DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A third-generation driver, 15-year-old Grant Brown has achieved a family first: A NASCAR national championship.
The Prior Lake, Minnesota, teen became the first in his family to win a title when he was crowned the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division IV champion while racing at Elko Speedway in Minnesota.
“It feels really good to be the champion,” said Brown. “We came a really long way in a short period of time. It wasn’t handed to us, we worked really hard and earned the title. It was a cool experience and a fun ride.”
Brown earned six wins, 15 top fives and 18 tops 10s and the track championship in Elko’s Pepsi Powerstock division, a title he was gunning for after coming close to winning it last year during his rookie season.
At the end of last season, Brown was tied with Nick Oxborough in the division standings with 922 points. Brown ended up losing to Oxborough via the track’s tiebreaker; Oxborough had three wins to Brown’s none.
“It was a pretty good season for us,” Brown said of his 2015 run. “We had six feature wins and four heat wins and we were consistent. We lost the track championship last year, so we wanted redeem ourselves this year and earn some wins to avoid a similar situation.”
There to help along the way was Brown’s dad, Doug, a fellow Elko competitor and four time track champion in the track’s Big 8 Division.
“My dad always gives me solid advice,” said Brown. “He gives me tips on how to get better and how to beat the competition. When I started to move up and battle for both titles, he would tell me to be consistent and that I didn’t need to wreck to win, I just needed to finish.”
He also had his grandfather former racer, Doug LeFebvre, in his corner as well.
“My grandfather raced in the early 90s,” Brown said. “He came out to the track a couple of times this season, but he always supported and offered advice when I needed it.”
Brown followed in his dad and grandfather’s footsteps and began competing in quarter midgets when he was just 5 years old. He moved up Elko’s ranks over the years and won their Bandolero division title in 2012.
When he’s not at the race track winning national titles, Brown is a normal teenager. He is attending high school and making plans for his future. He’s previously won a scholarship to the University of Northwestern Ohio, and if racing doesn’t pan out, he plans to attend in order to study the business side of racing.
In fact, he found out he was the national champion while he was at school and most of his peers didn’t even know he was competing for the title.
“My dad sent me the text while I was at school,” said Brown. “He sent me a phone number and said I needed call. I spoke with someone at NASCAR and they told me I was the Division IV champion, then I went back to class.
“Most of my classmates were and still are unaware. Only my friends knew I was competing for a track and national championship. So the day went on as normal.”
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division II through V drivers are ranked by their best 14 NASCAR points finishes in series-sanctioned events. Drivers receive two points for every car they finish ahead of – up to 18 cars – and three points for a win, with an additional two points available if the driver starts 10th or lower.
Brown finished with 470 points, to edge defending champion AJ Sanders (464) and Glenn Forward (462). Sanders races at North Carolina’s Bowman Gray Stadium and Caraway Speedway, while Forward competes at New York’s Utica-Rome Speedway.
One person who shared Brown’s joy about his new championship title was his father.
“He was so excited,” Brown said. “It was not only my first championship, but the first national championship my family has won. It’s a great experience for not only me and my family, but my team as well.
“This season wouldn’t have been possible without them. My mom and dad, my crew chief Mark Berg, the team: Mike, Chris, Darrell, Doug and Mike. Along with my sponsors Advance Auto Parts, Doug’s Auto Service and Matt’s Engine’s. Without them and everyone else who supported my throughout the year, none of this would be possible.”
Brown and his family will celebrate his titles at the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards on Dec. 11 at the Charlotte Convention Center and NASCAR Hall Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“We can’t wait to go to Charlotte to celebrate,” said Brown. “We’re really looking forward to it.”
Established in 1982, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series is NASCAR’s national championship program for weekly short track auto racing. In all, 58 paved and dirt series tracks throughout the United States and Canada participated in 2015.
Connecticut-based Whelen Engineering is the series’ title sponsor. Whelen Engineering is a leading manufacturer of automotive, aviation, industrial and emergency lighting. NASCAR tracks and pace cars are among the many showcases for Whelen products.
-NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications Press Release. Photo credit: Martin DeFries/Redline Graphics