Neil Brown Back In Contention For Title At Motordrome Pulliam’s National Point Lead At Two Months; Two Weeks RemainSeptember 7th, 2012
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Ten years after his most recent championship, Neil Brown is racing for a third NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track title. Brown and two other past champions will be chasing the 2012 NASCAR Late Model crown at Motordrome Speedway in Smithton, Pa., Saturday night.
Brown, 49, of Acme, Pa., was a two-time NASCAR champion at the former Jennerstown (Pa.) Speedway. Also in Motordrome’s 2012 title chase are defending track champ Barry Awtey who is 21 points behind, and past Motordrome and Jennerstown champion Garry Wiltrout who is 34 points back. The trio holds a total of seven NASCAR Late Model titles between the two tracks. The Jennerstown track has been inactive since the end of 2008.
Brown didn’t expect to be a title contender at Motordrome this year. A vacation and a 1,800-mile motorcycle ride with friends meant he would miss two race nights. Fate fell in the form of rainouts on the two race nights he was away.
“We do this for fun,” Brown said. “Point races can take the fun out of it. I’d rather focus on winning races than worry about points.
“It turns out we’re having one of our best years and we’ve been pretty dominant. We decided we better go for it.”
Brown’s racing record to date includes eight wins, 12 top fives and 14 top 10s in 15 starts. He’s sixth in the NASCAR state point race.
Just two weekends remain in the 2012 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national and state point races.
Lee Pulliam, 24, of Semora, N.C., completed his second month leading the national standings over the weekend. He made a single start Saturday at Southern National Motorsports Park, a .4-mile paved oval in Kenly, N.C. He placed sixth in a 75-lap feature event won by Deac McCaskill. McCaskill went on to win the day’s second 75-lap feature. Nate Monteith, Kingsport (Tenn.) Speedway’s 2011-12 Late Model champion, retains his second-place nation ranking with finishes of third and 11th in the Southern National events.
Pennsylvania dirt Modified driver Duane Howard jumped from eighth to third in national ranking this week. Howard, 49, of Oley, Pa., scored his ninth feature win and clinched his fifth track championship at Grandview Speedway in Bechtelsville,
Pa. The .333-mile banked clay oval’s final NASCAR Whelen All-American Series point race is this Saturday.
Two pavement Modified drivers round out the top five in this week’s national points. Keith Rocco, the series’ 2010 national champion dropped from third to fourth in the nation with a 13th-place SK Modified feature finish at Stafford Motor Speedway in Stafford Springs, Conn. Stafford track point leader Ted Christopher moved from seventh to fifth in points. Christopher, the series’ 2001 national champion, posted a win at Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway, a second at Stafford and a fourth at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway.
Rounding out the top 10 in national standings this week are Thompson Sunoco Modified point leader Ryan Preece, Virginia pavement Late Model driver and former national point leader C.E. Falk III, Southern National Late Model point leader McCaskill, Bowman Gray Stadium’s 2012 NASCAR Modified champion Tim Brown, and Midwestern dirt Late Model driver Jason O’Brien.
The top-10 drivers in final national point standings are locked-in to the NASCAR Late Model feature field at the UNOH Battle At The Beach at Daytona International Speedway Feb 18-19, 2013. NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Models will be featured along with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and NASCAR Whelen Modified Tours. They will race on a .4-mile temporary oval at The World Center of Racing.
Brown started his racing career in the NASCAR Late Model division at Motordrome and Jennerstown in 1997. He worked his way up to the 2001-02 Jennerstown championships. After I missed the 2004 Motordrome championship by two points, I said I’d never race for points again,” Brown said. Point racing had displaced the fun of his race nights.
He sold his three pavement Late Models and spent 2005-06 racing dirt Late Model races across the Keystone state. His biggest win was $5,000 in a special event. Brown returned to Motordrome’s half-mile paved oval in 2007 and through last season he raced part time, had fun and won a respectable amount of races each year. The exception was 2011 when he went winless.
“The chassis was bent and we didn’t realize it,” Brown said. “We bought a new Port City chassis over the winter.”
The fast race car exceeded his expectations for the season. Brown credits his crew chief for maintaining the car’s winning form. “Jim Ahlborn is an awesome crew chief. He’s on the phone every Monday with Harley (Boeve) at Port City to go over the car’s performance. Jim knows that car and communicates well about it.”
Ahlborn, his wife Brenda, Brown and race day crewman Dave Miller make up the team. Sponsors include Stan’s Transmission, Howard Concrete Pumping, Port City Chassis, and Brown’s family business Brown Timber and Land. A driver’s best 18 results through Sept. 16 are counted toward their states and national point totals, and the champions are decided on overall point total. Once a driver reaches 18 starts, their total would increase incrementally as they replace some poorer runs with better results. Under the point structure for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, the race winner receives two points for every car in the event up to 20 cars. Second place receives two fewer points and so on through the field. Race winners receive an additional five points. For example, if 20 cars are in the field, the winner receives 45 points, second place 38 and third 36. If there are 15 cars, the winner receives 35 points, second 28 and third, 26.
Track, state and provincial champions and the top-three finishers in the national standings earn invitations to the 2012 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards event. The ceremonies are scheduled for Friday, Dec. 7 at the Charlotte (N.C.)
Convention Center and NASCAR Hall of Fame.