Nick Brown didn’t win the 2006 TD Banknorth 250.

But it sure felt like it.

“It was almost as if I was driving the car myself,” Brown said. “I had
a lot of fun with those guys; they’re great people. I learned a lot,
too. That’s actually the reason why (my dad and I) went there. We wanted to learn
something about the cars I’d hopefully be racing soon.”

“Those guys” were Jeremie Whorff and his crew. Whorff did win the race that year, coming seemingly from nowhere to capture the prestigious short-track race.

Brown is hoping for some of the same magic this year, just his second running in the late model division.

“I’m just racing a bunch of other guys,” Brown said, brushing off the obvious age difference between him and most of the field. “Even in go-karts,
I was always one of the younger guys in my division. It doesn’t really
bother me that much.”

The kart series at Oxford Plains Speedway is one of the biggest reasons Brown — and others like him — are into racing at such a young age, and are able to compete in and attempt to qualify for races like the TD Banknorth 250.

“Kids get interested in soccer when they’re, you know, eight years
old,” track owner Bill Ryan Jr. said. “They get interested in baseball young, too. We wanted
the same thing in racing, and not just from the perspective of sitting
in the grandstand, but actually getting involved with a car. Nick’s a
perfect example of a guy who’s gone through that system.”

“When I was racing go-karts, I would always think what it would be like to run a late model,” Brown said. “When I found out I might have that chance, I was so excited. I couldn’t pass that up.”

After struggling through his first season in late models, Brown broke through this year. On Saturday, June 20, Brown started third and earned a victory in a 40-lap late model feature at OPS.

“He won a couple weeks ago in a late model, and he struggled last
year,” Ryan said. “To have him him win this year, that’s a great thing.

“He’ll
be a guy that will run with us for a few years before going on to
bigger and better things,” he continued. “And if not, I’m sure we’ll be
talking to Nick 50 years from now. That’s really the point of the
go-kart series. It’s not really a money-maker; it’s about developing
drivers for down the road.”

Brown prefers to think about the here and now, but he’s already starting to speak like a veteran, preferring a politically-correct answer to the question of age versus experience in the big race.

“It could help me and it could hurt me,” Brown said after pausing a moment to think his answer through carefully. “I don’t have the experience of a long race, because I’ve only raced one ACT race, but it’s also going to help because I might not get as tired as the older guys.”

Brown started laughing.

“I’ll probably have more endurance at this point than some of them,” he said.

The driver dubbed “Slick Nick” will put that theory to the test this weekend, as he attempts to qualify for his first 250.

“I can’t wait,” Brown said. “This is something that’s special, and I’m just glad to have the chance.”


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