NORTH-SOUTH SHOOTOUT: FRIDAY NOTES by Jeremy Troiano
Lia Takes The Pole, Heat Races Uneventful, Wild Day For Myers Boys
LIA CONTINUES CONCORD ROLL, WINS POLE

The end of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season might not have been great for Donny Lia, but he’s always been a big fan of the North-South Shootout at Concord Motorsport Park. 

Last year, Donny came away with the win.  This year, he’s been the fastest car in practice both Thurday and Friday.  He backed it all up by winning the pole for Saturday night’s event on Friday evening
“I’m relieved because it was ours to lose,” said Lia after the race.  “We were the fastest car all day yesterday and today.  That is hard for me, because now all day long, I’m thinking how I could mess it up.  I knew I had a car that could win the pole.

“It wouldn’t have been the end of the world if we didn’t get it, but you like to do it.  It pumps the guys up and it pumps you up.  It’s a good feeling.”

Because only the top-five drivers were locked into the field, the rest of the competitors had to try and make it in through one of four heat races.  Lia didn’t have to worry about that.
“The heat races are no fun to run.  I’ll sit back and watch them and have a beer, watch some excitement.  In the heat race, you can tear up some equipment, and you don’t want to do that.  I let them down last week because we had a car to win.  This now pumps them up.  I guess this is the first step of making up for last week.”

SYLVESTER TAKES TO CONCORD QUICK

Zach Sylvester had never seen Concord Motorsport Park until Thursday afternoon.  Concord is not easy track.   And Zach would have told anyone how much he hated it after Thursday’s practice sessions.
However, Friday night, he was singing a different tune after qualifying second.

“That’s a lot of pressure off of my shoulders.  For the first time every being here and the first time ever seeing the place, we’re pretty happy.  We were junk yesterday.  We changed a bunch of stuff on the car, did a little bit of homework last night and came back today and it was totally different. 

“I tried to get as many laps on the track as I could. A friend of mine from up north wanted me to take his SK out and shake it down, so it gave me the chance to get behind some guys in that class and find the line around this place.  It just gave me some good laps.”
Sylvester loves the half-mile tri-oval.

“This place is phenomenal.  Especially for us young guys, we just love the speed.  The track is awesome and the speed is awesome.  They say it is a different ballgame when you are in a pack of cars.  You need to have a lot of give and take.”

MOD HEAT ONE:  ALL HOSSFELD

Chuck Hossfeld was the first driver not to get locked into the field after qualifying sixth on Friday.  So he just showed that it didn’t matter at all, dominating the first 20-lap heat race, locking himself into the event.
Hossfeld got a jump on Southern driver Tim Brown and led all 20 laps.

Brown was able to hold onto second, with the #15 of Tim Arre coming home third, locking himself into the show.

It was too bad that fourth-position wasn’t the transfer spot, as JR Burtuccio and Andy Seuss put on a hell of a show, finishing side-by-side at the checkers.  Suess was awarded with the position.

“That was fun,” said Seuss.  “It was just too bad that it wasn’t for the transfer spot.  But we have ourselves a pretty good starting spot for the consi tomorrow.  The car wasn’t too good early, but it got a lot bette by the end of the night.
Donny Lia captured the pole for Saturday's race on Friday night.  (Jim DuPont Photo)
CAR COUNTS

There were 44 cars that competed in qualifying for the North-South Shootout on Friday night.  40 of those cars took qualifying attempts.  Donny Lia was fastest at 15.605.  Wayne Anderson was slowest at 17.123.
Zach Sylvester (51 Photo)
There were 16 Southern Division representatives, with the rest coming from the North.  Some notable names missing from the Southern Division roster included Michael Clifton, Jay Foley and Bobby Hutchins.   A few different Southern names include Darrel Krentz, Johnny Sutton, Joshua Nichols, Aubrey Fishel and Brandon Hire.

Several Northern representatives are missing, most notably Whelen Modified Tour Champion Tony Hirschman.  Other big name Northerners missing include Jerry Marquis, Rick Fuller and Eddie Flemke Jr.

A total of 41 drivers attempted to qualify for the SK Mod race.
There are several drivers, including both Blewett brothers and Ted Christopher, that are puling double duty this weekend, running both the Modified and SK shows.  Southern Division driver Tim Brown is also pulling double duty, but his second race with be behind the wheel of one of the vintage modifieds.

MOD HEAT TWO:  COBY TAKES IT

Doug Coby continued the trend of dominating heat races, leading all 20 laps from start to finish to win the second heat on Friday night.

It took a couple of starts for Coby to get the win, after officials said he jumped the start.  Once the green was out for good, Coby was able to pull away from the Southern duo of Jay Hedgecock and Brian Loftin, who each locked themselves into the field as well.

The real story of the heat might have been Johnny Sutton, who wrecked his brand new car in practice, pulled out a backup and started in the rear of the field.  After just four laps of practice before the start of the heats, Sutton moved his way through the field finished sixth.

“There was a car spun down in turn one and we spun to miss him,” said Sutton of his accident.  “Then, someone
else came along and spun and hit the front end and wrecked it pretty good.  Then, Burt Myers came and hit us really hard.  That pretty much took the whole front end off.  So we had to pull out the other car.”

HIRSCHMAN WANTS A FEW MORE LAPS

Last year, Matt Hirschman made it only a couple of laps in the North-South Shootout, getting caught up in an early accident and knocked out of the event.

