* Tim Brown Hoping to Capture Elusive First Championship * Southern National Raceway Park News, Notes and History * Spotlight on Official Luther Potts Brown Continues Chase for Elusive First NASCAR championship KENLY, N.C. -- NASCAR...
* Tim Brown Hoping to Capture Elusive First Championship
* Southern National Raceway Park News, Notes and History
* Spotlight on Official Luther Potts
Brown Continues Chase for Elusive First NASCAR championship
KENLY, N.C. -- NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour driver Tim Brown is the most consistent driver in the business, a threat to win every weekend regardless of what track the 36 year-old Cana, Va., native is racing at.
Yet there's one nagging thing that's painfully missing from Brown's resume and trophy case -- a NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour championship.
In the short three-year history under the NASCAR banner, Brown has finished in the top five all three seasons. Brown finished fourth in 2005, but bounced back in 2006 and 2007 to finish a close second to, respectively, Junior Miller and defending Tour champion L.W. Miller.
The last two years, Brown has come up short of the championship by a mere 31 points.
Two-time champion Junior Miller beat Brown by six points in 2006, while Brown came up short to L.W. Miller last year by 25 points.
The pain of coming so close but ending up just short has been visible in the eyes of Brown, who recently took a full-time job for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series operation of Michael Waltrip Racing.
"The way we've lost the championship the last two years has been kind of frustrating," Brown said. "I'd rather lose the championship by 100 points than five or 10 points. It's frustrating but then again it's kind of a relief knowing that we were in the hunt for the Whelen Southern Modified Tour championship the last two years until the very last lap of the year.
"It's going to be a relief when we finally do win one of these championships. I know this team is capable of winning a championship and I think we've proven that the last two years. To finally win a NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour championship would be awesome and a dream come true for me."
Brown is just hoping that the 2008 season will be his breakthrough year and the driver of the No. 83 Hayes Jewelers Chevrolet gets to hoist the championship trophy.
"I'd like to think I'm capable of winning the championship every year," Brown said. "I've got the best team and sponsors in the business and all the guys on the team work as hard as they can. For some reason, we've just come up short the last couple of years, and yes, it is frustrating. Then again, I look back to the people that we beat those last couple of years of points and we beat some very good drivers and teams.
"Those other teams work just as hard as we do and they're coming up even shorter than we are. It's kind of a Catch-22 because I know we're competitive and it's always in the back of our mind that this is the year we finally win the Whelen Southern Modified Tour championship. You have to go into it with the mindset that you're going to win a couple of races and battle for the championship.
"You can't go into it with the mentality that we're heading into the season and we're going to finish second in the championship standings again. If I thought that way, there wouldn't be any reason for me to show up to race."
Is there one individual that has been an influence in Brown's recent racing career who hasn't let him get down on himself as far as coming so close yet so short?
"There are so many people that have influenced my racing career that I really can't pinpoint just one person," Brown said. "So many people have helped me and complimented me -- as well as put me down. I went for a long time with the reputation as a driver that could only race and win at Bowman Gray (N.C.) Stadium. A lot of people don't know how much time and money it takes to run other races when I have a sponsor at Bowman Gray. A few years ago, it was money coming out of my own pocket if I wanted to race anywhere else.
"When NASCAR created the Whelen Southern Modified Tour it was a very big deal and really opened the gate as far as the exposure this Tour gets. I just hope that I've proven to all the people who didn't think I couldn't win anywhere but Bowman Gray Stadium wrong. I feel like I'm a contender every weekend on the Whelen Southern Modified Tour."
Brown, once again, showed he was going to be a championship contender in 2008 when his first competitive laps on the track at Caraway resulted in the Coors Light Pole Award.
"That was great because we had a brand new car and it was the first time out on the track," Brown said. "I'm glad we finished in the top five even though that's not what we wanted. We wanted to win. We had a new car and the handling just got a little loose on us. We know that now so we know what we need to work on with the car for the future.
"The good thing about it is we were able to load the car back on the trailer Saturday night at Caraway and it doesn't have a scratch on it. I know the motor and car are both strong, we just have to tweak on our handling a little bit, so I really think we're going to be fine."
Brown is well aware that the current focus is locked and loaded on Saturday evening's Night of Modifieds 150 at the picturesque Southern National Raceway Park in Kenly, N.C.
"I was lucky enough to win my second Whelen Southern Modified Tour race of the season there last year so I really love Southern National," Brown said. "I just hope we're as good at Southern National this Saturday night as we were last year.
"It really gives me and my team a lot of momentum going back to a track where we won the last race at. We're definitely going to have the same set-up in the car as we had last September.
"If we're as good at Southern National this year as we were there last year, I think everything is going to work out fine."
Many Top NASCAR Officials on Hand for Caraway Opener
For teams and drivers of the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, there were a lot of familiar and welcome NASCAR faces in the garage area and working the press box last Saturday at Caraway Speedway.
The bulk of special NASCAR guests on Saturday night at Caraway were based about 75 miles south in NASCAR's Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C. Many made the short trek to Russell Hackett's famed .455-mile short track for the 2008 season opener of the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour.
Many fans did a double-take when they saw retired NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Chad Little. Little was recently tabbed as the Series Director for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
Little will still maintain his duties as Director of Racing Development in Mexico.
Richard Buck, NASCAR's Director of Touring Series was on hand, as was Lynn Carroll, NASCAR Director of Weekly Racing.
Also in attendance last Saturday night at Caraway from the northern-based NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was Bill Kilts, who works as a technical inspector.
WITH HELP FROM FRIENDS
Tim Brown had several of his Sprint Cup Series cohorts on hand huddling around his car both before and after his fourth-place finish last Saturday night at Caraway (N.C.) Speedway.
Brown recently accepted a new job with Michael Waltrip Racing after working as a chassis specialist at Dale Earnhardt Inc.
"That was really cool to have those guys hanging around kind of relaxing and having a good time since the Sprint Cup Series had last weekend off," Brown said.
NAME: Luther Potts
RESIDENCE: Mocksville, N.C.
MARITAL STATUS: Married, Hilda
HOBBIES: Watching grandchildren play sports
OCCUPATION: Salesman for State Farm/Creamer Agency
OF INTEREST: Potts spent almost 30 years in the Army & Army Reserve
QUOTE: "A lot of people like my brother like to do stuff like play golf as a hobby, but my hobby is Whelen Southern Modified Tour racing because I love it and all the people so much."