Burt Myers went on a bit of a spring break this past weekend - taking advantage of a gap in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour schedule to go on the road before the start of the season at Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Since Myers contests the full season on both that tour and at that track, he doesn't get many chances to hit the road and try out new tracks.
But that is exactly what Myers was able to do last Saturday and Sunday when he towed up to Connecticut's Thompson International Speedway (CT) for the season opening race on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour - The Icebreaker.
Myers was all smiles on race day at Thompson.
“The weather is a lot more enjoyable than it was a couple of days ago,” said of the fickle New England weather. “I like going to new tracks and to experience new things and I've raced against most of these guys before.”
Myers had plenty of company at Thompson. On race day, he hauler was mobbed by curious Northern fans who lined up to buy Myers Brothers Racing T-Shirts and also get the opportunity to meet one of the stars of the History Channel's “Madhouse” reality television show, which focuses on the 2009 seasons of several Bowman-Gray drivers. Myers took the attention in stride. He didn't rope off any of his pit area and before having to strap into his car, he was glad to meet fans and pose for photographers. When asked about the attention, Myers downplayed it al in typical Southern Gentleman style.
“Oh yeah,” said Myers shyly. “It's been fun and it's very humbling. It's nice to see the Modifieds getting the recognition that they deserve.”
Myers got to experience a few new things of his Northern trip. Since teams at most NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour races are not allowed to change tires during their 150-lap features, he got to experience the “Northern” tours rule of being able to change three tires during an event.
“In the South, we have a different mindset because you have to run 150 laps on the same set of tires. Here, you can run hard for 75 laps, get some more and then run hard again. You don't have to think about tire management as much here as down South and I like that.”
Myers also got to take a side trip to nearby Waterford Speedbowl (CT), which is where he ran an SK Modified in the Saturday night feature. Myers crashed out of the race, but he wasn't alone. The race was shortened to 12 laps after nine caution periods started out the program and extended the running of those 12 green lap circuits to over an hour.
Still, Myers wasn't too disappointed.
“I'll tell you, Waterford would be a really good place to race, but there should be a little bit more give and take,” said Myers. “You've got to finish before you can win the race. But I've been at tracks up and down the East Coast where that doesn't happen. Everyone said that was one of the worst nights they've ever seen. So it happens everywhere you go, but you deal with it and keep moving.”
The next day in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at Thompson, Myers started fifth and finished 14th. He appeared poised for a top ten finish until getting banged around on several restarts.
So can we expect to see Myers run more races North of the Mason-Dixon line in 2010? He'd like to, but fitting it into his busy schedule is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
“The only other race that I've run up here is the Turkey Derby [which takes place on Thanksgiving weekend at New Jersey's Wall Stadium] back in 2006. Other than that, we have to stay in the South because of our schedule, so we can't get up here. It's not that we don't want to, but we can't.”