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Brown Scores Podium Finish on Saturday And Another Top-10 Finish on Sunday In His Return to Pirelli World Challenge Action
BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, June 26 — Defending GTS champion Paul Brown of Covina, Calif. scored an exciting podium finish on Saturday at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in his return to SCCA Pirelli World Challenge competition.
- Brown was fourth with just 2 minutes remaining in the 50-minute race when he got around Aaron Povoledo to snare third place and earn a spot on the podium in his first race of the year after being diagnosed with aggressive melanoma (skin cancer) in March.
- Brown got another top-10 finish on Sunday despite some mechanical difficulties when he placed ninth with his Paul Brown/Tiger Racing No. 50 Ford Mustang Boss 302S sponsored by eBay Motors and Kenny Brown Performance.
"To come back into the Pirelli World Challenge in the middle of the season and post these results feels almost surreal, Brown said. Between my cancer treatments and just being busy with life, I hadn’t turned a wheel in competition since last October".
"On Thursday before the event I told Jeff Altenburg to plan on driving for me because I didn’t think I had the energy to compete, Brown explained. But on Friday morning, which was the test day, I was actually feeling a little better. I thought maybe I could run a few laps to make sure the car was still as good as it was last year, and Jeff and I would be on the same page for the set-up. I was so nervous! I didn’t feel at all comfortable in the car, but somehow I managed to rip off some fast laps anyway".
"We found a few minor issues to fix and I thought I should try it again. This time it started to come to me, and it got better. We made more changes and out I went again, getting faster and making the car better each time".
"Jeff was very gracious and pushed me to keep going. Every time I got out of the car the guys said I looked better and better, and sure enough, I was feeling better too".
"With the uphill swing in energy and a little nudge from the team we decided to try the race on Saturday, and it couldn’t have gone any better".
"I had a great start and worked my way forward position by position. I managed to keep in touch with the top three places, running fourth most of the race. It was a fantastic, hard-paced battle all the way to the end and with two laps left I made a move for third and made it stick".
"To come back after not racing or even being in a race car for six months was just incredible! But then to land a podium finish, that was like a win for both myself and the team, and it gives me new energy in my battle with cancer, Brown said".
"Our results on Sunday weren’t as good, he added. "We qualified about the same and had another good start. I was actually feeling even better on Sunday and looked to be in the hunt again, but a broken header kept us from being as competitive as we would have liked. We still managed a top 10 with a wounded car and I couldn’t be happier for the team and our sponsors. They are my heroes. It takes a lot of work and support to compete at this level. Our team consists of awesome individuals who pulled together and made this possible".
If Brown’s podium finish wasn’t dramatic enough, he almost finished second in Saturday’s race. He set his fastest lap of the 28-lap race on the very last lap in his attempt to charge around second-place finisher Mark Wilkins. Brown crossed the finish line just 0.516 of a second after Wilkins did. He was 0.767 of a second ahead of Povoledo at the checkered.
Brown’s fastest lap turned out to be the second-fastest lap of the race for the class. Both he and Wilkins were faster than the polesitter and winner, Michael Galati, who led every lap. Wilkins got the fastest-lap honors but he was only 0.034 of a second faster than Brown. Both of those laps were under Brown’s previous class track race-lap record set last year.
Before all the end-of-the-race excitement Brown had a fabulous standing start on the very fast track formerly known as Mosport International Raceway. He qualified seventh but he passed both six-time champion Peter Cunningham and 16-year-old Alec Udell for fifth before the field circled the 10-turn, 2.4-mile road course for the first time.
Brown had a great restart on lap five too. For the bulk of the race his fastest lap was the 1:27.735 that he turned on lap five while in fifth place. He was definitely flying, and with six laps down he moved into fourth place by passing Jack Baldwin’s Porsche Cayman.
Brown was very busy trying to pass Wilkins while holding off Udell during the restart on lap 20. He dropped a couple of wheels off the track while chasing Wilkins, and he had closed the gap to Wilkins to just 0.225 of a second on lap 24.
