Calera business owner takes to the dirt
By MOLLIE BROWN / Community Columnist
Calera High School graduate J.R. Brown was given an assignment his senior year (1998) to list future goals. He wrote he would be racing in five years and own an automotive business in 10.
He’s accomplished both.
J.R. and his dad, Donnie, began building a dirt track circuit hobby car in 2003. His racing career began at Central Alabama Speedway and Shelby County Speedway in 2004.
J.R.’s love for speed is a three-generation story.
“My grandfather, Floyd Brown, raced at BIR (Birmingham International Raceway) in the ’60s along with the Alabama Gang. In the ’70s, my dad built high performance cars to race at Lassiter Mountain, and raced red light to red light on Centerpoint Parkway,” J.R. said with a chuckle. “It’s why I named my team 3G Racing- three generations of racing.”
Automotive repair is also in the family blood. J.R. and Donnie have owned and operated Brown Auto & Alignment Service on Shelby County 22 in Calera since 2008. J.R. manages the office and does alignments, while Donnie manages the full service repair shop.
“I’m also three generations of auto repair,” J.R. said. “My grandfather worked in the service department of several dealerships in Birmingham, then owned Wheel Alignment Service and Brown Auto Parts, an auto salvage business that was relocated to Calera in 1979.”
J.R. took a break from racing last year to complete the home he, wife Amber and daughters Ashtyn and Alyssa built on Shelby County 42. This year he returned to racing at Talladega Short Track and won the track’s first-ever NeSmith Performance Parts Street Stock Division race. He’s also earned several top-five finishes at the 1/3-mile red clay oval.
Brown Auto & Alignment Service offers preventive maintenance, oil changes, batteries, tires, suspension and alignment, brakes, air conditioning, tune-ups and diagnostics. J.R. said the business is as strong as its customer satisfaction.
“Honesty and good service, that’s how we do business,” he said. “If business owners spent half the time thinking about what’s best for the customer as they do looking at profit numbers, their business would thrive. I’d like a bigger profit, but not if it means unnecessary repairs.”
Call 668-AUTO (2886) for your automotive needs. Business hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.