Race Weekend Central

Tough Luck Doesn’t Stop Will Brown, Cam Waters from Enjoying Cup Debuts

SONOMA, Calif. — Sunday’s (June 9) NASCAR Cup Series race at Sonoma Raceway was full of international star power, as Australians Will Brown and Cam Waters crossed over from the Supercars Championship to make their Cup debuts.

The two stars from Down Under have combined to win 20 Supercars races, and Brown impressed in Friday’s (June 7) practice session by posting the third-fastest lap. He was only able to qualify 24th on Saturday (June 8), however, as a mysterious electrical issue plagued his No. 33 car.

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Sonoma: The Race JGR Would Like to Forget

Brown and the Richard Childress Racing team went to work in trying to diagnose and fix the problem, but it unfortunately returned about 20 laps into Sunday’s race. Brown was able to take the checkered flag after several extended pit stops, but he was out of the running and finished three laps down in 31st.

“We were a little bit concerned heading into [the race] because we couldn’t find much after qualifying to say why we had that electrical gremlin, and they never generally go away,” Brown told Frontstretch.

When the No. 33 car was at full power to start the race, Brown showed a tremendous amount of speed and poise, as he jumped from 24th to 10th in just over a dozen laps.

The mechanical woes sadly wiped out any chance for Brown to record a solid finish or even challenge for the win, but he still had a great time in his first NASCAR outing and expressed interest in returning for more.

“[The issue] came back in towards the end of stage one, but the start of the race was pretty cool,” Brown said. Those restarts were hectic, and I felt like I was picking people off each run, which was cool, and I think I got as high as 10th in that first stage, which was really cool.

“Overall, it was awesome to come over here and experience Cup. I’d love to run it back, and hopefully we get the opportunity one day.”

Waters started his day in 31st, and he slowly made progress up the running order through stage one and the start of stage two. Things went haywire for Waters and the RFK Racing No. 60 team on lap 35, however, as Josh Berry locked up the brakes in turn 11 and set off a 10-car crash.

Waters kept the car straight, but he got squeezed in the corner and sustained significant damage to the nose of his car after contact with Berry (No. 4), Austin Dillon (No. 3) and Martin Truex Jr. (No. 19).

The team was able to continue on after the crash, but nose and steering damage plagued the car to where Waters had to pull it into the garage after completing 66 of the 110 laps.

“We just had too much damage, heaps of steering damage and we kept trying to fix it,” Waters told Frontstretch. “And then we had kind of another little incident right at the end there which bent the car, so bit of a shame.”

Just like Brown, Waters loved the experience despite the early end to his day.

“That first kind of run before that I was having so much fun,” Waters said. “It was awesome out there; car was really speedy. I can’t thank RFK and all our sponsors enough really for making this happen. It’s a bucket list for me to come here and do this, and I’ve had a lot of fun this weekend.”

About the author

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Stephen Stumpf is the NASCAR Content Director for Frontstretch and is a three-year veteran of the site. His weekly columns include “Stat Sheet” and “4 Burning Questions.” He also writes commentary, contributes to podcasts, edits articles and is frequently at the track for on-site coverage.

Can find on Twitter @stephen_stumpf.

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Drew

That’s unfortunate for him and this is a tough break for the 33 team.

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