Long: A monumental journey ends with ‘Dad, we did it’ and a teary-eyed father


TALLADEGA, Ala. — Jerry Brown stood near the car and paced. He cupped his phone in his hand and talked over the speaker to one of the lucky few who managed to reach him to congratulate him on this moment, this journey, and this feeling.

As NASCAR officials examined his son’s winning Xfinity Series car Saturday night at Talladega Superspeedway, Brown stayed nearby in the brightly lit garage. Darkness enveloped the track.

Then came the signal. A NASCAR official gave Brown a thumbs up. Son Brandon’s first NASCAR win was confirmed.

“Whooooooo!” Jerry Brown hollered in a manner that might make former wrestler Ric Flair proud.

Brown waved his arms and pumped them, bouncing around as he held his phone.

A journey that started nearly 20 years ago with son Brandon finally saw father and son celebrate a NASCAR victory.

It had taken 135 races in the Camping World Truck Series and Xfinity Series to get here. Some race longer and never do. Some like Ty Gibbs win in their first NASCAR national series race. It has never been easy for Jerry and Brandon Brown.

“When you have to fight so hard for something … I’m numb,” Jerry Brown said. “I’m literally numb. When you fight so hard for so many years and the odds are all against you and you finally beat the odds, just an unbelievable feeling.”

As he spoke, a team member walked over.

“I’m going to clean the car unless you want to keep it the way it is” he said. “You want to retire it?’’

“It’s retired, dude,” Brown responded. “It’s retired. Which one is that?”


Yes, that is the car’s number. It’s a 2012 Kyle Busch Motorsports chassis. A rainbow of colors from sports drinks splashed in Victory Lane stain and make the cockpit sticky. Speedy-dri adds to the cockpit’s decor.

007 is the only speedway car the team has owned. The chassis survived multiple wrecks. When it was damaged, the team removed a front clip or rear clip or both and fixed the vehicle.

When it’s a family-run team with a tight budget, fixing cars is cheaper than buying new ones. Brandon Brown’s quest for sponsorship gained notoriety this year for his creative social media videos where he played the role of used car salesman. 

Behind those funny videos was a serious matter for this small team that has had modest success in NASCAR – Brandon Brown did make the Xfinity playoffs in 2020 but he’s also had only 16 top-10 finishes in 114 starts.

So what kept father and son going through such challenges?

“I keep asking myself that same question over and over again,” Jerry Brown said. “To be quite honest with you, I was starting to feel the end was getting near.

“We’ve been after it for so long. Sponsorship was so sporadic. The problem is as you do better, you can’t go back. I’m always looking to do better, knowing what it takes to get better and better. With sporadic sponsorship, you’re so close you can taste it, but you just can’t get that last little bit.

“It was getting very, very frustrating. I kept asking myself, ‘How much longer can I go through this?’ Luckily, I never answered that question.”

Saturday’s special moment for the Browns nearly didn’t happen.

Brandon Brown was racing Brandon Jones for the lead when the caution waved for a crash. NASCAR has 20 scoring loops positioned around the 2.66-mile track. When the caution is called, NASCAR’s loop system records where every car is on the track. That allows officials to determine the running order.

The last scoring loop Brandon Brown and Brandon Jones passed before the caution came out was Loop 12 in the middle of Turns 3 and 4. Brandon Brown led by six-thousandths of a second.

That’s why Brown was put in the lead under the caution. When officials determined it was too dark to continue, Brandon Brown was declared the winner.

That’s how close Brandon and Jerry Brown were from another heartbreak.

This time was Jones and his Joe Gibbs Racing team feeling that emotion.

As soon as he was told the race was, Brandon Brown shouted over the car’s radio: “Oh my God! Oh my God! Wow! Just wow! Oh my God! This is a dream come true! This is a dream come true!”

During his interview with NBCSN at the finish line, Brown shouted: “Dad, we did it!”

Brown later described his emotions as “surreal. It’s really hard to just capture one single emotion. Happiness. Relief. Joy. Excitement. Just the feeling of fulfillment.

“It’s just something that dad and I have been working on since I was 9 years old.”

After his first go-kart race, a 9-year-old Brandon Brown was in tears because he finished last. He complained that the go-kart that had been loaned to him was not fast enough. Although Jerry Brown didn’t know much about racing, he saw the passion in his son and bought a go-kart.

So began a journey that saw father and son embrace Saturday in Victory Lane.

They had been together for nearly every race until Jerry was found to have cancer last year. That and COVID-19 protocols kept him away from the track.

Brandon said last year that if he won a race without his father, it would be “bittersweet.”

