Burt Myers passed John Smith with five laps remaining en route his first win of the season Saturday in the Tri-County 150. It was the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour's first visit to Tri-County Motor Speedway.
Myers, who didn’t move his No. 1 Capital Bank/Flat Rock Grill Ford into the top five until late in the race, was obviously happy to get his first win in over a year on the tour.
Smith wound up second, followed by Andy Seuss in third. Brandon Hire finished fourth and James Civali fifth.
“The (win) means the world to me,” Myers said. “This is why we do what we do so we can celebrate a win like this.”
Explaining his strategy, Myers said his crew wasn’t’ real happy with him at first.
“My crew kind of fussed at me because I held back a little in qualifying,” Myers said. “I wanted to be as easy on my tires as I could because I have been here (Tri-County) a lot through the years when my family ran this track and I knew how slick and abrasive the track can be.”
Myers made a pit stop during the third caution of the race on Lap 123 and changed a flat tire. Smith, who seemed ready to pick up his second win of the season at Tri-County, felt that tire change made all the difference in the outcome of the race.
“To have the best car (in the race) and lose is real tough,” Smith said. “If I would a different right rear tire on I don’t think he would have caught me either. I don’t know exactly what he had wrong whether it was bent or what.”
Smith was clearly frustrated after the race finishing second when he was prepared to celebrate the win in his No. 25 Tutterow Surveying/Rick’s Home Repair Chevrolet.
“In my eyes I thought I drove the perfect race,” he said. “I didn’t know where Burt came from and when I was told he got a fresh tire I knew. Second place isn’t too bad, but it is hard to swallow.”
Seuss, a third place finish almost felt like a victory after falling to the rear of the field after he and Miller made contact on the first lap sending his No. 47 Q Racing Oil/Glad Precision MUA Dodge into a spin in Turn 4.
“I wish we of saved our tires a little bit more but coming up through this worn out track is a little tough,” Seuss said. “We’ll take a third but this seems almost exactly like South Boston (where he also spun early in the race and had to come back through the field).”
Seuss isn’t worried about the points as he sits less than 10 points outside of the lead heading into the season finale at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“We are going to Charlotte to race for the win and I expect it to be one heck of a race,” Seuss said.
Miller and Civali put on a show for the crowd early in the race as duo exchanged the lead eight times between laps 9 and 72.
“That was fun racing but I didn’t expect everyone to drive as hard as they did that early in the race but we thought rain was coming and we wanted to be up there to get the win,” Civali said. “We used up our tires but were able to hold on for a top-five finish and the points lead heading to Charlotte.”
The victory is Myers' seventh career win and first since he was credited with a victory as the highest finishing NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour driver in the combination race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in Sept. of 2009.
Rounding out the top 10 were Brian Loftin, Jason Myers, L.W. Miller, Gene Pack and Bryan Dauzat.
The race was slowed due to caution five times for 21 laps and featured a season-high 12 lead changes among six drivers.
Civali used his fifth-place finish to maintain his points lead over Seuss, who rebounded from an early spin to get a podium finish. Civali leads Seuss by just three points (1,460-1,457) with Miller still third 32 points out of the lead. Burt Myers sits fourth with Smith completing the top five.
The Tri-County 150 will air on VERSUS on Wednesday, Sept. 29 at 7 p.m. and re-air on Sunday, Oct. 3 at 11 p.m.
The 2010 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour season will conclude on the quarter-mile on the front stretch of Charlotte Motor Speedway on Thursday, Oct. 14.
Whelen Southern Modified Tour-Tri-County 150 Unofficial Race Results
At Tri-County Motor Speedway
Lap length: 0.4 miles
(Start position in parentheses)
1. (5) Burt Myers, Walnut Cove, NC, Ford, 150 laps, 66.584 mph, $2,000.
2. (11) John Smith, Mount Airy, NC, Chevrolet, 150, $2,100.
3. (7) Andy Seuss, Hampstead, NH, Dodge, 150, $1,125.
4. (3) Brandon Hire, Winston-Salem, NC, Chevrolet, 150, $1,050.
5. (6) James Civali, Meriden, CT, Pontiac, 150, $1,000.
6. (2) Brian Loftin, Lexington, NC, Chevrolet, 150, $850.
7. (4) Jason Myers, Walnut Cove, NC, Ford, 150, $750.
8. (9) L.W. Miller, Dushore, PA, Pontiac, 150, $690.
9. (14) Gene Pack, North Myrtle Beach, S.C., Chevrolet, 150, $590.
10. (13) Bryan Dauzat, Alexandria, LA, Chevrolet, 150, $550.
11. (1) Johnny Sutton, Harrisburg, N.C., Chevrolet, 150, $525.
12. (15) Zach Brewer, Winston-Salem, NC, Chevrolet, 150, $500.
13. (16) Darrel Krentz, Huntersville, NC, Chevrolet, 148, $485.
14. (19) Donnie Lacks, Forrest, Va., Chevrolet, 147, $460.
15. (17) Greg Butcher, Mocksville, NC, Chevrolet, 147, $545.
16. (18) Mike Norman, Lewisville, NC, Ford, 146, $430.
17. (8) George Brunnhoelzl III, West Babylon, NY, Ford, 143, axle, $770.
18. (10) Frank Fleming, Mt. Airy, NC, Ford, 59, suspension, $410.
19. (12) Jonathan Kievman, Deerfield Beach, FL, Chevrolet, 54, engine, $400.
Time of Race: 0 hours 54 minutes 4 seconds
Margin of Victory: 1.534 seconds
Fastest Qualifier: G.Brunnhoelzl III (94.550 mph, 15.23 seconds)
Caution Flags: 5 for 21 laps.
Lead Changes: 12 among 6 drivers.
Lap Leaders: B. Loftin 1-8; J. Civali 9-35; L. Miller 36; J. Civali 37; L. Miller 38-44;J. Civali 45; L. Miller 46-50; J. Civali 51-64; L. Miller 65-68; J. Civali 69-72; J.Myers 73-126; J. Smith 127-144; B. Myers 145-150.
Standings: 1. J. Civali, 1460; 2. A. Seuss, 1457; 3. L. Miller, 1428; 4. B. Myers, 1419;5. J. Smith, 1395; 6. J. Myers, 1315; 7. Z. Brewer, 1264; 8. B. Hire, 1224; 9. F. Fleming, 1219; 10. G. Pack, 1166.