Burt Myers Takes Home One for the South by Elgin Traylor
All the News and Notes from Martinsville
Editor's Note - On Wednesday afternoon, NASCAR announced that Burt Myers would be stripped of his Martinsville victory for a transmission issue on his #1 car.  Speed51.com will have more on this story, which gave Ryan Preece the overall Martinsville victory, on Thursday.  The following is NASCAR's statement on the matter:

NASCAR announced today that the unofficial results of Saturday’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour/NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour combination race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway have been revised due to a rules violations discovered during post-race inspection of the first-place car – the No. 1 driven by Burt Myers.

The car was found to be in violation and did not conform to rules (transmission gear was not within the specified limits) of the 2008 NASCAR Touring Series rule book. The violations were discovered during post race inspection on Sept. 20.

The rules violation dropped Myers to 43rd in the official race finish. All other drivers in the event moved up one position in the official finishing order. (9-24-08)

It took 23 years, but a driver from south of the Mason-Dixon Line has returned to Victory Lane at Martinsville Speedway in a NASCAR Modified event.  Burt Myers is a fan favorite and now he is a part of Modified history after winning the Whelen Made in America 300 at Martinsville Speedway (VA).  The victory, coming in a combination event with the Northern and Southern Mod Tours, marks the second consecutive win on the South side of the map for the SMT regular who won the last time out at Ace Speedway.  This win, however, is hands down the biggest of his career.

“This is big.  It’s really big,” said Myers.  “I think the Southern boys are here to play.  A lot of that is due to the fact that Northern cars are that good.  The Southern guys have had to step up their programs because of that reason.”
Burt Myers got to wave the flag that matters most at the end of the day.  (Rick Ibsen Photo)

The monkey is finally off the Southern drivers’ backs, but it almost was taken away from Myers once, but a timely yellow flag kept him up front.  On lap 222, Myers made the pass for the lead on Northern Whelen Mod Tour young gun Ryan Preece.  As the cars came back to the line, the yellow flag flew, putting the field back to the last completed lap.

“That previous lap rule can be disheartening when you get by someone and then the yellow comes out,” added Myers.  “I knew if we stayed green for a little while then we could win the race.  The longer the car ran the better it got.  I’m happy for my crew my family, my sponsors - everyone that is associated with this team.  It just feels good.”

The Modified civil war between North and South will continue in a few short weeks at Concord Motorsport Park (NC) for the North-South Shootout event.
“The media will play up the North-South thing bigger then we will here in the garage area,” added Myers.  “We all put our pants on the same.  They are just a little bit further up the road then we are.” 

Note: (NASCAR took the transmission and MSD Box from Burt Myers' winning Modified after Saturday night's NASCAR Whelen Modified / Whelen Southern Modified combination event at Martinsville Speedway (VA).  The items will be examined at the NASCAR facility in North Carolina and the results to the race are still unofficial.)

PREECE ALL SMILES AFTER SECOND-PLACE RUN

After the Made in America 300 was complete, a 17-year-old kid was seen in the pits walking around holding a bunch of awards.  He was easy to point out because of the big smile on his face.

It was Ryan Preece who had the big smile despite being passed for the lead late in the race.  The first 150 laps, Preece was hands down the class of the field.  As the day went on the track conditions changed and Preece was fighting a loose race car.
Ryan Preece had a great day at Martinsville.  (51 Photo)
“The track changed dramatically,” said Preece.  “Even Burt (Myers) got loose, but we got looser. All the rubber built up and the sun went down and it just really changed the track.  I think we were just as good as Myers at the end, but he had the position on us. Congratulations to him on the victory.”

Preece still had reason to smile as he was awarded a victory as he was the highest finishing Northern Mod Tour driver.  That still has him motivated to go to Stafford next week as score the win the right way.

“I always have a smile on my face,” added Preece.  “Why wouldn’t I have a smile on my face?  I have a real great crew and a real great car.  Hopefully we will go to Stafford and try and dominate that race and win it.  I know Burt won’t be there.”


POINT LEADERS HANG TOUGH

It could have been a nasty day for the championship standings and Ted Christopher knew that.  The multi-time Modified winner is still looking for his first Touring championship.  Once again he has the points lead and the races are ticking off.  Martinsville was a big hurdle and even some mechanical problems couldn’t keep him out of the top five.

“In the beginning the alternator wire broke off and the battery went dead so we had no power,” said Christopher.  “It was good that we didn’t get wrecked or anything.  We fell back to 12th and track position was big today and I worked my way back to fifth.  It was a good points day and now there are only three left.”

