Brandon Brown advances in turbulent 2022 season

by Dustin Albino

One year ago this weekend at the Talladega Superspeedway, Brandon Brown climbed out of his #68 car in disbelief. For the first time in his career, he was a NASCAR winner. This victory was validation After years of Brandonbilt Motorsport’s struggle for survival.

Fast forward to this weekend in Talladega, where Brown will make his last start to his family-run team, He was told by a Brandonbilt Motorsports representative. The team will head in a new direction with a funded driver in 2023.

Brown’s win was overshadowed by an unexpected circumstance and national discord, hurting his chances of receiving additional sponsorship. And since mid-July, he has been struggling to stay in the Xfinity series.

There is no doubt that 2022 has been among the biggest challenges – both personal and professional – of Brown’s career. I have become dim several times.

Everything that happened led to a lot of hate. This has led to a lot of bullying and hate messages online jesky, in advance this month. All because decisions are made and they become the face of something you don’t want to do anything with.

“I do some funny marketing stuff online, some little tricks and videos, whatever. But when it comes down to it and you ask Brandon Brown what your dream is, the dream is to race, the dream is to win, the dream is to build myself into a trophy chain driver.”

Brown is trying not to absorb the hatred he has fallen victim to over the past year. As he said, these people “don’t know Brandon Brown.”

TALLADEGA, AL - OCTOBER 02: Brandon Brown, driver of the original #68 Larry's Hard Lemonade Chevrolet, celebrates with exhaustion after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series Sparks 300 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 02, 2021 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) |  Getty Images
(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Since launching Xfinity racing full-time in 2019 with Brandonbilt, Brown has shown a huge amount of potential. He did post-season in 2020, posting his best average finish at 16.0. Last year he had a top 9 in the top 10 and a triple in the top five, but missed the playoffs and finished the year 16 with points.

Amidst his success last year, Brandonbilt was still grappling with the financial hurdles of fielding a competitive team. Come late May, the team is almost done, only for Brown to find additional funding to finish the year.

Brown was caught in the same dilemma this year. Originally, he even had an August race in Daytona to find the partnerships needed to fill the season. That was lifted when Austin Dillon wanted to get additional experience on the Indianapolis road course in late July. Mike Harmon Racing got Brown into car number 47 so he could get into the race and cement a starting point for that group, which the team did only 10 times in 2022.

In early August, Brandonbilt announced that Chris Wright would join the team in nine of the last 12 races in 2022. Looking to gain experienceWright has the best effort in 20th place out of four starts so far.

Meanwhile, Brown is looking to fend for herself. It all goes back to last year in Talladega.

“In my position now, I was knocked out of the list of 68 and told, ‘Good luck, find a flight where you can,’ Brown said. And everywhere. But all of these games have the same common denominator and that is that you have to give care.

“We were playing hard last year when we were still cuddly and people thought we were fun. It was still hard to find sponsorship; that was always a struggle with this. But she made it a million times more difficult. [now]. “

Similar to 2021, Brandonbilt was on the verge of shutting down her business. Jerry Brown, the team owner and Brandon’s father, had to make a call to his son who was left without a regular trip.

Brown understands his father’s decision, although it does not make his situation any easier.

“They had to do what they had to do to save the team,” Brown said. “It’s hard not to take it personally because it’s your family’s business, and [people] Always say it’s really hard to get into a business with your family. You never want to feel kicked into the sidewalk and dumped on whatever you can get into.

“It’s one of those things that is your biggest fear. I don’t want to get rid of what I’ve spent my whole life building. I don’t want it to be taken away from me. But it had to be, and it’s like experiencing your worst fear.”

Admittedly, it’s somewhat of a push between a father-son relationship, but Brown knows it’s all about business.

“There are a lot of things that happened during the holiday season and I didn’t want to do anything,” the younger Brown said. “I didn’t want to be a part of it; I didn’t want to be the face of anything. I wanted to lead.

“There is no inner hatred. Where are we, this feeling of being forced into a situation Do you want to keep driving or not? I wanted to keep driving. When these decisions are made, you want to understand but you can’t. It was tough and a lot of anger. “.

Throughout the year, Brown relied on his girlfriend and Brandonbilt employee, Morgan Stone, for support. He said it helped him focus and forget about outside chatter when he was tying up the car on a particular Saturday.

Brown also relied heavily on Mac MacLeod, founder and president of Fast Lane Media, Inc. The two are former roommates and have been friends since early 2020.

“He probably handled it well as expected with the conditions and the box it was put in,” MacLeod said, “to where if you don’t have money coming into the team, that team is going to have to shut it down. I think he was frustrated and definitely disappointed.” I don’t think any other driver would say they are OK with losing the team they’ve been building with since day one.”

Brown tries to turn negatives into positives. He has stated in the past that he would always consider driving for a different team while still being part of the Brandonbilt family. Now, he has a chance to see what it’s like to race against the 68th team.

Bristol, TN - SEPTEMBER 16: Brandon Brown, driver of the #5 BJ McLeod Motorsports Chevrolet, drives during practice for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on September 16, 2022 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) |  Getty Images
(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) | Getty Images

At Darlington Raceway, his third event away from the BMS group, he nearly remembers Wright’s door on the second lap. In most cases, Brandonbilt has better equipment than anything Brown has been competing against lately, so it gives him a measure of how well he’s doing on underfunded equipment, such as competing for BJ McLeod Motorsports.

“It feels good to beat them,” Brown joked. “It was different. It is so much fun and it gives me a goal and hunger to get out and be the best I can be and compete with them.”

In Brown’s five starts for three different teams — MHR, BJMM and Our Motorsports — he earned a best finish of 17th at Kansas Speedway with Our. But this few races were highlighted by the 13th place qualifier in Bristol for BJMM, the team’s best qualifying effort ever without outside help from the other teams.

This impressed BJ MacLeod, who sought after getting Brown on one of his rounds.

“The most important thing is all the success he’s had with his team,” McLeod said. “I wanted to see if we could put something together because it’s what you do as an owner. You see the driver you like and you’re after him.”

Bristol’s qualifying effort was a shocker for MacLeod, but it started in his first event at Watkins Glen International, when Brown drove the No. 78, which had failed to qualify in two previous road races in 2022.

“It shows Brandon’s ability to do it, and another reason we asked him to come in,” MacLeod added.

Each deal Brown put in place was “unique.” McLeod and Harmon ask him to drive their car, while he provides care to Our. Of the last five races in 2022 after Talladega, he will have at least two more games with BJMM: Charlotte Roval and Phoenix.

However, Brown’s focus remains on showing “who is Brandon Brown and what is Brandon Brown”.

“I want to go out next year and get enough care to put me on the best possible ride that will give me the most chances to race for wins and basically the championship,” Brown said of the ideal situation. “I want to classify myself as a race-winning driver. The underdog story was fun, but I need to show the world who I am and that this driver is the winning.”

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