NORTH AND SOUTH COME TOGETHER FOR SHOOTOUT by Mike Twist
Everyone is Chasing John Blewett, III After Last Three NSS Events
The regular seasons are over for both of NASCAR Whelen Modified Tours, the Race of Champions Modified Series in the Mid-Atlantic States and the True Value Modified Racing Series in New England.
Blewett in victory lane at last year's NSS.
But that doesn’t mean that Modifieds are getting parked for the winter. A series of late season, non-points special events are coming up in the next month, with the Fourth Annual North-South Shootout getting things kicked off this weekend at Concord Motorsport Park in North Carolina.
The race, held in the shadows of Charlotte, is a Mod fan’s dream. Nowhere in the country all season long can you find so many different Modifieds hitting the track. There will be SK/Sunoco Modifieds, crate-engine SK “Lights”, four-cylinder Modifieds, Vintage Modifieds and the big show of them all – the Hoosier 100 for Tour-Type Modifieds, a race that draws the best teams from the North and the South to come together and pit their skills against each other.
“It’s a big show,” said Eric Beers. “You’ve got a lot of Southern teams and a lot of Northern teams that go down there. It’s a tough race track. It’s very fast and very racy.”
“It’s an awesome deal,” said Southern Modified ace Burt Myers. “You’re getting to race against people who you don’t normally race against and that makes it exciting.
“I always like racing with different people. When you race with a certain group of guys for so long, it’s like being with your girlfriend. You learn how to get along and everyone plays pretty. Everyone just does what they are supposed to do. Then you go and run a race like that and it’s a free-for-all. You race everybody the same. Down here, you have different guys who you race differently and I’m sure that they have the same things up there. When you to a race like this, it’s just balls to the wall. There are no points; it’s just ego and money.”
It also creates a little bit of a rivalry. The Northerners have won all three Shootouts to date and are considered slight underdogs for the race. Myers said that isn’t because of a lack of talent below the Mason-Dixon line though.
“They’ve [the Northern teams] always had a slight advantage over us financially,” said Myers. “I know that everyone gets tired of hearing that and it sounds like a broken record, but facts are facts. Driving ability, talent and knowledge is not what we lack. It’s the financial support that we need to take advantage of that. We’re behind the eight-ball a little bit.”
Northern or Southern, all teams might already be a little bit behind John Blewett, III. In three Shootouts, Blewett has two victories and a runner-up finish to Donny Lia.
“We’ve won it two out of three times and the pressure is
Blewett (#66) leads Beers (#19) last year.
on us,” said Blewett. “But even with the pressure on us, it’s still fun. We’re looking forward to it.”
Why is Blewett so formidable in the Shootout? One reason is the fact that he likes the track and it also reminds him of the now-closed Flemington Speedway in his home state of New Jersey.
“Everybody has a place that they like,” said Blewett. “For me initially it was Flemington. Now it seems to be Loudon and Concord. We run good everywhere, but there are a few places where we really take to.
“The track is fast. Some people aren’t used to that speed, but I grew up around it racing at Flemington. It’s an odd shape and there’s so much speed. You’re hauling the mail there. There’s no two ways about it. If you’ve got any issues with speed, stay home.”
Nobody is conceding the race to Blewett quite yet though.
“I got second there a couple years back and I definitely want to move up one spot,” said Beers. “I’m hoping to time trial well, so I won’t have to run a heat and take it from there.”
“I have a Ford Motor in the works and we were hoping to have that back, but it won’t be ready in time,” said Myers. “So I’m taking my little Chevrolet and the car that we’ve had for years and years and years. I really like this little car, so I think that we have a good chance this time.”
Most of all, the race promises to be plenty of fun for competitors and fans alike.
“There are no points and it’s a fun deal,” said Blewett. “It pays really good. The people from C&C Promotions do a great job with the race.”
Practice for the North-South Shootout kicks off on Thursday, November 2nd. Qualifying and heat races will take place on Friday, November 3rd and the feature events will roll off on Saturday, November 4th.
Speed51.com will be on hand on the track throughout the weekend to bring you the latest from the races.