Short Track Stars – Omaha, Nebraska
BACK IN 2015, I-80 Speedway Promoter Joe Kosiski created the Bragging Rights Series by teaming with other area tracks to create a series for Grand National/Limited Late Model type cars. Eventually, I-80 changed the name of their Grand National class to the Bragging Rights Late Models. Jacob Brown grew up around racing hanging out with the likes of Steve Kosiski, Dave Doll and Craig Preble, so the die was cast from the start. Nearly two decades ago, in 2002, Brown got his first taste of racing after Doll bought some flat karts and said, “here go figure out how to drive.” In 2006, Steve Kosiski bought a late model from the Tilley family for Jacob and Steve Kosiski’s son Rob to drive. “For a while Rob and I couldn’t figure out if we were demo derby driving or racing late models,” said Brown. “It was a tough learning curve and there were many frequent flyer miles to the local frame shop.”
“It taught me how to get disciplined pretty quickly,” said Brown. “Steve made us figure out how to balance work and racing, as well as, if no one was in the shop, how to figure it out ourselves.” Those lessons in life so to speak, would pay off for Brown down the road.
Eventually, Brown bought an old car from Doll and continued racing out of the Doll shop and picked up a couple of wins while racing with brother Micah and Craig Preble. Then in 2013 when Preble had a bad accident, Brown moved into his shop and Bob Ward came over to help out. “I bought a car from Craig and destroyed it the second night out before I even had it paid for,” said Brown.
Eventually things started to fall in place and Jacob Brown started winning with consistency. At the end of 2016 Brown and Ward bought a 2016 Rocket XR-1 and suddenly Brown’s familiar 92 became a major factor in the Bragging Rights Late Model division. After posting just 11 wins from 2010 through 2016 the team started dominating the division.
In 2017 and 2018, they registered 16 wins and posted primarily top-three finishes every night and won the Kosiski Auto Parts Bragging Rights Championship at I-80 Speedway both years. They also won back to-back Bugeater Bash titles (an early season special event at I-80 Speedway) in that division and topped it off by winning the 2018 Bragging Rights Series Championship (featuring several
In 2019, Brown repeated as both the I-80 Bragging Rights Champion and the Bragging Rights Series Champion and added the 2019 Shelby County Late Model championship, too. Brown also won the Shelby County Speedway’s season ending Tiny Lund Memorial race and said that it was “probably my favorite win in my career because the last time I was in victory lane at the Tiny Lund was when I was 15 and Craig Preble won it.”
“We bought the XR-1 at the end of the 2016 and we have worked on improving it ever since,” said Bob Ward. “I do what I can to make it better and Jacob does what he can to make it better and we have been pretty successful.”
Andrew Tilley, a third-generation driver who races against Jacob Brown on a weekly basis, says of Brown. “I guess you could say we are rivals and have been racing against each other for a while. Jacob is probably the best the class has right now at I-80 although it is getting more competitive all the time. He has always raced me clean, and I have never had a problem racing against him.”
When prodded on his secret to getting around I-80, Brown’s answer was short and sweet – “Stomp and Steer.” Asked what race he wanted to win at I-80, Brown said the GO 20 Bragging Rights Late Model Special sponsored by Malvern Bank that was added to this year’s Silver Dollar Nationals week.
Brown is the owner of Stone Creek Lawns and owns the car along with Bob Ward. Ward is the crew chief of the operation, and they are assisted in their efforts by Bobby Bolter and Big Ty. Certainly, moral support is provided by Brown’s wife Sarah and two sons, Aden and Asher. Mom and dad are always there providing support as well.
So, what’s Brown’s future plans. “Keep racing within our means. If some sponsor shows up and says here’s a super motor and a set of really good gas shocks, I’ll go racing with the Malvern Bank Series,” said Brown. “Until then, I have a business to run and other stuff to pay for, so we will keep affordably racing.”
“As Steve Kosiski and Dave Doll did with me, it’s my turn to pay it back and help the next generation of racers learn how to work on their cars and race. I have a six-year-old, Aden, and Craig Preble’s son (Preble is an ex-racer and former I-80 Speedway champion who was paralyzed in a swimming accident) racing the amateur go kart class at Little Sunset Speedway (behind the I-80 Speedway grandstands). They race out of my shop, and we want to make sure they have the equipment to compete with anyone that shows up.”
Speaking of Brown’s son Aden, just in case you think he’s just doing it to follow in dad’s footsteps, he reeled off eight wins last year including three special events wins. I think dad may have to look over his shoulder down the road.
I think that says a lot about Jacob Brown and the future of local racing. If we are to keep it going, we have to bring the next generation along and teach them the values of hard work and dedication. Then that next generation will experience not only the thrill of competition but all the friendships that are developed along the way.
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