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Brian Brown (21) chases Shane Stewart at I-70 Motorsports Park. (TWC photo)

Brown Tracks Down Stewart At I-70

ODESSA, Mo. — Brian Brown scored a touchdown for the home team on Tuesday night, passing Shane Stewart in the closing laps for a FloRacing All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 victory at the revamped I-70 Motorsports Park.

The victory, occurring a mere 15 minutes from Brown‘s headquarters in Grain Valley, Mo., earned the defending Knoxville Raceway track champion a $7,000 payday, as well as a third- All Star victory.

Impressive, nonetheless, Brown was forced to do things the hard way during his homecoming, working ahead a total of four spots while battling by KCP Racing‘s Gio Scelzi and Shane Stewart. Brown took command on lap 29, stalking Stewart before sliding by the former Outlaw turned track promoter in turns three and four.

Stewart held on to finish second, followed by Gio Scelzi, All Star points leader Tyler Courtney and Kerry Madsen.

“To win a race with my Grandpa George here with us, my Uncle Danny, and my dad…it doesn‘t get any better than that, I can tell ya that,” Brown said. “When you have a crew like I do that tells you that ‘you‘re one of the best race car drivers here with one of the best cars,‘ it gives you a lot of confidence.”

Starting fifth on the grid, Brown‘s initial jump was good enough to power the No. 21 to third, now in pursuit of Scelzi and race leader, Stewart.

Besides a hiccup by Brown just after a caution on lap 12 to let Justin Peck move into third briefly, the top-three remained basically unchanged for the first 21 circuits. There were three cautions during that time period, but neither Scelzi nor Brown were able to capitalize.

Despite Stewart‘s ability to sail smoothly around I-70‘s half-mile, things heated up quickly when the frontrunners found the back of the field on lap 21.

With lappers maneuvering in Stewart‘s preferred line, the driver of the Indy Race Parts No. 71 struggled to get through, thus allowing Scelzi and Brown to close the gap in a hurry. By lap 22, the top-three were on top of each other, battling nearly three-wide through turns three and four.

The jumble allowed Brown to get by Scelzi, now setting aim on Stewart. A red flag incident on lap 24, ultimately leading to a fuel stop, gave Stewart a breather, but that‘s exactly what Brown needed.

The ensuing restart allowed Brown to stalk Stewart in clean air. Lap after lap, Brown made progress, making up most of his time in turn three. Brown made his winning move on lap 29, pulling even with Stewart on the bottom as the pair raced through turns three and four.

Although a final caution would force a green-white-checkered finish, and an extra lap to race, Brown hung tough.

“Danny (Lasoski) is the best in the world at running the bottom,” Brown continued. “So, if I can learn just a little bit from him, it‘s going to do a lot of great things for my career.”

“I‘m tired,” laughed Stewart during a post-race interview, who has not been in a sprint car in almost 10 months. “Driving a grader doesn‘t keep you in very good shape like driving a sprint car. Coming into tonight, if we were going to be a top-five car, I was going to be happy.”

The finish:

Feature (30 Laps): 1. 21-Brian Brown [5]; 2. 71-Shane Stewart [1]; 3. 18-Gio Scelzi [2]; 4. 7BC-Tyler Courtney [4]; 5. 14-Kerry Madsen [8]; 6. 13-Justin Peck [6]; 7. 26-Cory Eliason [10]; 8. 4-Cap Henry [9]; 9. 5-Paul McMahan [16]; 10. 17B-Bill Balog [13]; 11. 55-Hunter Schuerenberg [15]; 12. 3-Ayrton Gennetten [11]; 13. 91-Kyle Reinhardt [19]; 14. 25-Austin McCarl [17]; 15. 20G-Noah Gass [22]; 16. 11-Spencer Bayston [12]; 17. 7TZ-Tasker Phillips [14]; 18. 10-Zeb Wise [21]; 19. 18T-Tanner Holmes [20]; 20. 3P-Sawyer Phillips [7]; 21. 22-Riley Goodno [18]; 22. 83-Lynton Jeffrey [3]; 23. 47N-Marcus Dumesny [24]; 24. O7-Skylar Gee [23] Lap Leaders: Shane Stewart (1-28), Brian Brown (29-31)

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