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July 2, 2024

Tim Brown breaks down his milestone 100th victory at Bowman Gray Stadium

Saturday’s festivities at Bowman Gray Stadium saw veteran Tim Brown reach one of the few milestones he had yet to achieve in his storied career.

By fending off long-time rival Burt Myers in a 25-lap sprint race, Brown officially secured his 100th victory in Bowman Gray’s famous Modified division, much to the delight of the exuberant crowd that has both cheered and jeered him at different points since his debut race at the Madhouse more than 30 years ago.

Brown did everything possible to keep focus on his program and not let the anticipation of his pending 100th victory distract him. Once he got out of his car to celebrate with his crew and family on the frontstretch, a combination of relief and jubilation overcame the normally stoic driver.

“To be honest, it’s been really weird,” Brown said. “I’ve never focused my attention on a specific number of wins. When we won No. 99, all the media started talking about 100, 100, 100. That many wins at a single race track is pretty cool, so I needed to have my family [at Bowman Gray] these past few weeks in case I did win just to make it special.

“When I took that checkered flag, it was really cool knowing my wife and kids were there.”

Brown never imagined he would have 100 Bowman Gray victories on his resume after taking his first checkered flag on May 8, 1993.

Coming from a relatively poor background, Brown’s journey to the top of the Bowman Gray pedestal has been a meticulous grind. Not only did he have to procure the necessary resources to be competitive, but he also had to battle track stalwarts that included champions in Junior Miller, Robert Jeffreys and others.

Brown never let his circumstances stall out his determination, as hard work yielded his first Bowman Gray Modified championship in 1996. By the end of the 2022 season, Brown had amassed 12 Modified titles, more than any other driver in the Madhouse’s long history.

Increased costs and parity over the years have made maintaining consistency at Bowman Gray more strenuous for Brown. He stressed the importance of everyone that has assisted him through an ever-changing environment at Bowman Gray, adding he never would have sniffed 100 victories without the people around him.

“[On Sunday] after church, me and the family hung around the house and thought about how truly blessed I’ve been over the years,” Brown said. “It’s not me, I just drive the car. It’s the people who work on it and the people who have inspired me. I don’t want to take credit for 100 wins, because it’s everyone combined that has led to this recipe.”

The formula for Brown to get the 100th win Saturday was a simple one: Nail the setup, obtain the pole and hold off the rest of the field for only 25 laps.

Brown found it fitting that Myers was the one trying to make him wait another week to celebrate his milestone accomplishment. The two have engaged in numerous heated battles with each other over the past few decades, all of which have contributed to Bowman Gray’s raucous reputation.

Myers applied plenty of pressure to Brown’s rear bumper during the closing stages but could not complete the pass. Brown took extra pride in fending off his rival for his 100th win, especially with how much detail Myers puts into his own Modified program.

Tim Brown had to fend off long-time rival Burt Myers for his 100th Modified victory at Bowman Gray Stadium. (Photo: Bowman Gray Stadium)

“I like beating [Myers] any time I can,” Brown said. “He’s really good and does this for a living while I work for a living. Right now, while I’m at work doing my day job, he’s at his shop working on his race car. Anytime I can beat him is a little bit special to me.”

Brown’s day job is not far away from motorsports. When he is not refining his orange No. 83 Modified, Brown occupies himself at Rick Ware Racing by helping Justin Haley find extra speed in his No. 51 Ford.

The experience Brown brings to Ware’s organization dates to his high school days when he worked in Cale Yarborough’s shop. Although the NASCAR Cup Series platform has changed exponentially over the years, Brown’s expertise is translating into on-track success for Haley, who has recorded two top-10 finishes in his first year with the team.

Balancing his Cup Series responsibilities and his Modified team is an arduous process for Brown. There are days where the Cana, Virginia native himself questions how he can regularly pull off such a hectic schedule, but he has never wavered in his commitment to excel on every front.

“I get up at four in the morning, drive to Concord to work, leave Concord to go to my race shop and work until nine or 10 o’clock, then go home and try to spend a little time with the wife and kids,” Brown said. “Then I get up and do it again. It’s tough, and the older I get, the harder it is to put in 50 hours at work, then another 40 hours at the shop.

“It’s crazy what we do to do this.”

Despite being inundated with so much work, the soon-to-be 53-year-old competitor has no intention of slowing down anytime soon. That’s one reason Brown is treating his milestone as just another win.

There is still a 13th championship for Brown to chase at Bowman Gray, where he currently finds himself with a 50-point deficit to Myers in the Modified standings. Brown wants to cherish his 100th win and even plans to sell a commemorative t-shirt, but his mind is centered on obtaining win No. 101 as soon as possible and building late-season momentum.

With no intention of slowing down any time soon, Tim Brown hopes to leave behind an inspirational legacy for the next generation. (Photo: Bowman Gray Stadium)

Yet the occasion did allow Brown time to reflect on his accomplishments and where he came from. He still hangs on to the advice passed down to him by his grandfather Ebert Lewis ‘Eb’ Clifton, a successful racer in his own regard who passed away in 2018.

Brown knows Clifton would be proud of the life he has built for himself. He intends to keep honoring his grandfather’s legacy by staying close to his faith and leaving an impact that can inspire the next generation of competitors.

“The only thing I care about now since I’ve tried to get my life right is being remembered as a clean racer and a God-fearing Christian,” Brown said. “It’s through [God] that I get to do this. I worked hard for all those accomplishments, and my family sacrificed so much for this. God has blessed me to have a chance to race and be OK at it by setting some records.

“I want my legacy to be, ‘He was a clean racer who did the best he could with what he had and worked hard for it.'”

Brown’s accomplishments at Bowman Gray have cemented him as one of the facility’s greatest drivers, but with his program still amongst the best at the track, plenty of opportunities remain for him to add to his impressive legacy.