SELINSGROVE, Pa. — 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, Mo., native led all 30 circuits at the historic venue to score the $8,000 payday, ultimately crossing under the final checkered flag 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, and he becomes the 16th different All Star winner at the Selinsgrove half-mile in 16 series appearances.
“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,” Brown said. “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 came 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 10, the top-four were racing nearly nose-to-tail while navigating through slower cars. In Brown’s favor, a caution on lap 13 ended 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, as he didn’t reach the tail of the field again until the mid-point of lap 29.
The former Knoxville Raceway track champion was chased to the checkers by recently-crowned Port Royal Speedway champion Zearfoss and Hodnett in the end.
“I glanced up at the scoreboard a few times and saw [Greg Hodnett] was moving around,” Brown said. “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,” he added. “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.’”
Full race results can be viewed on the next page…