BROWN TAKES FIRST REAL NASCAR SOUTHERN MOD WIN by Matthew Dillner
Myers Steamed at LW Miller & More from Race at Ace
It’s been a long time coming but as they say in the Heinz Ketchup advertisements, ‘the best things come to those who wait.’
Tim Brown, who became a fixture and a threat in his first full-year on the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour in 2006, finally experienced something he had been waiting a long time, a Modified Tour victory. Brown took his first ‘real win’ by pretty-much dominating the DMC 150 at Ace Speedway on Labor Day.
Brown and the Hayes Diamond Gang were pumped in victory lane at Ace. (51 Photos)
“We’ve been there so many times and run second about six times,” said Brown after the win. “I thought man, if we ever just get over that hump. We won Martinsville last year (got winners points as top Southern Tour finisher but placed ninth overall) on the Southern side. But to me and my guys that wasn’t really like a win because you don’t get to get out in victory lane and get your picture made and celebrate with the fans and reporters and all of that."
Brown has been trying for a while, and after 32-races, pulling into victory lane was sweet feeling for the 36-year old driver.
“When I was coming to that checkered flag I was thinking, man I just got Phil his first Southern win and my guys there first Southern Tour win. I got myself my first Tour win. I won at Ace and set the track record tonight. What else could I have done tonight? It was perfect.”
Brown took the lead from Burt Myers on lap 69 and never looked back. If he did, he
Brown (#83) gets under Myers for the lead.
would see a lot of space. With a 130-lap green-flag run to finish the 150-lap contest, Brown had plenty of time to pad his lead. But that time along at the point also brought back some memories of races he thought he saw slip away..
“Years and years ago I was leading a race here and the motor broke with 15-laps to go. So I always thought that this place owed me one. I looked up this time and saw 130-something (laps) on the board and told myself I wasn’t even going to think about it because I had seen that before when I broke.”
“I was hoping the green flag would stay. I’ve lost a lot of races right at the end. I was hoping there wouldn’t be a caution. The crew kept telling me to save something just in case there was a caution so we had a lot left if we had to. We would have still been ok “
Brown is well noted as a power-house in the Southern Modified World. But that rank comes mainly from his winning exploits at his weekly home-track, Bowman Gray Stadium. This win further solidifies the fact that Brown is now a Tour winner.
He got there with a little help from his friend, Phil Moran. Moran, a long time crew-chief in the northeast who last worked above the Mason-Dixon Line with 2003 NASCAR Mod Tour champ Toddy Szegedy, has been a key addition to Brown’s team.
“The main thing Phil has brought to the team is leadership,” said Brown of Moran’s contributions. “When I am in that car I don’t have to think about setup. He can watch the car and make suggestions. We’ve only been together on eight or nine races on the Tour and this year at the Stadium. He tells me to hit my marks and be smooth and I’ve never had that before. It’s just been a great marriage for us.”
“Bowman Gray, you have to go balls to the wall out of the trailer,” said Moran of his driver’s bull-ring roots. “This is a different type of racing and that was the hardest thing for Tim to learn. He’s so used to Bowman Gray. It’s where he grew up and he’s won six Championships there. I just constantly talk to him. We’ve been able to communicate between the two of us to get to that happy point. Before, Timmy had to make a lot of the calls from the seat of the car. Now we are on the same page and that’s what is making him better. My big thing is I watch his hands and if I see them going crazy I tell him to calm down and that we have a long way to go.
The win was extra special for Brown and Moran because of a group of hard-nose racers that happen to be the Hayes Jewelers crew. A group of guys who don’t hide their loyalty to Brown.
“These guys busted their butt on the car and we had a lot to do to the car after Martinsville (on Saturday),” added Moran. “The guy’s families sacrificed. It’s a holiday weekend and they all wanted to go to the beach. We have a real group of devoted guys
Brown poses with Moran (right) in Victory Lane.
who worked on the car and got it turned around yesterday. Those guys worked on it until 9 this morning. We loaded it, drove here, unloaded and set the track record and got the win.”
“It means so much to me,” said Brown of celebrating with his crew. “These guys put their heart and soul into it. To crawl out of that racecar and see tears in their eyes and to hug them and know that they love you and care for you is awesome and it means everything to me.”