When asked about the title chase, Christopher reiterated that he has been in this same spot several times before.
“You never know, it could be (his championship year). I said we needed to get through this race and now we go to Stafford and that’s my home track, so we are pretty good there.  We will have to wait and see.”

Southern Modified Tour point leader Brian Loftin had a long day as well, as a spin on the opening lap left him back in the eye of the storm.  After working for 300 laps he finally got to the top 10 to salvage a decent finish.

“I was wondering if we were going to be able to finish there at the beginning of the race,”  I have never seen so many guys race so aggressive at the beginning of a 300 lap race.”

His 10th place finish was actually earned him second place points on the Southern side as the North drivers took the second thru ninth positions.  With only two races to go, Loftin holds a 27 point lead over race winner Burt Myers and a 40 point lead over Tim Brown.  L.W. Miller is just two points behind Brown as the South tour heads to Caraway.

“We just logged another one in the books and we’ll go back to Caraway,” said Loftin. “We have been real good there this season and hopefully we can finish it off.”

HIRSCHMAN STAYS HOT

At the beginning of the year, Matt Hirschman was picked to win the Northern Modified Tour championship by our experts here at Speed51.com.  A few weeks into the season that might have looked like an imposable feat.  Now with just a handful of races to go and Hirschman hitting his stride and a championship is very much a possibility after his third-place run.   

“I said if we are going to beat him (Christopher) for the championship we are going to have to beat him on the track,” said Hirschman.  “We beat him on the track today and we have three more chances.  We have to keep doing the same thing.  If we do it like that one race at a time then the points will take care of themselves.”
Race-wise Hirschman stayed strong after posting a sixth-place finish at Dover in the Camping World East Series race the day before the Made in America 300.  Hirschman, with little sleep, made the best of his double duty weekend and battled hard for a solid run at Martinsville.

“It was a heck of a run for our team today,” said Hirschman.  “We started 10th and we fought hard to get up to where we did.  It’s not easy to pass cars here and there was no help from track position or pit stops or anything like that.  That was hard earned.”

NEW MODIFIED FAN

Slate Myers will not be winning any races any time soon, but he loves to watch his daddy race.  Born just a month ago, he has quickly become the new good luck charm for Burt Myers.

“He’s almost a month old and he’s been to two races and we have won them both,” said Myers with a big smile. 

How long will the win streak last? 

“If his momma’s up to it he’s going to keep coming back.”

VETERANS HAVE SOLID RUNS

Reggie Ruggiero and Ed Flemke, Jr. have been racing Modifieds for countless years at Martinsville Speedway, not to mention tracks across the Eastern Seaboard.  Both veterans of the Mod wars had very strong days at the historic NASCAR track.

Ruggiero started 13th and got involved with a little tangle on the opening lap.  After that, he hung around the top 10 for the first 200 laps before rocketing up to post a fourth-place finish.  It was great day for the former Martinsville winner.

“The car was really good we just got turned around there a couple of times and had to come back up to the front,” said Ruggiero.  “We ended up fourth.  I wish we could have won the race but the car got really loose at the end of the day.  All in all it was good day at Martinsville.”

When asked if he was going to hang up his helmet anytime soon he gave us a true racer's answer.
“You are going to give up when you can’t go fast and we can still go fast.”  

Eddie Flemke at the same time had a good run, but he looks at Tour and hopes for better things in the future.  Flemke could see the crowd was down from last year’s Made In America 300 at Martinsville.

“I would love to see them take this show and run it when the Cup cars are here,” said Flemke.  “It’s hard to draw fans this time a year down here in the South.  You have other sports around like football.  Let’s get back to the old days.”

Flemke, who finished eighth, was impressed on how well the Southern Tour cars raced.

“It was good to see a mix of cars up near the front,” added Flemke.  “We have a Southern car winning it and that’s a good thing.  It makes for good press and I am sure he (Myers) is happy.  It just shows that the Southern guys have stepped up." 

LONG DAY AT THE PAPER CLIP 

48 cars took time for the 43 starting spots at Martinsville.  Those cars that went home were probably in better shape then some that raced as the event was slowed by 16 caution flags for 88 laps.  The biggest mess of the day happened right before halfway when a 14-car wreck on the backstretch sidelined several drivers. 


For Speed51.com's Trackside Now Coverage From Martinsville, Click Here




(Top) Ted Christopher leaves Martinsville with the points lead (51 Photos)  (Bottom) Brian Loftin has a 27 point lead over race winner Burt Myers.  (Jim Dupont Photos)
Slate sits in the trophy at Martinsville Speedway.
(Riggs Racing Photo)
Reggie Ruggiero signs autographs for the fans. (51 Photo)