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It's possible the old stain is a gel stain and shows brush marks because the person that did it used a too coarse of a brush. If the instructions on the stain you are using say to brush on and let dry it is probably alright. It is stains like Minwax woodfinish or woodclasics stain from Sherwin Williams that it is important to wipe the excess off. The binder in those stains is so thin it will prevent the topcoat from bonding if the excess isn't wiped off but these stains are intended to be used on bare wood.
 
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