One of the most anticipated events of the season is next up for the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour. Bowman Gray Stadium will host the Strutmaster.com 199 presented by 104.1 WTQR this weekend in Winston-Salem, N.C.
James Civali (No. 79 Hill Enterprises/Coors Light Pontiac) enters this weekend with a slight 24-point lead (670-646) over L.W. Miller (No. 36 John Baker Plumbing & Utilities Pontiac). While Miller has yet to win this year, he has finished second in three consecutive races to help get him in position to challenge for his second championship.
One driver who is very excited to be at Bowman Gray is Burt Myers (No. 1 Capital Bank/Patterson’s Brand Chili Ford), who competes at the track on a weekly basis and currently leads the points standings in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Weekly Racing Series.
“I can’t wait to get to Bowman Gray Stadium this weekend,” Myers said. “You need to qualify up front but, last year showed you have to avoid any problems and have a little luck.”
Myers was making reference to last year’s event which featured rookie Luke Fleming picking up the win after making his first career start.
“When we had several incidents that took out a lot of cars, it put the race up for grabs,” Myers said. “We have had some luck this year and are running pretty well in the weekly shows. Hopefully we can bring that over to our Tour car.”
John Smith (No. 25 Tutterow Surveying/Rick’s Home Improvement Chevrolet) is one of the hottest drivers on the Tour. He is coming off of his first career win at Caraway Speedway. Smith led a race-high 105 laps last year at Bowman Gray before mechanical problems ended his night early.
Civali has won this season and Andy Seuss has also collected a win, while rookie Corey Lajoie won the season opener in Atlanta.
Having so many different winners is good for the Tour, according to Myers.
“I think the Whelen Southern Modified Tour is as competitive as it has ever been,” said Myers. “I think last year’s results at Bowman Gray show that when you have a good car and a little luck, anything can happen.”
The drivers arrive at Bowman Gray for practice and qualifying on Friday, with a final practice and the Strutmaster.com 199 presented by 104.1 WTQR to be held Saturday evening.
Next Race: Strutmaster.com 199 presented by 104.1 WTQR
The Place: Bowman Gray Stadium, Winston-Salem, N.C.
The Date: Saturday, Aug. 7
The Time: 8:50 p.m. EDT (Approx.)
Track Layout: .250-mile paved
Race Purse: $28,090
2009 Winner: Luke Fleming
2009 Pole: Brian Loftin
Schedule: Friday, Aug. 6, Practice 4-4:40 p.m.; Time Trials: 8:40; Saturday, Aug. 7 Practice 6:05-6:25 p.m., Race 8:50 p.m.
The Race … The Strutmaster.com 199 presented by 104.1 WTQR will be the fifth of 10 races on the 2010 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour Schedule. This will also be the third of six races for the series in the state of North Carolina this season.
The Procedure … Starting positions 1-23 will be set from time trials. The remaining three will be filled through the provisional process. The race is 199 laps (49.75 miles).
The Redraw … Fastest qualifier will draw to determine redraw of top 6, 8, or 10 cars.
The Track … The .25-mile track at Bowman Gray Stadium is a paved oval located in the heart of modified country in the southeast. The facility enjoys one of the longest partnerships as a sanctioned track in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Weekly Racing Series in the United States.
The Schedule … The 199-lap NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour race will be a two-day show. Practice and qualifying will be held on Friday. Drivers will practice from 4-4:40 p.m. and qualifying for the Coors Light Pole is slated for 8:40 p.m. The race is scheduled to take the green flag on Saturday at approximately 8:50 p.m. Luke Fleming was the surprise winner last season.
VERSUS To Begin First Of Four Tour Broadcasts
Some of the most exciting news announced this season by NASCAR has been the new schedule of televised events for the Southern tour.
The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour will have four of its final six races broadcast on VERSUS.
The first broadcast will be this weekend’s race from historic Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Each broadcast will premiere on Wednesday evening prime time at 7 p.m. EDT.
With this new agreement with VERSUS, the Southern tour will have the most television exposure in the six-year history of the tour under NASCAR sanction.
“I know as competitors we are very excited to have our races televised,” said Andy Seuss, who drives the No. 47 Q Racing Oil/Rockingham Boats Dodge on the southern tour.
“I think modified racing is awesome and I know we have many fans that keep up with both tours who will be happy to be able to see our great events.”
In addition to Bowman Gray Stadium, the Whelen Southern Modified Tour will also have events from Caraway Speedway (Asheboro, N.C.), Langley (Va.) Speedway and Tri-County Motor Speedway in Hudson, N.C., televised on the network.
The Whelen Modified Tour in the northern United States has already had one event televised on VERSUS and have four more scheduled for airing on the network.
The Whelen Modified Tour broadcast schedule will also include a pair of broadcasts from Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway and Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway.
With VERSUS and SPEED airing events, the Whelen Southern Tour will have a total of seven of the 10 races on its 2010 schedule televised
“We appreciate NASCAR working so hard to get our series on television as much as possible,” said southern tour veteran Burt Myers. “Being able to tell our sponsors we have an opportunity to get them a better value with television coverage only helps the drivers, sponsors and tracks that host our races.”
The Strutmaster.com 199 presented by 104.1 WTQR will be broadcast on Wednesday, Aug. 18 at 7 p.m. and will be re-aired on Saturday, Aug. 22 at 11 p.m. (EDT).
Race Recap: Smith Picks Up First Win At Caraway
Last year at the season finale at Caraway Speedway, it was all George Brunnhoelzl III could do to hold off John Smith and get the win. This time Smith wasn’t going to be denied.
Smith made a daring pass by L.W. Miller on a final restart and held on for his first win on the Tour on July 2 at Caraway.
Smith, who has finished in the top 10 in all four starts this year, provided yet another exciting finish for the tour at Caraway.
It appeared early on that L.W. Miller was going to finally break through and get his first win since 2008 as he led a race-high 149 laps in the event.
Miller and Zach Brewer swapped the lead twice throughout the first half of the race before Brewer drifted back and was involved in an accident that collected several other cars after he suffered mechanical issues while running in the top five.
James Civali started and finished third with Jason Myers continuing his resurgence with a solid fourth-place showing, and his brother, Burt Myers, completing the top five.
Burt Myers won his second Coors Light Pole Award of the season in qualifying with a time of 15.821 seconds (103.533 mph) and started ninth after the redraw.
Smith advanced 12 positions in the race to win the Coca-Cola Move of the Race Award. Brandon Hire rebounded from a tough race at South Boston to finish 11th, giving him the Featherlite Most Improved Driver honors.
Gary Putnam was the highest finisher of the three rookies in the field to become the fourth different driver to win the Sunoco Rookie of the Race Award this year.
2010 Sunoco Rookie Of The Year Up For Grabs
While there have been four different winners in as many races so far this season. The battle for the 2010 Sunoco Rookie Of The Year title is just as competitive.
Gary Putnam drove his No. 77 Stock Car Steel Chevrolet to a top-10 finish at Caraway to record his best finish of the season and win the Sunoco Rookie of the Race honor.
David Brigati picked up the honor at South Boston in April, while Mike Norman took the award at the season opener in Atlanta and Greg Butcher captured the prize at the first race at Caraway Speedway in March.
Putnam is currently the highest rookie driver in the overall points standings sitting in 13th place, just three points behind Tim Brown (476-473).