NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Brandon Brown doesn’t live in Virginia anymore, but his Virginia roots still run deep.
And this week, his Virginia team, BrandonBilt Motorsports, got to celebrate their first Xfinity Series win after Brown took the checkered flag last Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway.
Brown spoke to the Bulletin this week about the win, the celebrations he had this week, and another to come when he comes to this home track of Martinsville Speedway in a couple week.
(Editor’s note: This story was edited for clarity and length.)
Martinsville Bulletin: How has this week been? Has the win hit you yet?
Brandon Brown: Oh yea, it’s been fantastic. This whole week has kind of been a whirlwind of things I never really had to do before because usually when we get off the track it’s time to start focusing in on the next week and what do I need to do. But this week is been all covering the past weekend and I love it because this past weekend was a win and the first win so it’s feel really great to be able to constantly keep living in this moment.
The race was called during a caution. On that caution lap I’m assuming they come in on the radio and tell you you’ve won. What’s going through your head in that moment on that last lap?
Brown: So many things. There’s so much excitement because we are a small family team. It felt like all the blood, sweat and tears were worth it. It felt like… David beat Goliath in a way. It was awesome to be able to hear we won because there’s just so much that goes into running a small team; wearing so many hats, so to say. It was a feeling of relief.
When they told me that we won I was still on the backstretch behind the pace car and I was celebrating but at the same time I was staring at my fuel pressure gauge like, ‘Please stay up, don’t fall to zero. We’ve got to cross the start/finish line.’ But having NASCAR call it and us deemed the winners, that was just an amazing, amazing feeling.
Your team made the playoffs last year, but missed it this year. Does getting this win put a different perspective on the season for you?
Brown: Yea. I mean, this whole season, it was full of frustrations because we had way more top-10s, more top-5s heading into the playoffs but we were still below the cutline, and it just shows how competitive the Xfinity field has gotten.
But there was also a lot of bad luck that kind of plagued us. There was four weeks in a row that we didn’t finish a race just due to people wrecking us, mechanical failures, whatever it is. That was so frustrating and I think that’s what ultimately took us out of the playoffs. Or I don’t think, I know that’s what took us out of the playoffs. But it was one of those things where we needed to bounce back, we needed the wind in our sails, and a win definitely does that for you.
Getting to celebrate a win is huge, but getting to celebrate with your team and family, does that make it more special for you?
Brown: Yea. Yea. Being able to celebrate with dad was incredibly important and incredibly special. It was a bummer though because this is like the one race where mom wasn’t there, David Clark, my uncle wasn’t there. David Clark is usually at them all. My girlfriend, Morgan Stone, she’s from Martinsville, she wasn’t able to be there and she usually comes to them so she was mad about it. But I was like, hey, we still won. We’ll take it and we’ll celebrate when I get home. And it was such an awesome feeling to be able to celebrate in victory lane with dad.
I bet, plus with your family not there that just means you get to celebrate more when you do see them.
Brown: That’s right. Two celebrations for the price of one.
With your team being a small, family-run team, do you think about other young drivers who also don’t have the backing of a big team and if you getting this win is an inspiration to them?
Brown: I hope. It’s one of those things where it shows what it takes to finally get the win. I mean, it took six years in total running in the top-3 series of NASCAR to get a win.
What it takes is right place, right time, right moment, right car, right parts, right pieces. It sounds like a lot because it is but it’s one of those things where if you get all that aligned then you will definitely succeed.
Since you’re not in the playoffs how are you feeling about the rest of the year? Is there anything specifically you’re trying to work on to get ready for next season?
Brown: It’s exciting. We’re heading to the Roval this weekend, so another road course. They’re fun because I’m kind of starting to figure them out. They weren’t fun at first but now getting to know them it’s making it a little more fun on the driving side.
We’re heading back to Texas where we finished fifth earlier in the season, and Phoenix where we finished third earlier in the season. So these are tracks where it’s like, O.K., we need to go win there too. Show that we’re not just a superspeedway one-hit wonder. Whatever we’ve got to do to get some more wins, that’s what we want to do. We want to be as fast as we can so that next year when we put the 68 in the playoffs then we’ll know what we need when we show up to each of these tracks.
And you’ll be at Martinsville too, right?
Brown: Yep, headed back to Martinsville Speedway. The old paperclip. Before I haven’t had much luck there. I think part of my bad luck has been the people that we race with. We race hard. It’s a track that’s really easy to use up someone’s rear bumper and my rear bumper has been used up quite a few times there. I don’t know if you call it bad luck or just payback but it’s one of those things that I’m always excited to get back to a short track and my hometown crowd. All my family is based in the Roanoke, Christiansburg, Blacksburg area. We have a lot of family there so it’s always awesome to get to race in front of them.
So that’ll be a third celebration for your win, too, then when you see all them?
Brown: That’s right. They’re going to tell me to bring that trophy and I’m going to be like ‘No. That thing is an anvil. A true anvil. No.’ (laughing)
The NASCAR Xfinity Series raced in Charlotte, North Carolina Saturday afternoon. Results were too late for publication. The series will come to Martinsville Speedway on October 30.
Cara Cooper is a sports writer for the Martinsville Bulletin. She can be reached at email@example.com