SMT LEFTOVERS: BOWMAN GRAY STADIUM by Jeremy Troiano
Hedgecock Loses Out, Crammer & Hoag Get First BG Taste
HEDGECOCK SLIDS OUT OF CONTENTION
Jay Hedgecock looked to have the car to beat for the first 70 laps at Bowman Gray Stadium. In fact, even after those first 70 laps, he still might have been the car to beat, because as everyone knows, being out front at BG is the place to be.
However, it wasn’t a bump from behind or a tussle with a lapped car or even driver error that knocked him out of the top spot on lap 72.
It was a little bit of dirt, kicked up on the track by another car that got Hedgecock’s #41 all out of shape and nearly into the outside wall.
“It was on there for two laps,” said Hedgecock of the dirt. “I hit it the first time and it turned the car sideways. I thought ‘God for bid we are going to run another lap’ or ‘maybe it would be gone the next time I came by.’ Then we came back and it was scattered everywhere.
“It caught the front wheels and I just skidded out toward the wall. There was enough dirt there that the official in the corner should have called for a caution. There was no reason for that. I’m not saying it cost me the race, but up to that point, I was just riding and keeping my distance on everyone.
“But when you get back to fifth and sixth, you can’t just
ride. You are trying to pass while trying to protect the bottom and keep people from getting under you. So it is hard on the tires. I couldn’t drive the line I wanted.”
Despite all that happened, Hedgecock (who finished fourth), along with several others, thought the Bowman Gray race was one of the best and cleanest races at the track in some time.
“I’ve raced here about 20 times or so, but this is probably the best race I’ve seen run over here. It was a clean race, for what ii is here.
“I enjoyed tonight.”
CRAMMER & HOAG HAVE FIRST BG EXPERIENCE
Two of the Northeastern drivers who compete regularly in the Southern Tour had their first experience at Bowman Gray in the Tour race there a few weeks ago.
Brian Crammer finished seventh in the event after starting dead last (22nd), while Alex Hoag suffered worse luck, finishing 21st after getting in an accident with Frank Fleming.
“I feel like I won the Daytona 500 here,” said Crammer after his seventh-place run. “We started 22nd after qualifying 18th because I elected to go to the back because I didn’t want to be on the outside. I ended up seventh. Everyone said you couldn’t pass cars here. I’m ready to get back to some real race tracks.”
Hoag had an eventful night.
“The nut behind the steering wheel came loose first and I hit the wall coming out of four,” said Hoag. “We got it fixed and the guys busted their ass and we got back out there. We were actually were pretty fast.
“I had the car so fast that I was running on the outside. We were on the outside, coming out of turn two and Frank (Fleming) was just sitting there. No one said anything on the radio. I got him. It was one of those nights.”
Speed51.com asked both Hoag and Crammer their thoughts of Bowman Gray Stadium.
“I think they need to tear it down,” joked Crammer. “Na, it is a cool place, but it is a very hard place to run. You just can’t pass here. I’m not saying I went from 22nd to seventh passing every car. I come from Wall (Stadium). It is survival of the fittest there. I usually seem to finish every race there. I brought the same mentality here. I just wanted to be able to load my car up at the end of the night.”
“I’ll go back to Caraway any day,” said Hoag. “It is different. It is a nice place, but it is just so hard to pass here. They pack the place, but they pack the place because everyone knows they are going to see wrecks. I don’t like driving that way, but at this place, you have to. You aren’t going to pass at this place without using the bumper.
“Congrats to Burt (Myers, the eventual race winner), but if you look at his front bumper, he used it.”
BOWMAN GRAY FAVORITE MILLER JUST MISSES OUT
Junior Miller, who is no doubt one of the fan favorites at Bowman Gray, was a man on am mission. He came from sixth and was one of the fastest cars on the track, especially on the long runs.
But a bunch of late cautions hurt Junior’s shots at winning the Tour race at Bowman Gray. Instead, he had to finish third.
“We just wanted to run along there for about 100 laps, then we picked the pace up, just like everyone else did,” said Miller. “We had a real good car if it had stayed green. The cautions came out and killed us. I had the 83 passed one time and the caution came out and that killed us. It seemed like we had a caution every 10 laps and it would take us about 10 laps to really get going. If it would have stayed green, we had a car that could have won.
“If it would have stayed green the rest of the way, we would have had something for Burt. I was a half a straightaway behind them at one point and I caught them pretty quick. Once the tires got hot, our car flew. We would have been real good if it went green. The short five and six laps green flag runs killed us.”
Jay Hedgecock started at the front of the field at Bowman Gray and stayed there until some dirt knocked him out of contention. (51 Photos)
Miller was also impressed with the return of the NASCAR Touring Series to Bowman Gray.
“I think it is great to have the NASCAR series back here. This was probably one of the most competitive races that we’ve run here in a long time. The small tires give up pretty easy. Tonight, the cars stayed pretty good all night long with the wider tires.”
HUTCHINS DISAPPOINTED WITH RUN
Bobby Hutchins was really looking forward to the Bowman Gray race. Unfortunately, things didn’t go too well for the Richard Childress Racing employee.
“It blew the power steering line off,” said Hutchins, who had to make a number of stops early in the race. “I didn’t have power steering there for about 30 laps. Finally, it got where it locked up and you couldn’t steer it at all. I am pretty disappointed with that.
“I feel like I had the best car. I don’t think I ever ran that easy here and I was just running third. Those guys were pushing and I was just running easy. I felt like I was pretty good.
“Plus, I have a broken right hand. That didn’t help either. It is really disappointing. We worked really hard at winning this race.”
Hutchins finished 17th
BOWMAN GRAY… BORING?
“I was bored to death to tell you the truth.”
That is what Jason Myers had to say about his night at Bowman Gray. “Boring” and “Bowman Gray” are not normally two words associated in the same sentence.
“I was just watching the races around me. I run from about lap 150 really hard. I was just riding all night long. I could have run another 100 laps for sure. I believe I waited a little too long.
“The car was snug. The longer I ran, the tighter it got. I really had to slow my entry speed down. We had an awesome race car, just not good enough track position. In qualifying, we screwed up. We’ll take it though.”
Jason, who ended up sixth, was also happy to see his brother win.
“I knew Burt was gong to be the car to beat tonight. That car there has been running here a long time. And in a long race, that is the car to put your money one. He showed them there tonight.”
At Bowman Gray, they either love Junior Miller or they hate him.
Bobby Hutchins (left) talks with NASCAR's Don Hawk (right) before the race at Bowman Gray.