NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour News & Notes -- Lanier 150 Drivers Excited Heading To First Trip To Lanier Lanier National Speedway A NASCAR Weekly fixture Sunoco Rookie-Of-The-Year, Special Award Standings Whelen Southern Modified...
NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour News & Notes -- Lanier 150
Drivers Excited Heading To First Trip To Lanier
Lanier National Speedway A NASCAR Weekly fixture
Sunoco Rookie-Of-The-Year, Special Award Standings
Whelen Southern Modified Tour Set To Invade Lanier Saturday Night
The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour is set to visit a new venue this Saturday night in the Lanier 150 at Lanier National Speedway in Braselton, Ga.
Lanier track owner Donnie Clack called it a dream come true for him to be able to host a major NASCAR Touring race. Clack first got involved in racing as a young fan at area Georgia short tracks and he never really thought he'd see the day where he would be the owner of a first-class facility like the .375-mile Lanier facility.
"I never dreamed about being in charge of a track like this," Clack said. "It's tough, challenging and a lot of fun. I've always followed the Modified style cars since I started going down to Daytona for Speedweeks and a bunch of us would take off at night to a track like New Smyrna. I just always thought the Modified cars were so cool and liked the looks of those cars. When we got the chance to have a Whelen Southern Modified Tour race here at Lanier, we really jumped at the chance.
"I'm excited about this weekend's race and I think all the fans in this area are just as excited. We started up an open-wheel Modified a couple years ago and they race on 10-inch tires, whereas the Whelen Southern Modified Tour cars race on 15-inch wide tires and they look pretty mean. They're a lot faster than our weekly Modified series and the fans in our area really seem to like that type of racing and it's really taken off."
Defending NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified champion L.W. Miller tested at Lanier and came away impressed.
"Lanier is a real nice facility and a little bit different than a lot of tracks we go to because it has a unique layout," Miller said. "It's more or less a big circle and you're never really pointing the car straight. It's going to take a different setup on the cars from what we are all used to running. It's going to be interesting because the track is a little different than what we're used to running. There are going to be some guys that struggle and some guys that are good right off the bat. I think it's going to be a really good race."
Miller also is a firm believer that the Tour's expansion to the north Georgia area is important for the growth of the series and a great way to attract and build on its current fan base.
"I think it's good for us to expand and travel to new and different tracks," Miller said. "It's a good opportunity for us to take the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour before a new crowd of people and get that extra exposure. Last year we traveled to Nashville and we've been to a lot of different tracks with this Tour. It can really benefit this Tour because we do put on a heck of a show."
Clack said that fans at Lanier are going to see a very competitive race as the track has been groomed so there are several passing lanes.
"We are going to see three- and four-wide racing on Saturday night," Clack said. "It won't be single-file racing -- I can promise you that. We want to make the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour race an annual event at Lanier. That was sort of the game plan when I first saw the Modified cars a few years ago. These cars just have a unique look to them and they're super fast at this track.
"We're going to have fireworks for the fans as well as most of all of our weekly divisions running so it should be a fun night and the fans will be able to get back home at a very reasonable hour."
Miller agrees with Clack that the track will provide for multiple grooves of racing even though he didn't get to run a lot of different lines because he tested on a sweltering hot afternoon.
"When we tested it was a really hot day so I don't think the track really showed what it's going to be like when it cools down at night," Miller said. "I talked to some of the Late Model drivers and they told me the track is pretty much a one-groove track during the day but the track is really racy when it cools down at night."
Miller admits that his comfort level and confidence are high going into this weekend's race at Lanier.
"I'm glad we went down there to test," Miller said. "When we unloaded the car the other day we were pretty fast. Had I not gone down to Lanier and tested, I really wouldn't know what to expect this weekend.
"There are several guys that have raced at Lanier before like Tim Brown and Burt Myers ran there several years ago when it was the SMART division. I think by us going down there to test it will help me get kind of caught up with those guys."
NASCAR Official Spotlight: Inspector Steve Hensley
NAME: Steve Hensley
HOMETOWN: Mebane, N.C.
BIRTHDATE: May 4, 1953
OCCUPATION: Tax Appraiser in Orange County, N.C.
MARITAL STATUS: Married, Jean
HOBBIES: Photography, Riding Motorcycles
QUOTE: "I've been involved in racing for over 20 years and I love it. Even if the Whelen Southern Modified Tour has a weekend off, I go to a different race track just to watch it so I can learn more to be a better official. Last weekend at Bowman Gray I was in the pits and when they went out for practice, I just watched everything and studied what was going on -- who was playing by the rules and who was trying to sneak something by their track officials. It's not really a game between the teams and officials as much as these guys doing what they can to win."