Treatments worked and allowed Jerry to return to the track each week to watch his son. A recent checkup also was good.

Getting to share Brandon’s NASCAR win in person, stopped Jerry Brown.

“It’s bringing me to tears just thinking about it,” he said.

His eyes watered. He looked away.

Nothing more needed to be said.

Monday Charlotte Xfinity race: Start time, TV info, weather


Charlotte Motor Speedway’s rescheduled NASCAR Xfinity Series race is set for an 11 a.m. start Monday.

The race originally was scheduled Saturday, but was postponed by weather to noon Monday. After Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 Cup Series race also was postponed to Monday, the Xfinity Series race was moved to an 11 a.m. start.

A look at the Monday Xfinity schedule:

Details for Monday’s Xfinity race at Charlotte Motor Speedway

(All times Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 11:01 a.m. by representatives of race sponsor Alsco Uniforms … The green flag is scheduled to be waved at 11:12 a.m.

PRERACE: Xfinity garage opened at 8 a.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 200 laps (300 miles) on the 1.5-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 45. Stage 2 ends at Lap 90.

STARTING LINEUP: Charlotte Xfinity starting lineup (Justin Haley will replace Kyle Busch in the No. 10 Kaulig Racing car).

TV/RADIO: FS1 will broadcast the race at 11 a.m. … Performance Racing Network coverage begins at 11 a.m. and can be heard on goprn.com. … SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the PRN broadcast.

STREAMING: Foxsports.com

FORECAST: Weather Underground — The forecast calls for overcast skies with a high of 71. There is a 15% chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Josh Berry won last May’s Xfinity race. Ty Gibbs was second and Sam Mayer third.

Justin Haley replaces Kyle Busch in Kaulig car for Xfinity race


Justin Haley will drive Kaulig Racing’s No. 10 car in Monday morning’s scheduled NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Haley replaces Cup Series regular Kyle Busch, who was scheduled to drive for Kaulig in the 300-miler. The race was postponed from Saturday to Monday because of weather, giving NASCAR a 900-mile doubleheader at the track.

Busch decided to concentrate on the Coca-Cola 600 Cup race, scheduled for a  3 p.m. start.

Haley also will race in the 600.

Ty Gibbs is scheduled to run in both races.

Charlotte Cup race postponed to Monday by weather


CONCORD, N.C. — All-day rain Sunday forced the postponement of the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Cup Series race to Monday.

The postponement means that Charlotte Motor Speedway is scheduled to host 900 miles of stock car racing Monday. A 300-mile Xfinity Series race, originally scheduled Saturday and first postponed to noon Monday, has been rescheduled for 11 a.m. ET Monday (FS1, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The Cup race is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. (Fox, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Sunday’s Cup race was scheduled to start at 6:21 p.m. ET, but light rain was still falling at that time in the speedway area near Charlotte. Rain intensified a few minutes later and, despite an evening forecast that showed slight improvement, officials decided at 6:30 p.m. to postpone the race.

Monday’s forecast calls for a 34% chance of rain at the start of the Xfinity race and a 30% chance at the start of the Cup race.

William Byron will start the race from the pole after qualifying was washed out Saturday night.

RFK Racing gains sponsorship from submarine recruiting group


CONCORD, N.C. — NASCAR racing and submarines? Yes.

RFK Racing announced Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway that it has entered a partnership with BlueForge Alliance, which is involved in securing workers for the U.S. Navy’s Submarine Industrial Base (SIB) program. BuildSubmarines.com will be a primary sponsor for RFK drivers Brad Keselowski and Chris Buescher in 10 Cup Series races this year and in 18 races per season beginning in 2024.

The sponsorship will showcase the careers related to the submarine-building program across the nation.

MORE: Jimmie Johnson on his NASCAR team and his approach to Le Mans

MORE: Alex Bowman confident as he returns from injury

“I’m proud to support a cause of such vital significance to our country with this new partnership,” Keselowski said. “The synergies between a NASCAR team and our military’s needs to stay on track fast are countless. We hope to inspire the workforce of the next generation across the country when they see RFK race and hear our message.”

The sponsorship will support the mission to recruit, hire, train, develop and retain the SIB workforce that will build the Navy’s next generation of submarines, the team said.

“We are excited and grateful to be teaming with RFK Racing to drive awareness of the thousands of steady, well-paying manufacturing jobs available across the nation. Innovation, working with purpose and service to others are hallmarks of both of our organizations,” said Kiley Wren, BlueForge chief executive. “Together, we aim to inspire NASCAR fans and all Americans to pursue career opportunities that will support our national defense.”