Joseph “Bobo” Brown’s name is synonymous with Bowman Gray Stadium and in all four divisions. Bobo has ran all four divisions, with a variety of different numbers, but for the past 6 seasons he’s been running in the Brad’s Golf Cart Modified Division. Bobo hasn’t had the success that he’s been looking for in the Modifieds and he made it known as he was going to take a year off. Little did he know he wasn’t going to stay away to long.
Bobo was first hooked on the uniquely built modifieds early on in his life because of his uncle Don Smith, who raced the modified division for over 30 years, but he didn’t want to race one at first due to the close quarters and passing ability of the other divisions, so once he had a opportunity to practice one on a Saturday morning he did and he loved it and he said “Shoot, this is what I want do, these things are badass and they’re fun to drive and they’re fast.” So he thought with the success that he had in the lower divisions, he looked at it as a challenge and wanted to see how good he was against his brother, Junior Miller, the Myers and Tim (Brown). He has had some decent runs and some interesting moments the past 6 seasons, but he never captured that elusive win.
Brown had talked about being “burned out on the modifieds and losing interest in racing them after he didn’t get to show his true talents.” So since the season ended last year ahead had been thinking about what he’s going to do for the next season and as the new season started to inch closer, he’d decided to take the year off, but thanks to his friend and sponsor Adam Thomas he’s now running in the Sportsman division.
Thomas has a new body and as they’ve been building it this offseason, he had been trying to get Brown into a Sportsman and after he had a opportunity to buy a car, he bought it and he told Bobo “you’re definitely running this season as I bought you a car to run this season.” The new car doesn’t have a name it, but Brown hastily said “She doesn’t have a name yet, but I’m thinking since I carry a gun everywhere, we should name her the Mounted Deuce”. At first it started out as a “possibility of running the first three races”, but it seems like the team may run the entire season, as Bobo said “My main goal is to go over there and run good, get some top 5’s & top 10’s and gather a few wins. As for the championship, if we’re running good and high up in the points, we’ll talk about it with 3 or 4 races to go.” Brown will be a interesting addition to the already impressive division.
The Sportsman division has been the closest competition in recent years with great side by side racing with close finishes including a four wide finish a few years ago. I talked with Bobo about it and he offered a great insight into the racing saying “I haven’t had much time to watch the racing, due to us keeping up with the modified, but I’ve paid attention closely to the drivers in the class and the racing is pretty good with a select few drivers dominating the division the past few years, but the guys have been beating and banging and putting on a show every week. I missed that and now I’m ready to go back and try it again.”
Being a former sportsman driver and stepping up to the modifieds, Brown was scared to move back down because of the criticism the fans would make of him. Brown’s last time in the Sportsman division was 2010, back then you had coil overs all around or big springs on the car, none of this bump stops, high dollar shocks or 603 crate motors. So he’s having to relearn how to drive this new updated version of a sportsman car. After building the car with Adam and mostly by himself, Brown is now more than ready to get back to the Sportsman and will look forward to get more seat time this weekend and hopes to finish pretty good.
Bobo Brown has ran Bowman Gray for over 10 years among all 4 divisions and he’s has experienced the ups and downs of the Madhouse. Like hard fought battles with John McNeal, Tim Vaden to his friendly feud with Derek Stoltz and even the crazy moment where he played chicken with Burt Myers in the infield, he’s had the best of times and worst of times. Coupled together with bad equipment and lack of finishes and obviously his two daughters are growing up quickly. Brown said “I don’t give a damn what happens this season, this might be my last season, so the fans might need to wear a seat belt, because I’m going to run all out and look good doing it.” If you know Bobo, you know he stands by his word and lives up to it, so it’ll be interesting to see how he does in the closest field at the track.
The Season Opener is April 22nd as Mighty Modifieds will compete for 200 laps following a always competitive 40 lap Sportsman race. The always intriguing Street Stock follow the mods, they’ll do battle for a grueling 20 laps and last but certainly not least the always whacky and lightning fast Stadium Stock division will have a pair of 15 lap races. Admission is $10, with kids 6-13 only $2 and 5 and under free, there’s plenty of FREE parking all around the track.