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Old Faithful propels Brown to series title

Hornet division teenage driver Eric Brown won seven feature races this season at Holland NASCAR Motorsports Complex, the most of any driver in any division there this season. The feat has been accomplished with what he says is an ugly, beat-up and evil racing machine he calls "Old Faithful."

Old Faithful also assisted him in winning the Holland Hornet championship.

Brown won his sixth straight race in Saturday night's season championship finale at Holland to capture the Hornet championship.

Even though he has had a new 1984 Pontiac Fiero at his disposal for the last two seasons, he cannot get that car to perform up to standard.

So repeatedly, he has raced his 1991 Honda Accord that he has had since launching his racing career three years ago. The results achieved in this car have been spectacular. Every race that he has won this season has been in the Honda.

Furthermore, every race that he finished this season at Holland, he won.

"The Honda is not a pretty car," said Brown, 18, of Holland. "Besides racing in the Hornet class, I've also used the car in Crash-A-Rama's and even demolition derbys but the car just won't die. It just keeps going and winning.

"That's why I call it 'Old Faithful.' "

In stark contrast, the team's Pontiac entry has never proved reliable or competitive.

"I don't know why but the Fiero has never run right and seems to have problems any week I try to race it," said a puzzled Brown. "The car is jinxed. I mean we've rebuilt everything on it -- put a new engine in and still the bugs pop up all the time.

"Two weeks ago, I was sitting in the Fiero in the line-up chute waiting for our Hornet feature to begin and the car started but had fuel pressure problems. So I jumped out of it and ran back and got the Honda out for the feature. I had to start last because I changed cars, which was about 27th.

"I still ended up winning with the Honda."

Brown has failed to finish a race just twice this season. In the season opener, Brown was leading by half a straightaway when the battery caught fire. Later in the season he was involved in a wreck. He also suffered a technical disqualification another week due to cut springs.

He is the son of veteran car builder Dave Brown. His pit crew consists of his friend Josh Hunter and various members of the Wylie family.

In his rookie season, 2007, Brown did not win a race, placing fourth in the standings. Last year he recorded three wins and finished third in points. He has been going to the races since he was 2 years old and started assisting his father in the race shop around age 11.

"I've enjoyed the Hornet class because it's competitive and has the most cars of any class at Holland to race against," said Brown, an automotive technology major at ECC South. "I hope that if I get enough sponsorship next year that I can move up to the NASCAR Charger class."

His sponsorship is provided by Bruce's Automotive, Thiel Motorsports and Southern Tier Auto.

The hardest part of his future plans may come with the realization that as the NASCAR Charger class is not a four-cylinder division, Brown will have to retire Old Faithful.

***

Pit stops

Jipp Ortiz, of Ransomville, scored his first career DIRT.car Sportsman Super Dirt Series race victory last Monday evening at the Rolling Wheels Raceway Park in Elbridge. He is the series' point leader with 811 markers, ahead of Greg Panunte's 801. The series visits Ransomville Speedway this Friday.

Many local asphalt racers will be on the road this weekend competing in the 59th annual Sunoco Race of Champions Weekend at Oswego Speedway.

Friday will feature the SST Modified 100, Mini Stock 20 and Pure/Factory Stock 25, with the green flag flying at 7 p.m. The T.J./Waite Toyota Late Model 125, NORA Super Modified 35 and the Modified All-Star 30 will commence at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. The Sunoco Race of Champions Modified 200 and the Super Stock 75 see action at 12:15 p.m. Sunday.

The rain-postponed NASCAR Stars Night will take place at 3 p.m. Sunday at Humberstone Speedway. Retired NASCAR champion and television commentator Rusty Wallace along with his brother driver/television personality Kenny Wallace, former NASCAR Modified champion and television host Jimmy Spencer and NASCAR driver Dave Blaney will be on hand.

All will sign autographs with Kenny Wallace, Spencer and Blaney racing 358 Modifieds. Rusty Wallace will guest announce.

e-mail: lawrence_o_14075@yahoo.com

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