Brandon Brown made headlines in 2021 for two very different reasons. For starters, he won his first-ever Xfinity Series race at Talladega in October. Unfortunately, that momentous occasion was overshadowed by a chant started by a group of fans after the race, and it dogged him for the rest of the year.
This season there hasn’t been much to write home about for the small family team, earning just a pair of top-10 finishes through 16 races. This past weekend at Road America, Brown tied for his worst finish of the year at 34th. However, it’s how he got there that had everyone talking as he was victimized by Noah Gragson’s decision to wreck another car and was one of 13 cars involved in a massive pileup.
This week after time to heal from his injuries and reflect on everything that transpired, including NASCAR’s decision to penalize the JR Motorsports driver, the 28-year-old driver shared his thoughts during an interview and didn’t hold back, calling out the sanctioning body, the driver who started it all, and made an interesting suggestion on how Dale Earnhardt Jr. might be able to remedy the situation.
Brandon Brown suffers big hit in massive pileup at Road America
Brandon Brown never saw it coming. Instead, the No. 68 car, like so many others, helplessly drove at a high rate of speed into a cloud of dust and smoke on a straightaway at the four-mile circuit known as Road America.
Unfortunately, of the more than dozen cars involved, the Virginia native suffered the worst of it, his car weakly rolling out on the other side of the chaos only after it had violently slammed into the side of Tyler Reddick.
Brown exited his car and almost immediately collapsed to the ground in obvious pain. Fellow driver Myatt Snider, who was also collected in the crash, showed true sportsmanship, rushing over to the side of his fallen competitor before emergency personnel arrived on the scene.
Brown calls out NASCAR, Gragson, and JR Motorsports
This week Brown sat down for an interview with Frontstretch, where he offered details of what happened to him and how he’s slowly recovered from his injuries. The Xfinity driver was asked his thoughts on the incident and where he stood on the issue of overaggressive driving. He didn’t hold back and made an eye-opening request to how JR Motorsports could help the situation.
“NASCAR didn’t really want to do anything until it got pretty big on social media,” Brown said of the penalty issued to Gragson. “I get it. They have to try and keep the drivers happy but at the same time they have to be the parent of us, the sanctioning body. So they had to do something after it had blown up, basically on Twitter.
“Noah had reached out and called me and apologized already this week but just looking at that incident as a whole, I mean everybody has pretty much sugarcoated what he’s done, and he’s getting a little bit of a slap on the wrist for it. It comes down to NASCAR’s leadership, JR Motorsports’ leadership. If they accept this driving and it’s something that they’re OK with, then whatever, don’t do a thing. But if they’re actually upset about it then they probably need to do something about it because a team like mine — I told Noah on the phone, we struggle. We don’t have a lot of resources. We can’t rely on — we destroyed too many cars; let’s go grab one of my teammates’ to get us by. We’re basically out of road course cars, and we’re going to have to figure out what to do there.
“It’s up to Noah’s team’s leadership to help him mature. Obviously, he’s not maturing as fast as need be to move him up into the Cup Series. We don’t have the resources they have. You’d think that maybe that kind of team would reach out, like, ‘Hey guys, maybe we can spare you a little something to help you out.’
Brown says Gragson hasn’t learned anything
Brandon Brown suggesting that JR Motorsports might offer to help out his team is an interesting suggestion but unlikely to happen. He said when looking at the totality of the situation, including the penalty, Gragson didn’t learn anything from what happened.
“When it comes to destroying your stuff, his stuff, and everybody else’s stuff, all because you’re having a temper tantrum because he’s racing you pretty hard and he’s hitting you, there’s no room for it,” Brown said. “It’s not called for and it’s up to Noah to take the responsibility, but it’s also up to his team and to NASCAR.
“Just kind of a bummer how that situation was handled. I’ve seen it on Twitter where they fined him $35,000, and I was like, ‘Oh, that doesn’t really math up to the $80,000 race car that I lost, plus the 31, plus the 48. We can go down the line of people. It doesn’t really do anything. I don’t think this is going to be something that is going to change Noah or how he drives or how his attitude is on the track. It’s going to take something way bigger to help that kid learn how to mature a lot faster.”
Gragson mocks penalty
Brown’s comments about the penalty not having an impact on Gragson proved to be true just hours later. That’s when the JR Motorsports driver took to Snapchat where he posted multiple items, including trading cards of drivers and his race-winning trophy and sword from the 2020 Bristol race, and asked his followers to hit him up with their best offers.
The 23-year-old driver was clearly mocking the fine amount, which won’t sit well with Brown and the other teams who had cars damaged. And it showed that Gragson hasn’t learned anything from the whole mess he started and likely won’t until something big happens, as Brown suggested, like losing his ride.