This year, Matt would like to make a few more laps, and he’ll have a good shot after qualifying third.
“It is nice to know that you are in and you don’t have to run the heats,” said Hirschman.  “The heat races are nice practice, but you have a chance of ruining your stuff and getting in a crash.  It is nice to be in and I’m a big race fan, so I’ll sit down and enjoy some heat races.”

It wasn’t an uneventful day for Hirschman though.  He spun in the second round of practice on Friday afternoon.

“I don’t think we have as good of race car as the cars we timed with.  We’ll see.  In practice, we were not as fast.  When I did try and find a little extra to get closer to their times, I ended up spinning the car out.  I know the limit of the car.  I know where I can’t push it past.

Matt Hirschman (51 Photo)
“We will hopefully be able to think of some things to make it better.  I’d be happy just to finish, because last year, we ended up wrecked right at the beginning.”

SK WORLD
Andy Seuss (above) put on a great show with JR Burtuccio late in heat race one.  (51 Photo)
Johnny Sutton had a big time accident on Friday afternoon at Concord.
Tim Brown is driving both an old and new Modified at Concord this weekend.  (51 Photo)
Bobby Santos III ran a lap that would have qualified him 17th for the North-South Shootout on Saturday night.  However, his 16.012 was fast enough to grab the pole for the SK Modified race on Saturday night.

Jimmy Blewett, one of the numerous drivers doing double duty, qualified with the second quickest time.  Ronnie Silk was the third quick qualifier, followed by Justin Gumley and Woody Pitkat rounding out the top five.

MOD HEAT THREE: BEERS BLOWS ‘EM AWAY

Eric Beers didn’t want to be outdone and he wasn’t on Friday night.  After the previous two heat race winners lead all 20 laps en route to the wins,  Beers did the same, winning heat number three.
“It was good,” said Beers.  “It gave us some time at night and a 20 laps run to see what it would do to the tires.  it pretty much showed us all we had to do is tighten it up.  we were pretty good. 
I don’t like watching the heat races without running them.  Twenty laps was not going to hurt us.  The car is good, our car just takes a lap to get going.”

The real story might have been two top contenders falling out of the event.  Mike Christopher never seemed to get up to speed after motor problems surfaced in the opening laps.  He pulled out of the race a few laps later.  Kirk Alexander slowed and also pulled off the track just a few laps later.  However, Alexander has a guaranteed starting spot. 

Pete Brittain and John Smith each locked themselves into Saturday’s field by finishing second and third.
Kirk Alexander (#43) will have to rely on his provisional to make the show.  (51 Photo)
Bobby Santos is on the pole in the SK Division.  (Jim DuPont Photo)
TOUGH DAY FOR THE MYERS BOYS

Burt and Jason Myers’ mother said that they were trying to give her a heart attack on Friday.  If they were trying, they did a good job at it.

Things started bad early for the brothers, when Jason unloaded and went out on the track, only to blow an engine a few laps later.  That meant a long “road trip” to get the spare for the younger of the brothers.
“We unloaded off the track and we were running 80s with the car on tires that we ran at Ace last week, so I knew we were in the ballpark.  I heard it starting to make a racket in practice, so I pulled it in and shut it off.

“I had to make a trip back to Winston-Salem to get the other motor.  I got back here at 6pm with that other motor and got it put in.  We made the heat race.  We have a guaranteed spot in the show.  That is really the only reason we did what we did, or we probably would have just let it go. 

“I think I got a little bit more in this motor.  It has a lot more laps in it though.”
Jason Myers' car sits in the pits minus and engine.  (51 Photo)
While Myers was driving, his phone rang.  Those at the track informed him that his brother, Burt, was just involved in an accident during the final round of practice.

“They hadn’t thrown the caution when I crossed the start/finish line and I ran down into turn one and there were a couple of cars all sideways and I ran right into them,” said Burt, who hit the stopped car of Johnny Sutton. 

Burt’s car was heavily damaged, but he was able to get it fixed in time to start the heat race.  Both Myers brothers have provisional starting spots after winning qualifying races earlier in the year

MOD HEAT FOUR: TC DOES IT AGAIN.
I don’t like watching the heat races without running them.  Twenty laps was not going to hurt us.  The car is good, our car just takes a lap to get going.”

The real story might have been two top contenders falling out of the event.  Mike Christopher never seemed to get up to speed after motor problems surfaced in the opening laps.  He pulled out of the race a few laps later.  Kirk Alexander slowed and also pulled off the track just a few laps later.  However, Alexander has a guaranteed starting spot. 

Pete Brittain and John Smith each locked themselves into Saturday’s field by finishing second and third.
Kirk Alexander (#43) will have to rely on his provisional to make the show.  (51 Photo)
Ted Christopher made it four-for-four in Northern heat race winners, and four-for-four of heat races with no lead changes. 

TC jumped to the lead, but Jamie Tomaino down into turn one and never looked back.  Tomaino eventually lost second to John Blewett III, but both drivers were able to lock themselves into the show.

The excitement of heat four actually came before the green flag flew. 

Nevin George’s #00 caught fire before the green flew.  He stopped and got the fire put out and restarted the event, only to pull off a couple of laps later.




Look close and you can see the fire extinguisher residue on the hood of Nevin George's #00.  (Jim DuPont Photo)