The NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers headed to Talladega Superspeedway on October 2 to cap off a doubleheader Saturday. 12 drivers had the goal of stacking enough playoff points to move to the next round, but another driver played spoiler. Brandon Brown locked up the first-ever win of his NASCAR career.
The race came to an early end after a massive wreck brought out the caution flag. The drivers circled the track with Brown at the front of the pack, but the official did not wave the green flag again. NASCAR determined that the approaching darkness caused visibility issues and declared Brown the winner, setting the stage for his first-ever burnout.
“This is a dream come true!” Brown screamed during his post-race interview with NBC Sports. He explained that winning is everything he had ever hoped and dreamed for and that he finally had the opportunity to take the trophy home to his parents.
The win marks a major moment in Brown’s career. As the driver of a family-owned team, he has had to struggle throughout the years to get cars and sponsors for the Xfinity Series races. For example, he created a video in early June with the goal of adding some sponsors to the No. 68 team.
The plan worked, and several jumped on board to finish out the season. Brown worked with Haymaker Coffee, Jab’s Construction, Original Larry’s Hard Lemonade, and TradetheChain.com among others. He then repaid their support by winning at Talladega Superspeedway.
Final Stage Wrecks Collected Several Playoff Cars
The complexion of the race changed with 24 laps remaining in the race. Jeb Burton turned Brett Moffit, who hooked Noah Gragson and sent him violently into the wall, destroying the front of the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro. Another playoff driver, Myatt Snider, hit Gragson head-on and caused further damage to both stock cars while four other drivers crashed behind them. The red flag came out and brought the race to a stop for the second time while the track crews focused on cleaning up debris and repairing the outside wall.
Once the crews cleaned up the carnage, the drivers lined up once again for the restart with the goal of surviving to the end of the race. However, they had to deal with the approaching rain, the setting sun, and the potential of other crashes. As expected, a massive wreck occurred with only 10 laps remaining and set up yet another restart with Brandon Brown at the front of the wreck and Brandon Jones behind him.
The incident occurred when Brett Moffitt pushed the No. 20 of Harrison Burton, sending it to the left and into the side of Jordan Anderson’s No. 31. The hit sent the No. 20 back up the track where it hit the rear of Jeb Burton’s No. 10 and the front of Riley Herbst’s No. 98. The collision destroyed the front of Herbst’s stock car and also collected John Hunter Nemechek in the No. 54.
An Early Wreck Derailed a Championship Favorite’s Afternoon
Heading toward the race weekend at Talladega, there was one driver consistently creating conversations about his ability to win. AJ Allmendinger, the regular-season points champion, was the man to watch after he locked up four wins early. He is also a member of Kaulig Racing, the organization that won the last three Xfinity Series races at Talladega, as well as the previous race at Daytona.
Allmendinger did not get the opportunity to stack points due to a wreck that sent both him and Sam Mayer to the infield care center. The incident began when contact sent Mayer out of control. The No. 8 Chevrolet spun to the left and collided with Moffitt before rebounding up and slamming nose-first into the outside wall. Allmendinger had nowhere to go, and he collided with Mayer’s stock car, destroying the front end of the No. 16 Chevrolet Camaro.
Allmendinger entered the race at Talladega 59 points above the cutline, keeping him relatively safe. However, the 39th-place finish dropped him in the points standings and opened up opportunities for the other 11 drivers with the same championship hopes.