Burt Myers Comes Out on Top at Brian Pack Memorial By Matthew Dillner
Pack Family is On Hand for Memorial Race at Ace
The Inaugural Brian Pack Memorial ASA Modified Tour 150 at Ace Speedway (NC) was a success. A full-field of racecars and a sizeable crowd came out for the Labor Day Monday event. The Pack family was on-hand with the Mod community to help remember Brian, who was tragically lost in a motorcycle accident just weeks ago. The way the Mod-family came together at Ace was certainly something special. Brian's #81 car paced the 24-car field before the 150-lap Mod race. Brian's wife and children participated in everything from giving the command to start-engines, waving the green flag to driving their father's car during the pre-race pace laps.
Brian's father, Gene, a Short Track veteran himself, strapped into his Green-machine #31 to compete in the race named in his son's memory. Unfortunately, that race didn't end the way the storybooks would have wanted it to. Pack ran well in the top-ten and on the lead-lap until a late race accident ended his night, relegating him to a 16th place finish.
“This is the last thing I wanted to do was to come off the track before the end,” said Pack. “When I started this thing today my main thing was to be there at the end and we got close, we got close, we missed it by a couple of laps but we have to be satisfied with it. Brian would have probably been in the top three. He's a much better chauffeur than me; I'm just an old man doing the best I can.
“It's great to watch the grandkids take such a big interest in this racing,” said the emotional and proud grandfather. “Austin, we are probably going to put him in a car in about a year, the other one, Zack, he's talking about it. The little one, I don't know what he's doing, he's little, but he's gung ho too. We've got racing in our blood I guess. It's all we've ever done and if that's what they want to do then I'm fine with it.”
KING NOT HAPPY ABOUT THE WAYS OF THE DIRTY SOUTH
Burt Myers was all smiles when he crossed the start-finish line as the winner of the Brian Pack Memorial 150. Under the cool-down lap, Brian King let him know he wasn't happy with how he won the race.
King started on the pole for the event and led the majority of the race. With a handful of laps to go, his chance at the win was erased by contact from Burt's famous orange bumper.
“I could tell that his (Brian's) handling was going away and mine stayed right there,”
said Myers. “Mine stayed just as good at the end as it did in the beginning and I knew that would play into my hands. He had track position on me and being faster than him and being able to get by him was a different story. We waited until the corner and I was trying to feel his mirror up enough to make him start changing his line and make him try to lose focus on concentrating on running a line that was best for him.
The Pack family gave the command to start engines (Top), while Burt Myers took command of the race (Bottom). (51 Photos)
Brian King leads Burt Myers.
"As I made it, and got about halfway down the backstretch and I tried to make a dive on him just to get into his mirror, I was not really planning on making a move and as we got to the corner and he came down to try and put a mark on me. We just touched. I could probably push you right now harder than what we hit, but it hit him just in the right spot. And I hate it ended up that way and I know he's going to say he owes me one, and he's not going to believe me that it was an accident. But if I do something wrong, I'll take the blame, but in this situation it was both us, it was just good hard racing. I'd like to think even if that didn't happen; I still could have gotten around him because this thing was just awesome tonight.
Myers was right, King did believe the contact was intentional and felt that he was clearly wronged.
“He may have gotten me anyway, but I kind of expect better out of him,” said King. “Usually I race with him and we don't have any problems, we can beat and bang a little bit, but I don't call that racing, backing someone up into the corner. Bump a little bit in the middle, bump them up a little bit getting off to get under them, but not turn them going in the corner like he did. If he would have been to my door or even to my tire, but he was six inches up and from what I'm hearing he didn't even turn the steering wheel and if that's the way he wants to race, I can race like that. I didn't mind him pushing me up out of the groove in the middle or whatever, but off into the corner, that's just not racing to me.”
Regardless of the bump, Myers was just happy to be back in victory lane.
“A full field of cars tonight and to beat Brian King and the competition that was here,” added Myers, “I think we showed that the Dirty South is back on the rise again.”
FRIENDS SHOW SPORTSMANSHIP AT ACE
George Brunnhoelzl III and Josh Nichols are close friends but both fiery competitors. On Sunday, the celebrated George's Caraway NASCAR Whelen Southern Mod Tour win with a large group of family and friends. A day later, on Labor Day, they were locked into a fierce battle for second and third position for the entire 150-laps of the race. Brunnhoelzl got by Nichols once, but Nichols was able to get back by George and hold on for second.
“This is like a win for us,” said a positive Josh Nichols. “We really struggled the last time we came here with this car and its pretty neat to have me second and George third, he's like my adopted brother, and it's pretty cool. We can race hard with each other. He's just an awesome race car driver and an awesome friend.”
“We are real good friends,” said Brunnhoelzl in his trailer at the end of the night. “That's the way he and I race, we race hard, we're friends, and we bump and nudge a little bit. That's the way you should be able to race with everybody. It's a shame that with some people out there you can't race that way, but we race no problem passing each other back and forth and we had fun and neither one of us got a wrecked race car. It's a good deal, it's fun when you can race like that.”
