Race Weekend Central

Brandon Brown’s Future Left Uncertain With Fourth-Place Finish at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – When Brandon Brown climbed out of his No. 68 Brandonbilt Motorsports Chevrolet after finishing fourth in Friday night’s (Aug. 26) NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Daytona International Speedway, he slumped over the roof of his car, helmet and HANS device still on his head. Dejected.

Then Brown released a loud, angry F-bomb that was heard above all the roaring crowd and pit road post-race flurry. With all the surrounding eyes now on him, he took off his helmet and dropped another bombardment of the dreaded consonant before slamming the safety equipment down in frustration.

After a year’s worth of work, Brown was close to qualifying himself into the Xfinity playoffs at Daytona, but more than that, he was one lap short from keeping his full-time status as a racecar driver alive. He finished fourth rather than what could’ve been the biggest career-saving win of the year.

And now, what comes next for 28-year-old is a mystery. Again.

Brown told Fronstretch July 26 it was likely he would not be returning to race at BMS full-time for the rest of 2022 as a result of lacking sponsorship. The team was going to be utilizing other drivers with sponsorship to drive the car, while Brown was left to fend for other less-funded rides with different teams.

However, in one of his last three scheduled races with BMS at Daytona, Brown had a unique opportunity to keep his full-time status with his No. 68 team alive. If he could qualify himself into the playoffs, he would likely be able to stay with his tried-and-true BMS race team.

See also
Jeremy Clements Shocks What Was Left of the Daytona Field With 2nd Xfinity Win

All he had to do was win.

“There’s so much riding on this race,” Brown told Frontstretch before Friday night’s 100-lap event. “Fingers crossed that we get in. Just try and win tonight and then focus everything on doing the best we can for this season.”

And he got close.

In typical Daytona fashion, Brown had to dodge what was a constantly increasing attrition rate of cars. Cautions bred cautions, and at the high-banked 2.5-mile oval these cautions were almost always from big crashes. With the onslaught of late-race yellows, it’s no wonder the event ended with three overtime restarts.

In fact, Brown was in one of them.

Yet despite being involved in one of the many big ones near the end, the wounded No. 68 miraculously survived enough to find itself in the top 10 on the final restart of the night. While his Chevrolet wasn’t nearly as fast as the competitors in front of him, AJ Allmendinger‘s certainly was, and the No. 16 Kaulig Racing car shoved Brown all the way to third before they had reached turn 1.

Brown, with a golden opportunity in his hands, reached second by the time they had found turn 3. With a full head of steam and no way for the leading Jeremy Clements to stop him, all Brown had to do was keep the No. 16 behind him and to secure a race win.

See also
Stock Car Scoop: Will Chaotic Daytona Cause Playoff Havoc?

A win that would springboard he and the efforts of the No. 68 team into playoff redemption. A race win that might secure a full-time ride for the 28-year-old Virginian that could revitalize his career. A race win that may even finally get all of the politically tied controversy that has plagued him for the last year off his back even if only a little bit.

But then he went high.

Allmendinger saw his shot and took it. The No. 16 swept low in turn 4 to challenge Clements for the lead. Brown was left hung to dry. In a manner of seconds, Brown fell from second to fourth while the caution flag waved and his chances at winning went away in front of him. The caution flag waved shortly after the field had taken the white flag, and the race had finally ended. Clements was awarded the win as he held off Allmendinger across the frontstretch.

“Honestly, looking back, it was my fault,” an emotional Brown told Frontstretch on pit road.I just made the move way too early on the No. 51. I needed to keep the No. 16 on my bumper. I was just going for it. It feels like everything was on the line today. I just wasn’t able to clutch it or pull it off.”

Brown finished fourth. Dejected on pit road during post-race, he had his thoughts on what he could have done differently and what had led him there.

“You set yourself up and say, ‘Look, this kid’s a driver.’ That’s all I wanted to do” continued Brown. “That’s all I ever wanted to do is drive and race for wins. It’s been a rough year. Really disappointed.”

Brown still has plans to race at Talladega Superspeedway and Texas Motor Speedway later this year with BMS.

However, for the foreseeable future, his full-time driving status may be in question.

About the author

Dalton Hopkins began writing for Frontstretch in April 2021. Currently, he is the lead writer for the weekly Thinkin' Out Loud column and one of our lead reporters. Beforehand, he wrote for IMSA shortly after graduating from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 2019. Simultaneously, he also serves as a First Lieutenant in the US Army.

Follow Dalton on Twitter @PitLaneLT

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Anon

What is with this site’s infatuation with Brandon Brown? And why is it always the same writer writing these fluff pieces?

Bill B

Click bait. You realize he is the “Let’s Go Brandon” Brandon, right?

Shayne

NASCAR and NBC decided to keep screwing Brandon Brown with their partisan politics, rather than trying to help him. They threw Brandon under the bus because most NASCAR fans dislike our current president.

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