James "Godfather" Brown
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Owner: Competition RC, Oklahoma City, OK
James started racing Dirt Oval locally in 1988 at which point he says he was instantly hooked. James had good success with his racing and In 1991 he obtained a sponsorship from Power Products and Specialized RC which made him a teammate with Bob "the Bullet" Light. They toured thru Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas for several years racing and promoting the products. During those years he not only competed against but became friends with many of the great racers in the Southern Plains.
In 1994 the local track in Oklahoma City closed their Dirt Oval down. So with the help of many local racers and lots of really special customers James and his Wife Lu were able to open their own track called Competition RC. The "Comp" as the racers called it had brightly lit climate controlled pits where James and Lu strived to give the racers the most comfortable environment possible. They also worked hard to run an efficient, fair and fun racing program.
They hosted lots of different types of racing during their 23 years in business but in the last decade they returned to their dirt oval roots and literally had a blast. During the outdoor season they strived to maintain a multi grooved loose dirt track and were privledged to host a good crowd of racers from around the area. Not having the time or inclination to travel to big events anymore gave James the oportunity to race Sprint cars with some of the best in this region. He has said that those epic races will always be some of his best memories and as he often says "I am the guy who made his living doing what I loved."
Raymond (Dozer Cam) Phillips has often said "The Comp" was one of his most fun places to race. Raymond put together a few thoughs on James, The Comp, and what he enjoyed so much about racing there:
I really got to know James Brown around 2013. Being friends with Nathan Dean, he called us and said “Hey lets meet in Oklahoma City at Competition R/C to race.” OKC was about equal distance for us to travel…Nathan told us the only catch was they ran a spec tire there on the sprint cars…….He told us it was the Proline Road Hawg truck tire….I didn’t think anything of it until I bought a pair. I was thinking these people have to be out of their mind!!!! We kept an open mind and landed up and headed down the turnpike to race! James had a very nice facility with a well stocked hobby shop. Pits were air conditioned and very clean bathrooms!!!
First thing I noticed about James was how he ran a very good program….He was accurate with posted times of when the track would open and when the races would start. He was very specific how the races would be ran. If there was 8 cars in a heat, all 8 racers would corner the next race….No exceptions…He had the respect of all the racers. The track was very well prepped and turned out being one of the most fun tracks I have ever raced on. James would quickly mist the track before every heat. The track was very fun to race with multiple grooves. The thing that caught my interest the most was the cushion it would build on the topside. The high line was fast. The effort he put into keeping the track in good condition was second to none.
After that first race at Competition R/C, I made it back several times to race there! The local racers were all very nice and probably some of the best in the state. It was a tough place to go and win. Home of “Bullet” Bob Light. The quality of racers there just made the competition that much better!
One of the things I thought was really cool about James and his track was many of the drivers had nicknames! James was known as the “Godfather” Bob Light was “Bullet” and several others had nicknames. Before each race they had a quick driver intro to line up…Most referred to by their nicknames. I was lucky enough to be nicknamed by James as “Topside” because I always ran the high line and seemed to make it work well!
James had a very family friendly environment. He also had some great family by his side! His wife Lou was there every time I made the trip to race. She did it all….Worked the hobby shop area…Took care of the small concession area….And even called a few races when needed! Both Lou and James always had a good attitude and were very appreciative to us every trip we mad to race at their track! They really made us want to come back.
It was easy to see why James had been in business for over 20 years. It was a sad day in 2017 when I got the news that the building owners had decided they didn’t want to rent anymore and were going to sell the building. After 23 years Competition R/C was shutting the doors. James and Lou decided it was a good time to retire. They had one last “Big Ass” race and went out with a bang.
After “retiring,” I noticed James kept the Competition R/C facebook page open. He constantly posts race results of races involving the regulars from his track. He still promotes the hobby every chance he gets. I also noticed he still gets out and still gets some wheel time himself…I was lucky enough to get to race with him recently just like old times!
James is a person I feel like many track owners should have a conversation with to pick his brain and see how he made it work for so many years! He had a fun track with many loyal followers.
James is a true LEGEND of the hobby!
Raymond (DozerCam) Phillips