MYERS LEFT FUMING AFTER CONTACT KNOCKS HIM OUT OF SECOND
LW Miller hunted down second-place Burt Myers toward the late stages of the race. Every time Miller would look to make a pass on Myers, lapped traffic would work to Burt’s advantage. The two cars made slight contact a few times during their battle. It was the contact on the final turn that caused all the post-race fireworks. Miller got into Myers, sending the Philip Smith owned #1 spinning. Myers floored it, spinning his car in a cloud of smoke and was able to amazingly cross the line fourth.
Miller stopped his car on the front stretch at Ace for post-race interviews as the runner-up finisher. Myers sat in his car for a few minutes. He then got out and charged toward the infield wall and made his voice heard to Miller. Some yelling and commotion ensued with Myers continually pointing his finger at LW. NASCAR officials stepped in and made sure the situation didn’t get out of hand.
“I didn’t really mean to spin him out,” said LW shortly after hearing it from Myers. “Every time I would get down underneath him he would run me down, run me down. I got a run under him and there were lapped cars all over the place. Yeah, I got into him. It was because he came down. He got sideways. I was going to run into the side of him or turn him around so I had to turn him around. I hate it. We were racing for position. I didn’t spin him out on purpose I was just racing hard on the last lap. It’s just good hard Short Track racing.”
Myers' #1 goes spinning in a cloud of smoke coming off the final turn.
“He’s just not very happy and that is understandable. He had a good run going and I had a good run going and we were racing hard. I hate it.
Myers did not see it that way at all.
“He bonsaied it on the flat and washed up into me and turned me around. Hands down everyone here saw it. All the Burt Myers haters were chearin’ and what have you. Everyone who watched this race and knows anything knows what happened. That’s par for the course. That’s LW for ya. When he can’t pass you he runs into you.
Myers made sure LW knew it was him, that he wanted to talk to.
“He flat out spun me out. I heard him say on the PA that he didn’t mean to. If you say it over and over again that you didn’t mean over and over again maybe that means you aren’t the driver you thought you were. I think that’s the case with LW.
“There are only so many times you can say that without taking the blame yourself. Ya know if I move somebody I will tell them I moved ‘em. He ain’t got the balls to even tell me he did it? He says ‘oh, I'm sorry, I didn’t mean to.’ Well, it’s all going to come back around. I’ve got a memory like an elephant. It might not be now, it might not be next week, but I am sure we will do some hard racing before it’s over with.”
The spin cost Myers valuable points as he is chasing LW Miller for the title. After Ace, Miller leads Myers by 34 points.
“I saw Junior (Miller) have problems. I never like to finish second but I was thinking it
wouldn’t be a bad points night at least. I still got fourth out of it. I should have finished second. LW is just a piece of trash. He does it over and over again and doesn’t mean to, maybe he’s not the driver he thinks he is if he doesn’t have any control.”
“We are doing well in points,” said LW of his points lead over Myers. “Burt just came up to me and promised me I wouldn’t win the championship. I’d say if that’s the case he won’t win it either."
“I don’t ever make threats, I make promises," said the animated Myers. "And I promise you LW is going to remember who that name is on that car right here,” said Myers while pointing to his name on the roof of the black #1.
LW seemed to know that he should expect some form of retaliation in the coming weeks.
“I guess he says I’ve got one coming," admitted LW. "I guess I do have one coming after that.”
“I came to win tonight,” added Myers. “I’m going to win next weekend. If I do that I will get more points than everyone else. Yes, I want to win this championship. No, I didn’t threaten to knock him out of this championship. I’m just telling you he is going to know who that name is before this is over with. He’s going to dream about that name. He’s gonna wake up thinking about Burt Myers. He’s gonna go to bed thinking about Burt Myers."
SLUMPING MILLER DOWN BUT NOT OUT
Two races and two sub-par finishes for the defending NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion.
Junior Miller came out of Martinsville 15th. Then at Ace, the bottom dropped out… or the water did at least. A puff of smoke could be seen from the #69 shortly before he pulled the Advance Auto Parts ride onto pit road. All the water dropped out of Junior’s ride. The team could not identify the source of the problem so they dropped out of the race instead of cooking a good engine and finished dead last in the 20th spot.
The fallout from the Labor Day Double? Junior slipped to fourth in points and now sits 91-markers out of the top spot held by LW Miller.
“You can’t win championships and fall out,” stated Miller. “We might get it back if these other boys have trouble. We’ve gotta get going and get back to the front. That’s what we’ve gotta do. We have an outside chance. We have a chance until the number runs out. We are behind right now but not too far behind. It isn’t looking good for us though. I went to Martinsville last year with a 135 point lead and I was five points behind going into the last race. It shows you can lose a lot of points in a hurry.
