NORTH-SOUTH SHOOTOUT LEFTOVERS - PART 1 by Matthew Dillner & J Kaplan
Blewett, Tim Brown, Coby's 77, Kids Race, The Big One & More
Query struggled most of the night with a loose racecar but hung on for the strong run. After the Shootout Query had only positives to say about the Mods and the Northern invaders.
“That bunch from up North, they were on there game pretty good,” said Query. “I was impressed with that bunch I was with at the start of that race. Just having to get up on the steering wheel. Some of their cars you can tell weren't perfect but they were up on it and making up for it. With the experience they had in those cars it helped. I was very impressed with the talent. I don't know when I have raced with a group of people that had that much talent and I could see it.”
BLEWETT AND LIA LOCK HORNS AGAIN
Last year Donny Lia locked horns wiith John Blewett III at the Shootout. The two drivers battled wheel to wheel, but contact spun them both out. Lia's chances were dashed and Blewett came back to win.
Big-10 Late Model bad-ass Freddie Query was the top southern driver. (51 Photo)
QUERY IMPRESSED WITH NORTHERN MOD TALENT
The Southerners may not have faired well but one man from below the Mason Dixon line, Late Model veteran Freddie Query, had a real good night. Query, making only his second start behind the wheel of a Mod, finished ninth and was the only Southern Mod driver to finish in the top-ten.
down and get around him. I still have to load it on the trailer at the end of the night. He made all the right moves at the end and deserved to win. It's just two young guys out there racing as hard as we can and trying to make a name for himself. He's a good up and comer and drives good and aggressive.”
Lia admitted he had a lot of fun racing against Blewett and had a lot of good things to say about the New Jersey driver.
“John Blewett is the hardest guy I have ever had to pass,” said Lia. “The guy just races you hard every lap. There are a lot of good racers in this deal but he is one of the toughest out there.”
Blewett finished fifth, and was extremely pleased with the effort in his family owned ride.
“For the first race together as a group to go out there and be fast, get the pole and lead the most laps we did good and I'm proud of these guys,” said Blewett.
THE BIG ONE
Lap two of the North-South Shootout looked like a traffic jam. When Jay Foley got sideways and started to wreck, within seconds, 17 cars were stopped in their tracks on the front stretch. The “Big One” took out several contenders, including many of the southern favorites.
Among the southern contingent taken out in the wreck were Jay Foley, Jay Hedgecock, two-time SMART champ LW Miller, both Myers boys, and Brian Loftin.
Miller later had his scorecard pulled for working on his car during red-flag conditions and finished 25th.
NEVIN ON THE PODIUM
After the Shootout dust settled, it seemed all of the talk was about Donny Lia or how bad the South boys got beat. What about Nevin George? The quiet racer battled wheel-to-wheel with the top five all night and came home third at races end.
“Im happy with third,” said George. “We had a good car all weekend. I needed some long green flag runs at the end but we had caution after caution. Both Lia and Eric (Beers) were good on the restarts and that killed us. It took me a while to catch up with them. If we had a long run I might have had something for them.”
Blewett scored the pole and a top-five with his own ride this year. (51 Photo)
COBY HAPPY IN 77 CAR
Doug Coby may have had more eyes on him than anyone this weekend.
Across the pits sat John Blewett III, in his family owned ride, on the pole for the Shootout. Blewett and the Chase Racing Team split earlier this season. The duo scored the big win last season in the inaugural Shootout.
on me. Nobody expected me to go out and win right out of the gate. This team is capable of that, they can win whenever they unload. But nobody expected that out of our first time together.
After the steady seventh-place effort, is the #77 ride Coby's for the Featherlite Series next year? That was the big question.
“This is now two top-10s with a new team to start out,” added Coby. “That is a pretty good way to finish the year and hopefully start out a good relationship. If things pan out, I want them to and I am pretty sure they want to, we have stuff to iron out of the winter, we should be strong next year.”
LIA MOTORSPORTS NETS KID RACE WIN
Concord Motorsports Park held a 'kid race' during the daytime activities at the Shootout. Pedal cars were painted identical to some of the North and South's best modifieds. Nine children took the green flag in the inaugural event. Shawna Crowley, one of Lia crew chief Kevin Crowley's twin daughters, took the checkers. Her twin Ashley, driving a lookalike Boehler #3, came in third.
“That's the Lia Motorsports Driver Development Program,” joked Lia. “They ran a good race! I don't think I've seen Kevin ever get that excited before. Some go-karts are probably in the works for those two.
Lia with Shawna in victory lane. (51 Photo)
FOR BROWNIE ITS LIKE KISSING HIS SISTER
Tim Brown remains the only southerner to win a race (heat, consi, or last chance) in a Shootout weekend. And although the five-time Bowman Gray Stadium champ didn't make the big show, a win in the Non-qualifiers race put the South in victory lane.
“I won a heat race last year and now we won this so I guess we are the only southerner to win down here,” said Brown.
“This Hayes Jewelers car is good enough to be in the top-five with anyone out here. We just had a bunch of mechanical things put us down. A lot of the fortunes you have in racing you can't do anything about so you just do the best you can in the situation.
"This win right here helps that. At least it shows the fans you can run with these guys. But I mean it's still like kissing a woman, but it ends up being your sister. This is a win, but it doesn't mean to much for me. It does means a lot to the crew and the sponsors to be in victory lane right here.
Tim Brown proudly points to the "South" on his winning #83 car. (51 Photo)
Johnny Johnson is a mainstay in modified racing in the south. The white-haired veteran has won nearly 40 races at Bowman Gray Stadium over the years and still competes everyweek in his famous #99 modified. Well at Concord, the vintage racer took to the wheel of a vintage flathead, ofcourse it was a grey number 99, and finished second in the feature.
This year, the two drivers were at it again. There was plenty of contact, but this time no spin. The two drivers put on the best show of the night during a few nerf bar rubbing battles.
“I think we raced a little too hard tonight,” laughed Blewett. “I think if it had gone any further neither one of us would have won. But it's crunch time and you have to go. Donny, I'm sure wanted to beat his ex-crew chief Richie Nemick. I could see he had a little extra incentive. I had my own car here so I didn't have that extra incentive. I didn't give a crap who was telling me to hold it
Last season Lia and Blewett's battle resulted in a spin. (SPEED TV Photo)
None of this really fazed Coby. Being put in the defending race-winning car wasn't weighing on his mind. He had plenty of other things to concentrate on. It was only his second time Coby teamed up with the Chase #77 group and his first time tackling the tough Concord track.
“I'm pretty happy to show us here against Ted Christopher, (Jerry) Marquis and (Eddie) Flemke and do as well as we did,” said Coby. “These guys have all been here before. This car won last year, and yeah we joked about that with the crew, but nobody put pressure
“Everybody said the pressure is on after the pedal car won. I knew she was going to win. She'll pedal that thing hard just to win and she did.”
“Yeah, we had a great time, said the Johnson. “The car is a big improvement compared to what it looked like last week. It had that green stuff, engine primer on it, rust spots. So, we just sprayed it a little bit with primer to give it that rustic look.
I have three of the modern day mods. The newer mods driver better and handle better then the old ones do. These are a lot more top heavy than your modern day mod.”
The "Big One" took out a bunch of strong cars including several top southern runners.. (51 Photo)