Brandon Brown, one of NASCAR’s young guns, continues to climb the ranks with his family-owned team. Brown and Brandonbilt Motorsports will move up to the NASCAR XFINITY Series for at least 10 races in 2017, the team tells Frontstretch, jumping to the higher division while focusing its funding on select events.
The team is “90 percent sure” it will be at Daytona International Speedway to kickoff the season in February. Jerry Brown, owner of Brandonbilt Motorsports, said they’ve got two chassis and are looking to purchase a used speedway car for the opening event. Either way, he’s committed to upping the ante while transitioning into NASCAR’s second-tier division.
“There are a lot of teams that are getting into [XFINITY] this year,” Brown said. “The Cup teams are piling in [XFINITY], and it’s going to be a very highly competitive series. It’s going to make it tough, but we’re going to give it our best shot.
“I’m stoked. I wish we had a bit more sponsorship to help us out, but we’re going to do with what we’ve got and make the best of it. I think we can still get in there and be somewhat competitive for an underfunded team. We’ll make the races and make a good showing. Brandon tends to out-drive the equipment, so all we’ve got to do is get him in the race and he can take care of the rest.”
Other races that the team will attempt to qualify for include Atlanta Motor Speedway (March 4), Richmond International Raceway (April 29), Dover International Speedway (June 3), Pocono Raceway (June 10), Kentucky Speedway (July 7), Bristol Motor Speedway (Aug. 18), Richmond (Sept. 8), Kentucky (Sept. 23), Charlotte Motor Speedway (Oct. 6) and Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 18).
The team is also hoping to compete at Darlington Raceway on Labor Day weekend due to its close ties with Coastal Carolina University, located 67 miles from the racetrack.
Adam Brenner, who has been with Brown since he debuted in the Truck Series in 2014, will lead the team atop the pit box. The group, which consists of just three full-time employees, has a tight-knit bond they hope will help ease the transition against well-funded multi-car rivals.
“Nobody on our team has been a part of any other NASCAR team,” Brown said. “We’ve all been together since late models, so we’re stepping up and learning together, which makes it a lot harder. But the harder the task, the sweeter the reward.”
Coastal Carolina University will move up with Brown to help sponsor his car. In 13 Truck Series races last year, the university was the primary sponsor for five races as well as for his second XFINITY Series start at Kansas Speedway.
“They are the concrete reason why I am able to do this,” Brandon Brown, 23, said. “They allow me to attend school and race. Having to pay for college tuition and then fund a race team on top of that, it would put us in a big financial [hole].”
Brandonbilt Foundations and WG SPEEKS will also continue their partnerships with Brandonbilt Motorsports. WG SPEEKS will be on the car for the first race at Richmond.
The team, while moving up the ladder, is looking to sell its four-truck chassis originally purchased from GMS Racing. However, Brown will still compete in four Camping World Truck Series races in 2017. He will pilot the No. 86 Chevrolet at Martinsville Speedway (April 1), Charlotte (May 19), Eldora Speedway (July 19) and Martinsville (Oct. 28).
In 2016, Brown’s organization kicked off the season with a fourth-place finish at Daytona International Speedway in the Truck Series, a career best for the third-year Truck team. Brown went on to earn two more top 15s, including a 12th at Kansas, and finished 24th in the year-end standings.
Meanwhile, at Richmond International Raceway in September, Brown debuted in the XFINITY Series, finishing 29th at his hometown racetrack.
“I would say it’s a crucial year to reestablish ourselves as a team,” Brown said. “I think we were recognized in the Truck Series by other teams. When you show up to the track, they knew the No. 86 truck. We’re going to have to redo that process and now establish the No. 86 car in the XFINITY Series.”