A competitive season for the SMART Modified Tour continued at Caraway Speedway on Saturday evening.
Jonathan Brown was the one who took home the checkered flag, becoming the seventh different driver to visit victory lane in eight races this year.
Brown was speechless once he climbed out of the car to celebrate with his crew, knowing that held of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Labonte to pick up his first SMART Modified Tour victory.
“This feels pretty awesome,” Brown said. “I knew I was going to have to run this thing pretty hard once I got out front but I was surprised at how long the car stayed under me. We ran up top a lot but the car was even better down on the bottom.”
WINNER! Jonathan “Jon Boy” Brown wins his first EVER Tour Modified race in the Buddy Ellis 24 Modified here at @carawayspeedway in a thriller with @Bobby_Labonte on the inside at the line in the Smart Chevrolet 99! pic.twitter.com/ZhuSEMKP96
— @SMARTMods_ (@SMARTMods_) September 12, 2021
Brown’s win brought an end to a recent hot streak for Labonte, who firmly established himself as a title contender with victories at Dillon Motor Speedway and Carteret County Speedway.
Defeating a former Cup Series champion required discipline and a perfect strategy from Brown and his team. Brown elected to ride around at the beginning of the feature so he could position himself to make a run at the win for the closing laps.
“There was no reason to go early because we knew we were going to swap some tires around,” Brown said. “We actually swapped our left sides [pretty early]. I was worried the car would get tight but the guys got the stagger just right so that we could have something when it was time to go.”
Brown executed his gameplan to perfection and continued a successful year that saw him finish fourth in the Modified point standings at Bowman Gray Stadium and bookend the season with victories.
Having raced against drivers like Burt and Jason Myers on a regular basis, Brown was not worried about his ability to compete against them in the SMART Modified Tour once Bowman Gray’s season concluded.
Brown credited his crew for putting together a stellar car ahead of his second start in the SMART Modified Tour but he attributed some of his performance to a good luck charm that he has only brought to the track a handful of times.
“The hat [that I wore on Saturday] belonged to John Blewett,” Brown said. “A fan gave it to me a couple of years ago and I won the race that night. I wore it at Bowman Gray’s season-ender and won that race too, so now we’re batting .100 with this thing.”
Brown did not say whether or not he would keep wearing Blewett’s hat over the remainder of the SMART Modified Tour schedule but he is confident that more wins will come his way if his team can duplicate their efficiency from Saturday.
1. Jonathan Brown
2. Bobby Labonte
3. Burt Myers
4. Caleb Heady
5. Jeremy Gerstner
6. Brian Loftin
7. Jason Myers
8. John Smith
9. Jimmy Wallace
10. Dennis Holdren
11. Daniel Yates
12. Mike Norman
13. Darin Redmon
14. Gary Putnam
15. James Civali
16. Brian Weber