Looking at the outstanding drive Jeff Brown put on to finish a strong third in last year’s prestigious NASCAR Pro Modified George Decker Memorial 100 at Holland Motorsports Complex, it’s easy to see why he can be labeled Holland’s “Comeback Kid.”
In come-from-behind fashion Brown authored a win July 5 at Holland and then won again the following week there. He hopes to begin the August portion of the Holland schedule with a victory in the Decker Memorial race Saturday night.
Brown overcame a heat race mechanical failure to do well in last year’s Decker event and overcame a serious crash on July 5 this year when he scored his first of two straight Holland victories. The triumph on July 5 was the first of his Holland NASCAR Pro Modified career, which began last season.
“My night at last year’s Decker Memorial actually started out bad right from the start,” said Brown. “In the heat race I was running second coming out of Turn Two on the last lap and suddenly my car lost power and I coasted around the track. The ignition had cut out and we found out that a screw fell out of the ignition switch. It was just a little machine screw.
“We missed the feature race redraw because of our poor heat finish and had to start the Decker Memorial, 22nd which is pretty deep in the pack. Once the Decker race started, things improved for me. I just avoided a lot of mayhem and worked my way toward the front. I raced on the bottom a lot because it was fast, but I burned up my tires and still finished a close third to Kirk Totten and Geroge Skora III.”
If last year’s Decker race comeback was a strong one, it was nothing compared with Holland’s 35-lapper on July 5. “Early in that 35-lapper, a couple of cars spun in front of me going into the third turn and I couldn’t get my car stopped in time and I piled into Mike Fiebelkorn Jr.,” said Brown, 35, of Hamburg.
“As my car was being towed back to the pits I said, ‘okay, we’re done.’ The wreck ripped the heim out of the tie rod. The upper control arm was bent and it had a bent steering arm on the spindle. But we got the car fixed and then there was a long stoppage in the race right away for an oil down. So we got back out there and moved through the pack. … I never would have believed that I would have gone from the tow truck to the win in just the same race.”
Brown is a former NASCAR Late Model driver who has raced over the years at many tracks, including Elegant Builders Raceway Park in Lancaster and Holland. Most recently he raced NASCAR Late Models for five years at Lake Erie Speedway, winning races there before that track stopped running Late Models after 2012.
Brown, who was the Holland 2001 NASCAR Late Model Rookie of the Year, returned there last season in the NASCAR Pro Modifieds. This is his second full season in the NASCAR Pro Modifieds.
Since hooking up with car owner Mike Payne earlier this month on the Super DIRT.car Big Block Modified Series circuit, Rudolph has been on a streak of good fortune. He won his first career Super DIRT.car Big Block Modified Series race at Autodrome Drummond on July 22.
Rudolph is the defending Super DIRT.car 358 Modified Series titlist.
“Mike called me and was looking to do some things,” said Rudolph, who lives in Ransomville.
“We were both on the same page as far as my capabilities with my own cars, and I couldn’t do the whole thing myself. He was looking for someone to race and it just went from there.”
Rudolph is the points leader in the weekly 358 Modified division at Ransomville racing in his family-owned car. The visit to Ransomville by the Super DIRT.car Big Block Modified Series is the first to the Niagara County based dirt oval since 2009.
Rudolph is hoping for a bit of a home field advantage. “A lot of guys haven’t been there (Ransomville) in years so it might take some getting used to it there,” said Rudolph. “Hopefully we’ll be right on top of things because we run there weekly.”