It’s a subject that has not been spoken about in years, at least not with the key player. December 3, 2006 was shaping up to be the most memorable day of Lickskillet, Alabama driver Johnny Brazier’s racing career. Instead, it was a day he would like to forget. Now, years after that day, he opens up about a dark day at Five Flags Speedway.
Let’s rewind the clock a bit. The 2006 season saw Johnny Brazier get off to a hot start on the Southeast Late Model circuit.
“2006 was a good year and bad year for us,” Brazier said. “We won the World Classic in the spring and that was the third time we had won that. We had won it in 1995 and 1999.”
From there, he went to the Rattler 250 and ran out of gas with nine laps to go while leading. That misfortune cost him $10,000. He would go on to finish second on two occasions later that summer before picking up another win in August at South Alabama Speedway.
That set the stage for the Snowball Derby where he set fast time on Friday night and led laps In the beginning stages of the race. Brazier would get tangled up in one of the race’s 12 caution flags, which resulted in damage to the left rear of his car. Despite the damage, he took the lead on lap 217 and drove away in a long green flag run to take the checkered flag.
However, two hours later the trophy changed hands in the tech line as Brazier was disqualified for a left-side weight violation.
“It sure did hurt,” Brazier said. “It wasn’t the money. it was about going down in the record books. It was about being on the t-shirt and being a race winner in that event.”
Speed51.com spoke to Brazier on that night in 2006 following his disqualification.
“My left side was 58.2-percent and they said they allowed 58.1-percent,” Brazier said. “That comes out to be about three pounds. After 300 laps, we were three pounds heavy on the left side.
“I don’t feel very good right now. I think I got a raw deal. Like I told (the officials), my car got hit in the left rear during the race. It got hit hard enough to knock my transponder off the car. It could have knocked the rear end over a little bit. If it knocked the rear end over even an eighth-of-an-inch, it would have picked up a ton of left side (weight).
“I just really feel like my rear end got moved over when I got hit out there. I have no control over that. I just won’t know until I get back to the shop. I just think I really got a raw deal. I mean, if I was going to cheat, I could have done it with more than one or two points of a percentage. This car was fast all weekend long. I didn’t need to cheat.”
Years later, Brazier can reflect on that night with a laugh and a smile because of the person he is, but the sting never goes away.
“Look, I am not going to say I have been a saint over the years. I have been caught cheating, but that was tough because it was damage to the car, not us trying to cheat,” he said.
Brazier is still racing today and won several times this season at Huntsville Speedway in northern Alabama. Although he is still race, he claims that what transpired on December 3, 2006 changed his racing career forever.
“That about quit me racing wise,” Brazier stated. “Because one of my sponsor guys got mad and that hurt our funding. He wasn’t mad at me; he was mad at racing. We went down there and worked our butts off and spent all that money. To get it taken away from you for less than three pounds is a tough pill to swallow.”
Brazier is still able to put deals together to run races like the All American 400, a race he finished ninth in during the 2019 season.
They say time heals all wounds, but whoever said that never lost a Snowball Derby victory in the tech line. When asked if he would ever return to the race, the answer was simple.
“No. I might have told you this before, but if you see me at the Snowball Derby then someone has dumped a whole bunch of money in my lap and said let’s go. I ain’t hurting them any by not going. They still get plenty of cars.”
-Story by: Elgin Traylor, Speed51 Southeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51Photos.com