“That dream of winning a race never went beyond victory lane…with all that happens after winning, there were a lot of new faces that I thought I could quickly trust. I followed what they were saying, thinking they had my and the team’s best interests in mind. Looking back, I would love to change so many things.”Brandon Brown
Perhaps there has been no story more turbulent in the world of NASCAR than the saga of Xfinity series driver Brandon Brown. Last October, Brown experienced what could be defined by many race fans as the American Dream with a memorable first NASCAR win at Talladega Superspeedway driving for his comparatively underfunded family race team. Mere moments later, what transpired on the frontstretch of the famed Alabama speedway and its subsequent fallout have been burned into our collective memory. The story since that day of Brandon, the chant bearing his name, and the trials of his family race team have been an uncomfortable narrative for the last 10 months. Still, for all the challenges and struggle, Brandon Brown hasn’t yet lost his passion as a professional race car driver.
“I mean, yeah, from October to now, there’s been a ton of change” says Brandon Brown in an interview with TehBen.com. “We’ve had partnership troubles. Not everything has been positive, but still, I show up to the track every weekend, strap into the racecar, and I get to escape from the world a little bit.”
While Brandon Brown was able to compete in the first 19 events of the season in the 68 car, which included three top 10 finishes, a lack of sponsorship funding required Brown’s family team Brandonbilt Motorsports to make the tough decision to use other funded drivers for a number of races. This has forced Brandon Brown to seek out other opportunities for several of this season’s races. Thankfully due to Brown’s win at Talladega combined with an earned reputation for strong performances, the Virginia native was able to secure rides with Mike Harmon Racing and most recently B.J. McLeod Motorsports. As such, Brown has still competed in all 22 races to date on the Xfinity series schedule.
“It adds perspective to the race weekend,” continues Brown on the subject of racing for other teams. “Driving for BMS at a superspeedway, the goal is to win. Driving for B.J. McLeod is about giving a car a good showing and making points. Driving for Mike Harmon is about making the show first and then racing as good as you can, which [Harmon] was very forward with me about. When you’re in different cars for different teams you can hone in on your strategies and focus on learning what you can do which will help in the long run when I go back to the 68.”
Despite the struggles of the 68 Brandonbilt team in regards to sponsorship, new partnerships have still come to fruition which both Brandon and the team have been proud of. “There’s been a lot of negatives, but some positives too. A really big positive was meeting the folks from Zero FG [Energy Drink]. Working with such a young company and starting a new partnership has been a great opportunity to help distribute their product to NASCAR fans and develop this awesome relationship with their brand.”
“Brandon deserves his name back.”Vic Reynolds of Larry’s Hard Lemonade
Another opportunity that’s presented itself for Brandon Brown is the rare chance to truly turn over a new leaf. Larry’s Hard Lemonade, perhaps best known as the sponsor on the 68 car when Brandon Brown won that now infamous race at Talladega, felt a great deal of the negativity that came with the associated fallout of the political aspect of the background noise. “Many believe that Larry’s Hard Lemonade withdrew its sponsorship of Brandon Brown because of a disagreement between Brandon and myself, however that’s something I would like to address as false” states Vic Reynolds of Larry’s Hard Lemonade in a press release. “Shortly after Talladega there were a handful of new team affiliates who I felt were influencing some of the team’s decision making in ways I did not agree with – and for that reason alone, is what ultimately led to the decision for Larry’s to withdraw its sponsorship.”
However despite the tension, Brandon Brown and Larry’s Hard Lemonade have had a special relationship that far predates any controversy, and is one which Brandon Brown speaks of fondly.
“You can’t ask for much more out of a partner than the support that I’ve had from the entire Larry’s Hard Lemonade organization, and at Daytona it’s like we’re bringing things full circle.”
“You can do a thousand great things, but one blip on the radar can drastically affect your entire life. I understand what it’s like to be given a second chance, and I feel strongly that Brandon deserves the same opportunity to continue pursuing greatness.”Vic Reynolds of Larry’s Hard Lemonade
For the Daytona Xfinity series race on Friday August 26th the Brandonbilt number 68, driven once again by Brandon Brown will feature a famous paint scheme, reuniting with Larry’s Hard Lemonade as the primary partner for the race. While the specific paint scheme will be a recreation of the winning Talladega car from 2021, including the same winning Brandonbilt chassis, having this car at Daytona International Speedway marks an occasion when the Larry’s Hard Lemonade colors first were on the 68 machine at Daytona in February of 2020.
Going back still further to their first interactions in 2019, the relationship between Brandon Brown and Larry’s Lemonade has been more than a decal on a stock car, as Brown explains: “Having [Larry’s] in your corner when you need somebody most, they’ve always been there from the beginning…they’ve always been helping me navigate business marketing things off the track, and competition things on the track. Having all this together allows us to work even closer, and we can work on each other’s goals.”
“I know Brandon to be a talented race car driver and a great human being, whose character has been put into question over previous decisions that were out of his control.”Vic Reynolds of Larry’s Hard Lemonade
As Brandon Brown continues his NASCAR journey he’s quick to recognize the benefit of the past relationships, but even quicker to recognize what’s needed going forward. “Bringing Larry’s to Daytona where it all began allows me to work with them on their goals in the Florida market. Larry’s Hard Lemonade really wants to get their products into this market, and I think having the car here at Daytona will grab a lot of attention. Maybe this will capture the attention of those in the area that might want to give Larry’s a shot in their stores.”
“I want to see Larry’s Lemonade at any and every store possible. Larry’s Lemonade has given me a shot at all of my goals, and now I want to give them a shot at theirs.”
Catch the Brandon Brown driven Larry’s Hard Lemonade Brandonbilt number 68 racing in the Wawa 250 Powered by Coca-Cola NASCAR Xfinity Series race from the Daytona International Speedway on Friday August 26th at 7:30 pm et on the USA Network.
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