as we could in the amount of time we had. To get all the way to eighth was pretty cool. I think with one caution, we could have gotten to the top five. With a second, who knows?”
Brian would like to congratulate four-time winner, Shane Stewart, and his car owner, Paul Silva. “Shane and Paul did a great job of putting themselves in position to win,” he says. “They always do. We didn’t. We had to scratch and claw, but it is something to build on with the strength of our team.”
The team will compete at the Front Row Challenge tonight at the Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa, Iowa before the Nationals. They hope that a ninth quick time amongst 67 cars last night at the 1st Annual “Capitani Classic” at Knoxville is a good omen. “Our 410 program has been on ‘kill’ all year long really,” says Brian. “When you go out that late and lay down a good lap, that’s a good sign for this week. If I could just get a good draw, that would help.”
After getting through a tough heat that only took the top three finishers, Brian finished seventh in the main event. “There was some stuff we wanted to try in the feature,” he says. “It just didn’t work out. The car wasn’t where we needed to be. We were lucky to finish as well as we did really.”