On the next lap Wilkins passed Povoledo for second place, and Brown got around Povoledo for third with 26 laps in the books to claim the final podium spot.
On Sunday, Brown started seventh and finished ninth in class, which was part of a weekend program officially called the Motul Canadian Tire Motorsport Park Grand Prix Presented by Optima Batteries.
There was rain in the forecast and although it held off during the race, the contest got off to a rocky start when the driver who started third, Povoledo, crashed on the standing start. Before the yellow flag came out Brown had already advanced two spots to fifth place because he passed Udell and Povoledo’s car was done for the day.
Udell got him back when the race restarted on lap five, and Karl Poelti got around him working lap seven to push him back to seventh place. Six-time champion Peter Cunningham then immediately began to apply pressure to Brown in what turned out to be one of the best battles of the race.
Cunningham hounded Brown lap after lap in a torrid battle of champions having fun. Brown fought off all of Cunningham’s best tricks until lap 14 when both Cunningham and the driver who was right behind him, Richard Golinello, got by with 21 minutes remaining in the contest.
Brown set his fastest lap of the race during that battle when he turned a 1:28.950 (99.521 mph) on lap 11.
On lap 16 Brad Adams passed Brown to push him back to tenth place, but two laps later Brown passed Poelti to regain ninth with 16 minutes to go.
Brown was dealing with the broken header during this race. The field got strung out in the remaining laps and Brown took the checkered in ninth place on lap 29.
Brown’s teammate, Dane Moxlow, who drives the No. 48 Ford Mustang Boss 302S sponsored by Eaton Steel Bar Company, Trenton Forging, Detroit Motion Co. and Bard’s Tale Beer Co., did not compete this weekend due to engine issues.
Brown’s teammate/co-driver, Justin Bell, did not compete this weekend due to a previous commitment with SPEED’s broadcast coverage of the Barrett Jackson Auto Auction in Orange County, CA.
Bell is now fifth in the GTS driver point standings, and Ford is back on top of the manufacturer’s point standings with 49 points followed by Acura with 45 points.
Both races were streamed live on-line at world-challengeTV.com, and those videos will be archived on that site. Other information is available on the series’ Web site at world-challenge.com. The event will also be shown on the NBC Sports Network from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday, July 7.
The next event is slated for the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Aug. 3-5.
Fans can send well wishes to Paul Brown through Tiger Racing’s Facebook page. Other team information will also be posted there, on Kenny Brown Performance's Facebook page, and in the blog on KennyBrown.com.
About eBay Motors: eBay Motors, a part of eBay Inc., is the Internet’s largest marketplace for buying and selling all things automotive. The site offers everyday cars for everyday drivers as well as collector cars, motorcycles, auto parts and accessories. eBay Motors is consistently ranked the No. 1 automotive site on the Web by Nielsen/NetRatings. Nearly 4.5 million new and used vehicles have been sold on eBay Motors, and there are more than 22 million automotive parts and accessories available on eBay Motors at any given time.
About Kenny Brown Performance: Kenny Brown, a 25-year veteran in the Ford Mustang performance aftermarket, is legendary for building some of the most technically advanced Mustangs in North America. His critically acclaimed AGS (Advanced Geometry Suspension) high-performance suspension components for street and track-day Mustangs are some of the best and most innovative in the aftermarket. Brown is a well-known celebrity in the Ford aftermarket and has played a critical role in Mustang racing heritage and new product development since 1986. For more information see KennyBrown.com and visit Kenny Brown Performance on Facebook.
About Paul Brown/Tiger Racing: Paul Brown/Tiger Racing won the 2011 SCCA Pro Racing Pirelli World Challenge GTS team championship and propelled its owner/driver Paul Brown to the driver’s championship and Ford to the manufacturer’s title. Based in the Los Angeles suburb of Covina, Calif., it is also involved in the NASA AIX, VSCDA, SVRA and VARA series. It specializes in race car prep, transportation and trackside support as well as exotic and luxury car maintenance and repairs. It is a popular source for carbon fiber and fiberglass work as well as race car parts for Mustangs and other high-performance cars. Please visit its Facebook page at Tiger Racing.