By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
CONCORD, N.C. – Gambling on tires and a late caution landed Brandon Brown his second top-five of the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series season.
Under a debris caution on lap 146, Brown and his crew chief Doug Randolph opted to take just fuel only. The No. 68 Midwest Moving Company / American Exterior’s Chevrolet Camaro SS was one of two cars to make the tire gamble at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The other was Ryan Sieg.
Sieg restarted the Alsco Uniforms 300 in the lead. In turn one, the No. 39 CMR Roofing & Construction Ford Mustang broke loose. The car over-corrected and was clobbered by both Josh Berry and Brett Moffitt. Brown emerged unscathed.
Still on old tires, the Woodbridge, VA native held on for another 23 laps. Another caution provided an opportunity for Brown’s team to put the sticker Goodyear Eagles on his Chevrolet. A multi-car pileup on the ensuing restart put the 27-year-old in the top-10.
Restarting on the outside, Brown moved forward. With six laps to go, he passed Jeb Burton for fifth. With three to go, he passed NASCAR Cup Series driver Tyler Reddick to take fourth, where he’d finish.
“I definitely was hoping for another restart,” Brown admitted. “I was just praying for that first restart. With 20 to go, I was sweating. We were falling back because we gambled on tires to try and save something for the end because that was what we felt like was our best chance and it definitely paid off. Super happy that worked. Doug Randolph had this car hooked up.
“Happy for everyone at Midwest Moving Company and American Exterior’s for coming on board for their first race. Shout out to everybody at Brandonbilt Foundations for keeping Brandonbilt Motorsports going. So happy with the car, our finish. This is a good one. We want to keep these going.”
The fourth-place finish is Brown’s second top-five of the season and just the third of his Xfinity Series career. It also matched his career-high for top-10s in a single season, six. The finish showcased the continued improvement of his Brandonbilt Motorsports team.
“(My finish) says that we’re not here to just play given the right opportunity in the right circumstance,” explained Brown. “We’re going to pounce on it. I think they’ve all seen that; we’re earning a lot of these teams’ respect, which is definitely what’s needed. I think that they know that BMS isn’t here to play. We need these to make a run at the playoffs again.”
Of the 12 races this season, Brown has been unsponsored or had Brandonbilt Motorsports on his Chevrolet. More finishes inside the top-five and top-10 can help him build momentum to show potential sponsors. Brown has been one of the many in the industry to receive help from Marcus Lemonis and his companies. For the No. 68 team, it was Good Sam Club at Circuit of the Americas.
“The next best step for us is to take advantage of these days,” stated Brown. “When we have a great day, we’re getting some media coverage out of it. But it’s up to us now to really take it and run with it, blow it up, show it to sponsors, show it to everybody. I can go back to Marcus (Lemonis) and be like, ‘Hey man, can we pretend that Good Sam was on the car this weekend for the extra pay grade?’ But, no, it’s one of those things where I need to build on this.
“Our team needs to take this car, analyze it, figure out what we can do better the next time, because I can’t say confidently in the beginning of the day that we were going to be a top-10 speed car. I don’t know where we were on the charts. They don’t relay that to me. They just told me to go forward. I know that with the right circumstances we have the car to be there.”
Despite the top-five finish, Brown is still 13th in points. He is 17-points behind the cutoff, held by Michael Annett. Brown is 245-points behind leader Austin Cindric.
Next for Brown is the B&L Transport 170 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Featured Photo Credit: Photo by Alan Marler / Harold Hinson Photography