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NASCAR’s Brandon Brown pushes new meaning for singing – Orlando Sentinel

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ELKHART LAKE, Wis. — Brandon Brown wanted a way to change the narrative behind the “Come on, Brandon” message after his first career NASCAR win inadvertently fueled a chant that was used to insult President Joe Biden.

Brown found that new message thanks to the family of an 8-year-old boy with autism.

Brandon Brundidge of Cottage Grove, Minnesota, was on a spring break trip to Houston in March and saw signs reading “Come on, Brandon.” He believed that the signs were meant to cheer him up. Consequently, he began to try activities that he had never tried before, such as learning to swim and removing the training wheels from his bicycle.

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His mother, Sheletta Brundidge, used that story to write a children’s book called “Brandon Spots His Sign.” Brown had Brundidge’s book cover on the hood of his Camaro for his Xfinity Series race Saturday at Road America.

“Getting this done was like that defining moment for us,” Brown said. “This can be positive. This can be good. It doesn’t have to be hateful or divisive.”

This split had begun after Brown earned the first win of his NASCAR career last October.

The crowd at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama chanted “F— Joe Biden” during the winner’s post-race interview. NBC Sports reporter Kelli Stavast incorrectly told Brown that fans were chanting, “Come on, Brandon.”

From then on, “Come on, Brandon” became a rallying cry for Biden critics, with signs bearing that message popping up everywhere. Brown inadvertently found himself in the midst of the firestorm surrounding these chants.

“I was just hoping that I could turn it into something positive, I could get my name back and not be so divisive and scary, where it wouldn’t be a political statement for my friends and family to cheer me on during a race,” Brown said.

That’s where the Brundridge family stepped in.

Sheletta Brundidge is the mother of four children, three of whom have autism. She has written children’s books focusing on each of them. She said that Brandon often dealt with social anxiety.

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That changed after he saw all the “Come on, Brandon” signs and assumed people were cheering him on. He suddenly had a whole new attitude and wasn’t shy about trying new things.

“He literally wanted us to put flags in front of the house [saying], ‘Come on Brandon,’ Sheletta Brundidge recalled. “I’m like, ‘That’s not going to happen. We will not put these flags in front of the house. “

Brown heard about this book from his mother and invited the Brundidge family to Road America. They met in person for the first time this weekend and the two Brandons quickly became friends.

“It seems that I have a twin brother but he is older than me,” said Brandon Brundidge.

The Brundids were handing out copies of “Brandon Spots His Sign” at Road America. The book’s cover design decorated Brown’s car, though he was eliminated from Saturday’s race after being caught up in a car accident that required him to be examined and removed from the infield spotlight.

Finally, someone found a way for the chant “Come on, Brandon” to unite instead of divide.

“I’m sorry for everything you went through last year,” Sheletta Brundidge told Brown on Saturday. “I know it’s been horrible. But I’m so glad it happened because this kid wouldn’t have this breakthrough. [otherwise]. She would still be afraid to ride a bike without training wheels. She literally walks up to the kids and hands them this book. He would never have done that [before].”

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