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Brown enjoys family time at Bristol Dragway opener

Jeff Birchfield • Jun 17, 2020 at 4:00 PM

Barry Brown had 100 reasons not to race in the DER Bracket Series season opener at Bristol Dragway over the weekend.

The Blountville driver entered the weekend with a 100-point lead over Kendall Payne in the Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA) Lucas Oil Top Dragster standings.

He could have gone to Darlington Dragway in South Carolina to try to maintain his points lead in the weekend’s PDRA event. However, the lure of racing at home with his three children — Carson, Tucker and Carley — was too much for Brown to turn down.

“It’s great to come back to Bristol,” Brown said. “We’ve been running other series until Bristol could start racing. We skipped the PDRA race to come here to Bristol to be with friends and family.”

During the COVID-19 shutdown at Bristol, he raced at tracks in North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. The decision to come back to Bristol paid off for the family: Tucker was the No. 1 qualifier in Junior Dragster, Division 3 and later won the event by beating Bluff City’s Hannah Turner in the final round.

Tucker was lightning fast at the start with a .010 reaction time, which trumped a solid .063 start for Turner.

“He was on roll. He was real good on the tree and driving real good,” Barry Brown said. “We rebuilt his whole car to make it right. He had been struggling, but he’s done well, making the finals the last two weekends.”

Another Blountville youth, Haley Bowers, won the Junior Dragster, Division 2 race, and Forrest Radford of Radford was the Division 1 winner.

Four-time defending Sportsman champion Carl Widner of Elizabethton opened his season with a win over Bristol, Tennessee’s John Isom in the final.

Another Elizabethton racer, Chris Johnson, bested Russell Justus of Whitesburg in the Motorcycle final. Roger Franklin from Elizabethton was quicker at the start in the Trophy class, but finished runner-up to Mike McMillian of Castlewood.

Pound’s Adam Phillips won the featured Super Pro division. Dustin Davis of Newport was tops in Pro.

The successful opening weekend for the DER Bracket Series saw a car count of 240 for Saturday’s races. That’s down 25% from normal but encouraging for DER promoter Red Whitmore.

“Everybody has been cooped up and they wanted to get out in the race cars,” Whitmore said. “We did have some new drivers from other tracks and had a lot of breakage. The crazy thing is we were originally scheduled three weekends in May and that had me worried because it’s usually a wet month. This year, those weekends were beautiful.”


The forecast looks good for a beautiful night of racing Friday at Kingsport Speedway.

All five of the three-eighths-mile concrete track’s weekly racing divisions — Late Model Stock, Sportsman, Mod 4, Pure 4 and Pure Street — are on tap.

Spectator gates open at 5 p.m., followed by racing at 8 p.m.


The World of Outlaws Late Model Series heads to Volunteer Speedway in Bulls Gap for two nights of racing.

Friday features a $10,000-to-win feature for the World of Outlaws Late Models as well as Modified Street, Street Stock and Classic races.

Saturday’s “Late Model Mania” boasts another $10,000-to-win World of Outlaws Late Model race plus Crate Late Model and Sportsman Late Model features.

Email Jeff Birchfield [email protected]

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