Lanier National Speedway A Weekly NASCAR Tradition
The Lanier National Speedway is one of premier short tracks in the Southeast and the .375-mile short track operates under the nickname 'Where Georgia Does NASCAR.'
Lanier runs 10 different divisions and is a popular track in northern Georgia.
The Pro Late Models are the track's feature division and Shawn Simpson holds a commanding lead in the championship standings. Simpson, who finished second last year, has eight wins and 14 top fives in 17 starts. He is also the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Georgia state points leader.
Fredrick Moore is second in points with a pair of wins. Paul Kelly has three wins in five starts, while Kein Barrett, Rodney Benefield, Joey Senter, and Greg Simpson (two wins) have also visited Victory Lane in the Pro Late Model Division.
Paul Antley (Trucks), Joey Love (Open-Wheel Modified), Bryan Jones (Sportsman), Mike Childers (Street Stocks), Austin Hill (Semi Pro Legends), Will Prance (Pro Legends), Lamar Adams (Master Legends), Kason Plott (Bandolero Bandits), and Cody Garland (Bandolero Young Guns) lead their respective points standings.
Seven of those 10 divisions will be in action this Saturday night at Lanier in addition to a 150-lap NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour event.
News & Notes
The Race: This event is the sixth of 11 races on the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour schedule. It is the only visit in 2008 at Lanier (Ga.) National Speedway.
The Procedure: The starting field is 26 cars, including provisionals. The first 24 cars will be determined from two-lap time trials. The remaining two spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 150 laps (56.25 miles).
The Track: The .375-mile oval opened in 1982 and quickly became one of the premier short tracks in the Southeast.
The History: Lanier hosted five NASCAR Nationwide Series races between 1988-92. Tommy Houston (1988), Ronald Cooper (1989), Chuck Brown (1990), David Green (1991) and Bobby Labonte (1992) won NASCAR Nationwide events. In addition, Jason Keller made his series debut in 1991 just prior to his 21st birthday. He has since passed Houston to become the series all-time leader in starts, which currently stands at 448.
Whelen Southern Modified Tour 150 Post-Race Notebook
Championship Race: Brian Loftin (No. 23 L&R Transmission/QMF Solutions) did something last Saturday night that he's never done before following his victory at Caraway Speedway -- walked away after the race with the Whelen Southern Modified Tour championship lead for the first time in his career.
Loftin has used three straight victories to take the points lead from defending champion L.W. Miller (No. 36 John Baker Plumbing & Utilities Pontiac) by 23 points. Miller had led the standings since Sept. 1, 2008.
Less than 100 points separate first and fourth. Burt Myers (No. 1 JRC Investments Ford) sits third in the standings, 69 behind Loftin. And Tim Brown (No. 83 Hayes Jewelers/Triad Auto Sales Chevrolet) is fourth, 92 points back.
Winning Move: Loftin also moved within one win of the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified career win leaders. Both L.W. Miller and Junior Miller (no relation) have 10 victories, while Loftin has nine.
Twice before this year Loftin won two races in a row. Loftin won back-to-back races in 2005 at Caraway and Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va., and then closed out the 2007 season with consecutive wins at Caraway. He was second and third, respectively, in his previous attempts at three straight wins.
Featherlite Most Improved: Dean Ward (No. 71 Showtime Sweepstakes Chevrolet) collected the Featherlite Most Improved Driver Award for advancing the most number of positions from their previous race with his 16th-place finish. Engine problems had relegated Ward to a 24th in the previous race at Bowman Gray Stadium.
POWERade Power Move Of The Race: Rookie Zach Brewer (No. 18 Mainland Supply Co. Chevrolet) started 20th but finished 10th to earn the POWERade Power Move of the Race Award.
Rookie of the Race: For the second time, Zach Brewer No. 18 Mainland Supply Co./Rayco Chevrolet) was named the Sunoco Rookie of the Race as the top-finishing rookie. Brandon Ward finished third behind Loftin and Myers. He was also the rookie of the race at Bowman Gray with his sixth-place finish.
Next Up: Lanier is the second of seven straight weekends of racing to finish up the season. Following this weekend's race at Lanier, the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour returns to Caraway Saturday, Sept. 6
The Race: Lanier 150
The Place: Lanier (Ga.) National Speedway
The Date: Aug. 30, 2008
The Time: 9:00 p.m.
Track Layout: .375-mile paved oval
Race Purse: $25,920
2007 Winner: Inaugural Event
2007 Pole: Inaugural Event