Tim Brown and Burt Myers have long been titans inside Bowman Gray Stadium’s walls.
The two blue-collared drivers have long thrilled fans with many fantastic battles that have culminated in 178 victories and 20 track championships between them throughout their three-decade careers.
Another chapter in the storied rivalry between Brown and Myers came to a close on Saturday evening with each driver seeking to be the first 11-time champion in Bowman Gray Stadium history.
The fight for the title persisted through all 150 laps in the season finale with Brown being the one making history at the end of a long and grueling night.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve won [a championship],” Brown said. “I forgot how much this means to me, my fans, my family and my race team. I’m speechless, I’m tired, we’ve worked hard all year and we’ve finally done it. We are 11-time champions.”
Brown, whose last title at Bowman Gray came back in 2015, admitted that it was frustrating watching Myers claim the last four championships all while trying to figure out how he could catch back up to his program.
After enduring an extended amount of time away from Bowman Gray due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Brown entered 2021 confident that he could finally best Myers and break his championship dry spell at the track.
The improvements Brown invested into his orange No. 83 Jerry Hunt Supercenter Chevrolet resulted in three victories on the year, all while Myers could only muster one win in a race back on June 24.
Despite visiting victory lane more than Myers, Brown did not establish the efficiency he needed to pull away from his long-time rival and had to manage a four-point cushion when the green flag dropped on Saturday.
Brown conserved his equipment during the opening 100 laps of the feature and patiently waited for the right opportunity to overtake Myers, who had stayed in front of Brown all evening after qualifying third.
That chance came about when Brandon Ward damaged Myers’ car under caution following an earlier incident between the two. The damage Myers’ sustained hampered the performance of his car and shifted momentum back into Brown’s favor.
Brown himself has been on the receiving end of misfortune numerous times throughout his career at Bowman Gray but knew that his car still would not have been strong enough to overtake Myers’ wounded car without the patience he showed earlier in the evening.
“Perseverance was the key,” Brown said. “I told myself to be patient and save the tires were on the car. When we got to Lap 99, my crew told me that it was time to go. Everything worked out and God was with me in the seat tonight.”
An emotional Brown dedicated his 11th title to his late grandfather and father, who he wished could have witnessed him accomplish a milestone he was worked tirelessly to achieve through many long nights and days.
Concerns surrounding a recent surge in COVID-19 cases also meant that Brown’s wife and children were not able to celebrate with him at the track. While he was disappointed that his family could not attend Saturday’s finale, he did not let the circumstances damper one of the proudest moments of his career.
Now 50 years old, Brown holds sole possession of the most titles and victories in Bowman Gray’s 72-year history but has no intention of slowing down his winning ways and intends to return to the facility next year for what he believes will be another intense championship battle with Myers.
“We’re not done yet.” Brown remarked.