MESQUITE, Texas — Taking his second career Lucas Oil ASCS victory at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in the 40th annual Winter Nationals was icing on the cake for Brian Brown who capped his birthday with a $4,000 check.
His fourth triumph of the season against the Lucas Oil ASCS presented by MAVTV American Real, racers saw Brown start from eighth and guide his Casey’s General Store No. 21 through the field.
Grabbing fourth in the opening corners, Brown’s charge wasn’t done there as the Missouri veteran raced the high side to second before the first lap was completed.
Trailing polesitter Wayne Johnson, the caution flag waved on the second lap, setting up Brown’s attempt at the lead.
Timing the Oil Medics No. 77x off the turn four restart, Brown rolled to the center of turn one. Pulling even with Johnson exiting turn two, the pair drag raced for the inside groove of turn three with Brown edging Johnson for the top spot.
Asked how much of a gamble it was to vacate the stronger inside line, Brown replied, “I talked to my crew chief, Chad, before the race there and thought, you know, what about just giving something a shot? I’ve seen guys do it in the past and make something happen. We got a really good start and I was able to get a good run there. I knew starting eighth it was going to be tough.”
At speed following a caution on lap six, Brown began slowly pulling away from the field. Advancing into slower traffic on lap 14, timing was everything as Johnson began closing the gap.
As the race for the lead began taking shape, it all broke loose on lap 16 as slower cars nearly made contact in front of the leaders, ultimately squeezing the No. 29 of Brandon Hahn to the infield, which sent the rookie driver spinning, leaving Brown little room for escape. However, Joshua Hodges and Johnson were not so lucky.
Plowing into the back of Hahn with nowhere to go, the No. 74x of Hodges went skyward, slamming the door on Johnson’s escape route with contact between the pair sheering the top wing from the Oil Medics No. 77x.
“I almost got clobbered there on the back stretch. I actually had a rock come up and hit me upside the head and knock me a little loopy,” Brown said. “I don’t know, it may have straightened me out a bit.”
The final revolutions yielded no challenge and Brown beat Tony Bruce Jr. to the checkered flag by 1.637 seconds.
“We’re just happy to be on the front straightaway at the end of the night,” said Bruce. “We’ve got the entire Oil Medics crew out here so we’re happy to run good for them, plus my Dad is here tonight. This whole thing is a big family effort out here. Unfortunately we came up one spot short. Brian had nothing to lose and everything to gain starting that far back and going to the top.”
Aaron Reutzel finished third ahead of Seth Bergman and Jack Dover.
Brian Brown, Tony Bruce Jr., Aaron Reutzel, Seth Bergman, Jack Dover, Jeff Swindell, Channin Tankersley, Jason Johnson, Logan Forler, Travis Rilat, Brad Loyet, Brady Bacon, Christopher Bell, Johnny Herrera, Dustin Morgan, C.J. Johnson, John Carney II, Wayne Johnson, Brandon Hahn, Joshua Hodges, Sam Hafertepe Jr., Andy Shouse, Harli White.