Earlier this year, Hickory-based Next Level Solutions (NLS) nabbed its first ChampCar Endurance Series victory since it began participating in races in 2016 — the ChampCar Series was known as the ChumpCar World Series at the time, but was renamed in late 2017. The five-man team, which consists of crew chief Cliff Beisler and drivers Cory Brown, Corey Danley, Jeremy Boyce and Dan Koehler, won a 14-hour race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in July.
In doing so, the team made good on a promise it made to Chris Beisler, the late father of crew chief Cliff Beisler and father-in-law of Brown who died of cancer in October 2019. Before his passing, team members promised Chris Beisler they would thank him for all of his support by one day winning a race.
In October, NLS did him one better, taking the checkered flag for a second time during an eight-hour race at Atlanta Motorsports Park in Dawsonville, Georgia. NLS completed 277 laps, one better than the second- and third-place teams, despite having never previously raced at Atlanta.
“We had never been to the track before. It had been one of the tracks that we have wanted to go to for a while now,” said Brown. “We did a lot of studying, watched a lot of race video, did some simulator time on our race simulator just to prepare for it some. And then when we got to the track there was a test day the day before, so we were able to get out there on the track and put the simulator experience into the real world and get used to the track.
“Our day went really well during the test day,” he added. “In fact, by lunch time we had all been in the car and were comfortable and we decided to just call it a day and get the car ready for the race the next day, and just relaxed the rest of the day. So it went well.”
NLS also attended a two-day event at Virginia International Raceway earlier this month in Alton, Virginia, but things didn’t go quite so smoothly this time around. An early-race mishap during an eight-hour race on day one resulted in significant damage to the rear of the car — somehow the team still finished fourth — but a blown engine during a seven-hour race on day two forced NLS to withdraw early.
Nevertheless, the team did receive some good news recently. Within the past month, NLS was able to secure a sponsorship from Modern Nissan of Hickory for the 2021 ChampCar season.
“I had been in talks with the general manager down at Modern Nissan of Hickory (Lonnie Vongsavanh) and then we went out to lunch a couple weeks ago and he basically said that he wanted to help sponsor our race team, which is a huge help to us,” said Brown. “We’re an amateur series, we basically pay for everything that we do, so anything like that we get is a huge help to us. So we’re real grateful to Modern Nissan of Hickory for helping us out and we look forward to working with them throughout the 2021 season and hopefully have a good relationship with them and bring some more wins for the 2021 season.”
NLS is hoping to attend a 14-hour race at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta the first week of February in Braselton, Georgia, but because of the upcoming Christmas holiday and the repairs the car will require, that may not be doable. However, the team is definitely planning to compete in a 12-hour race at the Virginia International Raceway South Course the following month.
For more information about NLS Racing or to become a team sponsor, visit www.nlsracing.com.
For more information about the ChampCar Endurance Series, visit www.champcar.org.
Josh McKinney is the sports editor for the Hickory Daily Record.