SMT: 2007 Awards banquet summary

L.W. MILLER CROWNED 2007 NASCAR WHELEN SOUTHERN MODIFIED TOUR CHAMPION SUNDAY NIGHT AT POSTSEASON AWARDS BANQUET WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (Dec. 2, 2007) -- NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion L.W. Miller was crowned the 2007 champion ...

L.W. MILLER CROWNED 2007 NASCAR WHELEN SOUTHERN MODIFIED TOUR CHAMPION SUNDAY NIGHT AT POSTSEASON AWARDS BANQUET

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (Dec. 2, 2007) -- NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion L.W. Miller was crowned the 2007 champion on Sunday night at the Benton Convention Center in downtown Winston-Salem.

Miller captured the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour championship by a mere 25 points over Tim Brown, while Burt Myers was third in the final 2007 standings.

Sunday night concluded a busy week for Miller, the driver of the No. 36 Danny Baker Plumbing and Utilities Pontiac. He spent several days in New York City as part of NASCAR's Champions Week.

"This has just been an unbelievable week," said Miller, a resident of Mooresville, N.C. "Tonight was the highlight of my week, even though New York was great and a very neat experience. I just have to thank (team owner) Danny Baker and (crew chief) Jimmy Baker as well as all the other guys on this team. If it wasn't for those guys I wouldn't be standing here tonight."

Miller said he was thankful for a variety of different reasons, including being named as the 2007 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour Most Popular Driver award winner. Miller picked up an award for winning the Featherlite Most Improved Driver award. He also received a commemorative jacket for winning the Hoosier Tire Award, and a championship helmet presented by Bell.

The night culminated with Miller being awarded the NASCAR championship trophy from Phil Kurze, vice president of motorsports for series sponsor Whelen Engineering, as well as the NASCAR championship ring from George Silbermann, NASCAR's managing director of racing operations.

"There are so many different perks that I got for winning the winning the championship that it really makes me want to win it again next season that much more," Miller said. "My dad (Wayne Miller) was here tonight and I didn't know he was coming, so that was a very cool surprise when I saw that he'd come all the way down from Pennsylvania to be a part of this. To get the Most Popular Driver Award from a childhood friend like Brett Bodine was awesome and something I'll never forget."

For Brown, it was the second straight season that he finished second in the Whelen Southern Modified Tour standings. Despite that fact, Brown said he was pleased with his efforts in 2007 while also noting he was anxious to get the next year of racing started.

"It was a great year for us," said Brown, a Cana, Va. resident. "We wanted to be better than last year and we were because we won two races this year. To us as a team that's a huge improvement. Plus we were in the fight for the championship until the last lap of the last race of the season and that's about all you can ask for. It is disappointing to come up a little short of the championship again but that's better than losing ground from where we were a year ago at the banquet.

"I'm also really looking forward to next year because me and (new crew chief) Phil Moran really worked great together. I think that us having one year of working together under our belts is really going to help us even more next year. The more all of us work together the better we're all going to be as a team. We're building two new race cars over the winter so we expect to be at the top of our game once we get started next year. I also want to congratulate L.W. Miller on the championship because he really did have a great season."

Finishing in third place in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour standings was Burt Myers, who also picked up the Budweiser Pole Award for the season.

The Sunoco Rookie of the Year award went to Wesley Swartout.

The Driver Achievement and Sportsmanship Award both went to Frank Fleming.

The POWERade Power Move of the Race Award -- Zach Brewer.

The Southern Modified Racing Ladies Racing Auxiliary also handed out several special awards including, as follows:

Darryl Mabe Memorial Mechanic of the Year -- Jimmy Baker

Kenny Minter Memorial Determination award -- Brian Pack

Bud Hutchens Excellence in Motorsports award -- Shawn Tucker

Bubba Beck Memorial Perserverance Award -- Thomas Stinson.

-credit: nascar

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