The Riggs Racing team later remedied the problems, pointing to a radiator cap failure as the source. They were relieved in one way; it had been since 1994 at Caraway since the team suffered a DNF from an engine failure. They were glad to keep that streak alive.
WOODY GETS GOIN DOWN SOUTH WITH HILLBILLIES
The Hillbilly Motorosports #79 Team loves to race. They run the northern version of the Whelen Mod Tour. They also run as many shows as they can in the Southern edition. When Chuck Hossfeld and the team split ways, they wanted to make sure to have a driver that wanted to race as much as possible. Woody Pitkat is that man.
Seven races in five days,” said Woody of his week. On Wednesday he ran Seekonk (MA) with the 79 bunch, Thursday it was Thompson (CT), Friday it was Stafford (CT) and then back with the Hillbilly Team on Saturday at Martinsville. After a day off they were back at Ace. Woody chimed in his best performance to date with the team finishing 5th.
KNOCKIN’ THE DUST OFF THE OLD RIDE
“That’s definitely the most I’ve ever ran. If we had finished every race it would have been 700 laps. That would have been cool to do all of that. I’m pretty tired because it was a long week. This was probably our best run with the Tour car.”
LW Miller brought out an oldie but a goodie to race at Ace. He ran his usual Baker Motorsports silver #36 at Martinsville. At Ace, he brought out his old SMART Tour car. The same car that won Martinsville in 2002 and won seven SMART Tour races in 2003. The same car that has been sitting in LW’s shop for nearly four years.
“We wrecked it at Concord in 2003,” said LW. “We stripped it down and it was a bare chassis. I actually sent the car up to Chassis Dynamics to verify that it was junk. I never really gave it any thought. They called me a few months later and said ‘hey are you ever going to come pick up this car.’ I said, I thought it was junk? They said no it’s fixed. We tested it in 2004 and never really ran it and it has sat ever since.
“We knew going into Martinsville that it was back to back with Ace and you never know what is going to happen. Last year we tore up car up so bad at Martinsville we probably wouldn’t have it ready to run Ace. I told the boys; ok I want to put my car together. It’s been sitting in my shop on the jig since 2003.”
SPEAKING OF OLD CARS? BUTNER AN ACE IN AN EVANS CHASSIS
Randy Butner didn’t have the finish he hoped for in the Whelen Southern Mod Tour race at Ace, he finished 15th. But in the weekly Ace Mods, the Grand American division, he ran away with the win. It was his eighth win of the season at the North Carolina track. Butner is walking away with the title in that division while driving an old Richie Evans’ chassis.
FINALLY LOFTINS FINDS LUCK IN GOOD RUN AT ACE
Brian Loftin has been a magnet for bad luck all year long. In fact, when this reporter approached Brian after the race, we joked that we could finally talk about something good.
Randy Butner enjoys another Grand-American Mod win at Ace Speedway.
Loftin has seemingly been on the hook more than rolling in the pits after a race on his own power in 2007. That luck finally turned around at Ace. Loftin marched from an eighth starting spot to finish third with arguably one of the strongest cars in the field.
“We had an awesome racecar,” said a smiling Loftin. “If we had qualified a little better we would have had a shot at the win. Maybe we wouldn’t have gotten it but I will tell you he wouldn’t have run off with it. I can’t thank everyone enough for sticking with me. We are going to turn this thing around and get a victory before this thing is over with. It feels great. Just taking it home in one piece is a nice change for us. We still have a little work from the car we ran at Martinsville but at least this one is in one piece.”
AT LEAST LW PROVIDED MYERS GROUP WITH SOME HAPPINESS
After the dust settled and the tempers cooled a little bit, things got even more interesting with the LW Miller / Burt Myers Ace saga. LW jumped in a Grand American Modified, a weekly division at Ace, and drove the #66 ride. Well, the race didn’t last long for LW before he got in a tangle and ended up wrecking on the front stretch. He wrecked right in front of the Myers’ two trailers. Both Myers’ drivers, families and crews didn’t hide their satisfaction in seeing Miller crash. The loudly cheered as the tow truck came to pick up Miller’s wrecked ride.
“I did it right in front of the Myers and their fans so at least they enjoyed something about the night,” chuckled LW while walking back from his car.
Burt said he wants LW to go to sleep thinking about him.
The Riggs crew looks over the #69 on pit road.
Miller's car had his old #73 o the nose and the Baker #36 on the side.