SELINSGROVE, Pa. (September 16, 2017) - Adding to a rapidly expanding resume, “Blackjack” Brian Brown ruled Central Pennsylvania soil on Saturday evening during his visit to Selinsgrove Speedway, claiming the 35th Annual Jim Nace Memorial/National Open with the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions.
The Grain Valley, Missouri, native led all 30 circuits at the historic venue to score the $8,000 payday, ultimately crossing under the final checkers ahead of a pair of Central Pennsylvania’s finest, Brock Zearfoss and Greg Hodnett.
The Arctic Cat All Star victory was the first of Brown’s career, also becoming the 16th different Arctic Cat All Star winner at the Selinsgrove half-mile in 16 starts.
“My engine builder over here, Charlie Garrett, used to build the engines for Jim Nace’s car, as well as be good really good friends with him. Charlie told me that if I could only win one race in Central Pennsylvania, let it be the Jim Nace Memorial,” Brian Brown explained, driver of the Casey’s General Store/FVP/Impact Signs/No. 21. “This one is for Charlie Garrett. This trophy is going back to his shop. What an awesome job by this whole team. We love coming out here. The fans in this area of the country know how to support sprint car racing. Everyone knows how special this race is. This is definitely a dream come true; unbelievable.”
Despite leading all 30 circuits, Brown’s campaign at the top of the running order did not go completely uninterrupted. A series of cautions, two of which on lap four for back-to-back red flag incidents, were obvious distractions for Brown. Traffic came into the picture for the first time on lap eight which held up Brown just enough to allow James McFadden, Brock Zearfoss and Greg Hodnett to track down the race leader. By lap ten, the top-four were racing nearly nose-to-tail while navigating through slower cars. In Brown's favor, a caution on lap 13 would end any further challenges by those racing behind him.
The main event’s final caution on lap 22 set up a clear track and clean air for Brown, not reaching the tail of the field again until the mid-point of lap 29. The former Knoxville (IA) Raceway track champion was chased to the checkers by recently crowned Port Royal Speedway champion, Brock Zearfoss, and Greg Hodnett.
“I glanced up at the scoreboard a few times and saw [Greg Hodnett] was moving around,” Brown stated. “I knew I had to go out there and lay down some good laps. I got beat last week by trying to save my tires and be smarter than everyone else. It was ‘win it or put it in the fence’ tonight and here we are.”
“Any half-mile really fits my style,” Brown said. “This is just a testament to our whole team. They gave me a phenomenal car here tonight. It’s not easy to just come out here and run in Pennsylvania for a month. It takes a lot of time and preparation. It takes everyone to believe in us and say ‘go out there and have some fun.’”
For the final time this season, the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions will headline competition in the Keystone State, this time paying a visit to the oldest active dirt track in the state.
Bedford Fairgrounds Speedway in Bedford, Pennsylvania, will host Tony Stewart’s Arctic Cat All Stars on Sunday evening, September 17; the second appearance of the season, as well as the sixth in Series history. Washington native, Trey Starks, is the most recent winner during Arctic Cat All Star competition at the Bedford half-mile, holding off Dale Blaney and Lucas Wolfe for a $5,000 payday on April 30, 2017.
Bedford Fairgrounds Speedway officials will allow pit access beginning at 4 p.m. on Sunday, September 17. The mandatory drivers meeting will take shape at 5:30pm, followed by hot laps at 6 p.m. More information can be found on the Web at www.bedfordspeedway.com.
All Star Circuit of Champions, Brian Brown
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