Brandon Brown Has Outgrown His Family’s Team and Deserves a Bigger Shot in the NASCAR Xfinity Series

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Brandon Brown during qualifying for the 2022 Xfinity Series Crayon 200

NASCAR Xfinity Series regular Brandon Brown is back to making news on the race track this season and has had enough success to earn a promotion to a more well-funded organization – if that is what he desires.

Brown finished a season-best third Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (after Landon Cassill and Noah Gragson were disqualified) and led 12 laps midway through the race. That result bumped him up to 13th in the points standings and one spot shy of a position in the Xfinity Series playoffs, although he is still a hefty 61 points behind Cassill in 12th.

Still, Brown’s accomplishments this season with his single-car, family-owned Brandonbilt Motorsports team have been impressive. For perspective, Brown currently sits higher in the points standings than Richard Childress Racing’s Sheldon Creed, who won the 2020 Camping World Truck Series championship.

He also has out-paced former Cup Series driver Anthony Alfredo, 2018 Truck Series champ Brett Moffitt and former RCR driver Myatt Snider.

Ryan Sieg is 11th in the standings and runs for a two-car, family-owned team. But Brown is at the top of the class among single-car family operations in the series less than a year after his first and only career victory devolved into a swirl of political commentary.

Brandon Brown’s first NASCAR win was turned into a political statement

Brown has raced in NASCAR in some form since 2014, when he ran three races for his father, Jerry Brown, who still owns the Brandonbilt organization today despite a cancer scare in 2020.

The organization did not take Brandon full-time racing until he was 25 years old in 2019, when he ran the full Xfinity Series schedule. He registered his first career top-10 finish with a sixth-place run in the July race at Daytona International Speedway and finished 15th in the points standings.

He improved the following year with six top-10s, including his first career top-five with a fifth-place run in the fall race at Texas Motor Speedway, and made the 12-car Xfinity Series playoff field. He ultimately finished a career-best 11th in the points standings.

Still, he did not yet have a win.

That triumph came late in the 2021 season in the fall race at Talladega Superspeedway. Brown led the final eight laps of a race that was shortened by six laps because of darkness. It was Brown’s career-defining moment to that point, but his post-race interview on the frontstretch quickly turned into a storyline much larger than his first career victory.

Fans chanted a phrase in disapproval of the President of the United States, and the NBC reporter thought the chant was  “Let’s Go Brandon!” That immediately turned into a political code phrase and spread throughout the country.

Brown had become famous, but his fame came from what happened around him rather than his actual accomplishment. He suddenly had to battle the idea he was nothing more than a NASCAR caricature in a similar fashion to drivers such as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Danica Patrick, and Bubba Wallace have had to fight against the idea they were on the track more because of their fame than their talent.

Brown has had enough success to warrant attention beyond his Talladega win

Brandon Brown during qualifying for the 2022 Xfinity Series Crayon 200
Brandon Brown looks on during qualifying for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Crayon 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 15, 2022 | James Gilbert/Getty Images

Brown has done an admirable job this season with three top-10s and a career-high 28 laps led through the first 11 races off the 33-event Xfinity Series schedule.

It still might take a win to get Brown into the playoffs this season, but he has proven he has the talent to be a factor in the Xfinity Series with a single-car team. It’s now time for a larger team in the series to seriously consider Brown as an option for 2023, so long as his ambition is to rise through the NASCAR ranks rather than stick with his family’s team.

Brown is now 28 years old and has the baggage from the “Let’s Go Brandon” fame. Both of those factors could make it more difficult for teams to find sponsors to back him. His current team has had to piece together a schedule with five different sponsors to get him through this season.

However, Brown has outrun several drivers with more accomplished backgrounds and drivers at larger organizations with more resources. 

He deserves at least a chance to see what he could do with a fully funded team at one of the established organizations in the sport.

All stats courtesy of Racing Reference

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