CONCORD, N.C. – Brian Brown just wanted to finish all the laps in his final sprint car race of the year at The Dirt Track at Charlotte on Saturday.
The night before, he suffered his ninth DNF in 18 races, as another mechanical mishap thwarted a promising run.
Not only did Brown complete every lap in the World of Outlaws Last Call on Saturday, but he finished fifth, turning in one of his best performances of the year.
It’s Brown’s first top five since Sept. 6, when he finished third at Selinsgrove Speedway in Pennsylvania.
“I just wanted a night of nothing happening,” Brown said. “This is a good way for us to go into the offseason. We’ve had some bad luck. Some of it has been self-inflicted wounds. This is a good opportunity for us to go into the offseason with a good feeling and get ready for 2021.”
Saturday also marked Brown’s first top five since the stretch of misfortune began. In the first 39 races, Brown failed to finish only six features.
His 40th race is when the bad luck started to snowball, when Brown recorded three straight 23rd-place finishes during Port Royal Speedway fair week.
The 2020 Knoxville Raceway champion found life on Saturday at the most opportune time. He started the night qualifying fourth in his flight with a lap of 12.831 seconds and eventually advanced to the dash.
Brown started third in the feature, behind 2020 World of Outlaws champion Brad Sweet and series runner-up Logan Schuchart, and maintained fourth 10 laps in.
Carson Macedo and Kerry Madsen got by Brown on a restart shortly after, shuffling him back to sixth. But Brown made his way back to fifth for good when Macedo’s left rear tire shredded with 11 laps to go.
Brown noticed his car was at its strongest on runs five laps or longer and more vulnerable on restarts.
The longest green flag run of the night came during the final 11 laps of the feature.
“I felt like, in the first part of that race, I needed it to go green,” Brown said. “The longer runs were better for me if we had a five- or six-lap run. My air [in the tires] would go down or my air would get up in race conditions, then the yellow would come out. So, I had three or four laps of just trying to maintain.”
Brown finishes the year with four wins in the 410 and a pair of victories in the 360. He also added a second straight title in the 410 at Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway and now enters the offseason with something to feel good about.
“With the Outlaws, against this competition, this is a good night for us,” Brown said. “Should’ve run fourth at the best and we ran fifth. I feel like this is something we can build on.”