BABY ON BOARD PROVES TO BE LUCKY CHARM FOR BURT
A fourth generation of Myers boys is now a part of the NASCAR scene. Slate Burton Myers, just six weeks old, attended his first ever race with Mommy and little sister. Seeing his daddy win at Ace, Slate is now one-for-one at the races.
“What else can you ask for you know?” said Myers about having his new boy at the track with he and his family. “Yeah, one for one, he's going to have to start coming all the time, he must have been my good luck charm. It's been a while, we've won some races here and there, but it seems like it's mostly at Friendship and Bowman Gray Stadium and no longer Friendship so it's good to win, its good to get a win.
Nichols' #34 and Brunnhoelzl's #28
Myers and family in victory lane.
learning curve. I think we did ok. We'll just come back next time and learn some more and eventually get better.”
Besides the race length, their was a lot for Hemric to learn. Driving a light Legends car with not much tire is a lot different than strapping in a furious beast with power and a ton of rubber.
“It's super special. She debated on earlier this week she wasn't going to come and as the week got down to the end, she didn't go to Lanier when we went Friday night and I guess as of Saturday night when I got home she wasn't coming and Mike Norman called me and said he would be glad to put her up in the suite, and he was gracious enough to do that and that's all it took.
“I knew my wife didn't get here until late and the race was getting ready to start. They came in and I didn't get a chance to get up and see them before the race started. In our warm up laps, I saw them standing up there waving at me and it definitely touched my heart.
LEGENDS STANDOUT MAKES IMPRESSIVE MOD DEBUT
Racing fans around the Legends racing circle know Daniel Hemric as one of the top-young-competitors of the scene. In the Mod ranks, he was just another fresh-faced kid with a firesuit. Well, that rookie driver, making his debut in a Modified, ran well and finished on the lead lap, finishing eighth in the final tally.
“We had a really good time,” said Hemric. “Right after qualifying we made some pretty drastic changes and that definitely worked for us. We started coming up through the field and got some lucky breaks coming through traffic and I ended up on the lead lap and getting a good solid top-ten. I knew it was going to be a long race, 150 laps, that's the longest race I've ever been in. We're use to running the 25-laps races at Concord in the Legends cars, so it was definitely a big
“Oh yeah, I mean it's definitely a totally different animal,” added Hemric with a smile. “It's definitely an animal I plan on driving again. We had a great time, so we'll definitely be back. The power, the tire, its just unbelievable. The weight is different. It's really awesome to get to drive a big car, especially when you have a good run. I figured it pushed like a lot of people say, a Late Model does. I hit the gas and it turned like a go-kart so I was really excited.”
NO SLEEP FOR THE WEARY… OR THE TRINCHERE THAT IS!
Sleep? Who needs it? Jason Trinchere didn't need it to get a top-ten finish in his #76 Troyer Modified. But he certainly wanted it after the night was over.
“No sleep at all, I can't wait to go to bed,” said Trinchere, who works for Dale Earnhardt Inc in the Sprint Cup Series. “It started yesterday morning going to the track with Cup car and was helping Martin Truex and we ended up 18th. We got on the plane and flew out of California at 1am ET and landed at a quarter-after-six. I went home and helped them finish packing (the Modified). I tried to take a nap for about an hour but it didn't work. We left the house at about 9:30AM to drive up here (to Ace), and it's about a two hour drive from my house. We got here and get ready for practice and that has been the whole day pretty much.”
But the busy weekend didn't end there for Trinchere.
“I'm going to try (to sleep on the way home) because I have to leave tomorrow morning, I'm the Busch East engineer for DEI and we have a test tomorrow at Dover with three Busch East cars.”
Jason Trinchere is a busy man, but he's happy getting to do what he loves.
BRUNHOELZL PROPOSAL PROVIDES PERFORMANCE
Everyone knows George Brunnhoelzl III can get the job done in a racecar. Luck hasn't always been on Brunnhoelzl's side over the last few years between the Hooters Pro Cup Series and the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour. That luck has turned around for the third-generation driver. A win at Caraway on the Whelen Tour on Saturday followed by a third-place fun at Ace has George all smiles. He also scored the pole at both of the Labor Day weekend races. What's even more ironic is that the sudden success comes just two weeks after he proposed to long-time girlfriend Heather DeBello.
“Everybody has been saying it,” said George about the teasing he has been receiving. “Heather and I have been together for almost eight years and everyone keeps coming up saying you should of done it seven years ago and you probably would have had a lot more wins under your belt. So it's fun, everyone is joking around, it's a good deal.
“We went on vacation to the Bahamas and Cable Beach and got engaged while we were down there. That's a big part of my life there and I'm happy. We came home and two weeks later won the race and that's even better. It's good all around. Everything right now in my life is going great, in my personal life, my racing life and my business life. Everything is going good right now. I couldn't ask for anything more.”