By: Zach Catanzareti, Staff Writer
After a return to the top 15 last week at Pocono Raceway, Brandon Brown and Brandonbilt Motorsports have caught the eye of another new partner.
For this weekend’s Henry 180 at Road America, Sim Seats will sponsor the team’s No. 68 Chevrolet for Saturday’s event. It will be only the second time Sim Seats has sponsored an Xfinity car and the first time with Brandonbilt.
Brown, an avid sim racer himself, is excited to partner with Sim Seats, a company at the forefront of the eSports growth.
“I’ve been able to use it as a tool to prepare for races,” Brown told Kickin’ The Tires. “Especially when we go to tracks that I’m not comfortable with or have never been to, it’s a huge part to help. With this year, going to Circuit of the Americas, I did a lot of laps on iRacing for that. I’ve been doing a lot for Road America this weekend.
“It’s just been really fun and exciting with the development of iRacing and NASCAR really joining together for sim racing. It has picked up a ton of popularity. If you want to use what the pros use, Sim Seats is the way to go.
“A huge part of our success can say it came from our rig.”
Indeed, with the lack of practice and qualifying in 2020-’21, sim racing has become a must for drivers in the national NASCAR divisions. So, Brown is a regular Sim Seats customer and has noticed the cultural shift in sim racing over the years.
“When sim racing started, people like me just had a desk and a little Logitech wheel clamped to it with some pedals on the floor and a computer chair,” he said. “It would be hard to take it seriously and to really put yourself in the racing mindset. For me, it’s all about being immersed.
“Having my Sim Seat actually allowed me to do that. I was like, ‘Wow, this is real.’ They had options for real racing chairs. I could go get one of my racing seats out of the car and put them on. They are option-built, so you can have as little or as many things on your rig as you want.
“When it comes to races like this year and last year with no practice and no qualifying, something like that is really crucial to helping your success.”
Zach McAfee, Founder and Owner of Sim Seats, is an avid racing enthusiast and is no stranger to the ups and downs of NASCAR competition. For Brown, this makes the relationship seamless.
“This actually began last year when the pandemic struck,” he said. “NASCAR decided that they needed to do something to get the fans involved and still keep racing alive. So, they switched everything over to E Sports. That’s when Zach and I came together and I got a Sim Seats rig here that I’ve been using to race in the Pro Invitational races.
“I’ve been down to their facility in Richmond, Virginia. It was awesome because they’re a hometown team, we’re a hometown team. I know Zach himself raced, so he knows racing and he knows what it takes and what is involved. It’s great when you’re not doing as much teaching on the motorsports side. He’s really diving in, he knows what’s going on. It’s been fantastic working with him.
“Thank you to Zach, Sim Seats and everyone who came onboard. It is very big for us as a smaller team.
Entering the weekend, Brown has two starts at Road America, finishing a highest of 12th in 2020. Tackling the 4.048-mile Wisconsin road course for 45 laps, Brown is looking forward to the challenge and opportunity.
“This is a track that we can implement some strategy like we have before that has paid off with top 10s and top fives,” he said. “Road America is way different than other tracks we’ve raced on. Even the pit stops, you’re pulling to the right to pit. Where they put the gas in is on the right. It’s a lot of different things.
“It’s going to be awesome to have some practice and really get a feel for the track before we take the green. There are a lot of stout competitors, really great road course ringers in the field. So I feel I need all the practice I can get. You want to keep the car in one piece and go out there and give it our best showing.”
Watch our full announcement video with Brandon Brown below.
And visit Sim Seats official website: https://sim-seats.com/
In the interest of full disclosure, Kickin’ The Tires is the official media partner of Brandonbilt Motorsports.