When SRX heads to Knoxville Raceway on June 19, racing superstars from various disciplines will be joined by four-time and defending Knoxville 410 track champion Brian Brown. It was announced last week that he would join the likes of Tony Stewart, Willy T Ribbs, Tony Kanaan and many more drivers in the “Balboa Car” for the second race of the Superstar Racing Experience.
The Missouri driver joined Speed51.TV’s “The Bullring” to talk about his selection to take part in the SRX event at the track where he has seen most of his success over the years. It has been an opportunity Brown has been looking forward to ever since receiving the call from SRX co-owner Ray Evernham.
“I knew that Tony (Stewart) and Ray (Evernham) had put a deal together that was almost like an IROC Series 2.0 and I was really excited when I heard they were putting it together. I’ve had to keep this under my wing for a while, I’ve known it for about a month,” Brown said. “Ray called and said, ‘Hey, we’re having this series and would you like to be a part of it at Knoxville as our Balboa Driver, our underdog driver that’s maybe never got the chance to get on the national scene.
“Man, just what an opportunity for a guy like myself to be a part with the who’s who of racing, whether it be Tony or Bill Elliott or Helio Castroneves, the list goes on and on. To be in a race with those guys is an honor and hopefully I can go there and represent our dirt track at Knoxville well not only for the track, but for the fans also. I’m looking forward to it.”
While he has over 20 years of experience behind the wheel of a Sprint Car, his time in a fendered machine can be boiled down to a single race. That start came in a charity race at Missouri State Fair Speedway, which was won by a driver he will compete against when SRX rolls into town in June.
“I did one time a long time ago, it was a charity race in Sedalia, Missouri. One of the guys got sick or didn’t show up or was hung over or something. They said hey, there’s this car here and we need you to drive it. I went out and hot lapped it and spun it out three times. I came in and told the guys working on it whatever you do, just get it to where this thing won’t spin out. We ended up running second to Tony Stewart.”
Brown’s resume at the half-mile is nothing short of legendary. He’s a five-time Knoxville Raceway track champion between 360 and 410 Sprint Cars. He is also a former winner of the Knoxville 360 Nationals and Capitani Classic. While he has yet to win the biggest race of them all, he finished second in the Knoxville Nationals three years in a row from 2012-2014. His 58 total 410 wins ranks fifth all-time.
For Brown, each win at Knoxville carries special meaning.
“A lot of them stick out, your first one is just a big as any just because I dreamed of going and racing there as a kid and then when you win a race you’re like this is pretty cool. In 2012, 2013 and 2014 we won the preliminary nights during the Knoxville Nationals. Just because of the stage you’re on and the eyes that are on Knoxville I feel like those are some of the biggest ones.
“They’re all special, when you come off of turn four and you get to go to victory lane at Knoxville, no matter where they are in the country everybody knows who won at Knoxville on Saturday night. All of those wins are important, especially since you never know when your next one’s going to come. All of them are important and we cherish them always.”
While he’s looking forward to the opportunity with SRX, he is unsure as to what to expect come race day. When the time comes, he hopes to perform well for the Sprint Car community at Knoxville and around the country.
“I don’t really know what to expect, honestly. I figure we’ll be going a lot slower than what we would be with a Winged Sprint Car there, I think the biggest thing will be how do I get it to turn, what happens when I use the brakes, just normal, general thinking of these race cars. I really don’t think there’s going to be a huge advantage for anybody just because everybody comes from different disciplines of racing.”
Click here to watch a replay of “The Bullring.”
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Brian Brown Twitter