SMT: Caraway II preview

NASCAR WHELEN SOUTHERN MODIFIED TOUR DRIVER FRANK FLEMING LOOKING TO GET BACK TO WINNING WAYS SATURDAY NIGHT AT CARAWAY SPEEDWAY DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 12, 2006) -- NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour driver Frank Fleming has...

NASCAR WHELEN SOUTHERN MODIFIED TOUR DRIVER FRANK FLEMING LOOKING TO GET BACK TO WINNING WAYS SATURDAY NIGHT AT CARAWAY SPEEDWAY

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 12, 2006) -- NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour driver Frank Fleming has accomplished a lot during his long racing career, but there's one thing that he hasn't been able to do that bothers him.

"I've been racing since 1985 so this is my 21st year in racing, but I've never done very well as far as winning a championship and I really don't know why," Fleming says. "The one thing that bothers me is I've never won a championship before. I know I'm getting towards the end of my racing career so I'd kind of like to win one before I'm through. The way I've started out this year certainly isn't the way to win the championship this season. I know we've got a lot of racing left so there's a chance I could still make up ground and put myself in a position to win the title this year. Every driver wants to win a championship."

Fleming will get his next shot at moving up in the point standings this Saturday night as the Whelen Southern Modified Tour makes its second visit of the season to Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C. Fleming says there isn't a better way to get his season back on track than winning his first Whelen Southern Modified Tour race after a three-year winless drought.

"I'm just trying to get my act back together right now," Fleming says. "I know I'm 46 years old and a lot of people think that's old for a driver, but I should be more competitive than I am now. We've got a super bunch of guys that work on this team and we've got good equipment, but we've just had a lot of bad luck and haven't had the consistency that we need. I can look back to last year and come up with one race that I was fairly competitive in.

"You take a look at a guy like Junior Miller and he's won a couple to three races the last few years so he hasn't dominated, but when you look at the finish order he's always up there in the top-five. That's what wins championships."

In the first race of the season at Caraway, Fleming was running with the leaders until mechanical problems dropped him out of the race with less than 50 laps remaining. He finished 19th

"We've had some bad luck in the first couple of races of the season," Fleming says. "In the season opener at Caraway I was just riding around saving my tires so I could try and put myself in a position to win. Then with about 85 laps to go I started having brake problems and lost a couple of spots because I had to change my line. After that I was running behind Brian Loftin and his brake rotor came apart and when it did it cut down my tire and busted my radiator. That really put us in a hole with it being the first race of the year."

Unfortunately for the Mount Airy, N.C. native, his bad luck would follow him to last Saturday night's Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150 at Greenville-Pickens (S.C.) Speedway as Fleming finished 10th in the 21-car field.

"I really thought we were going to have a good car at Greenville because we were fast in practice," Fleming says. "Once they threw the green flag we were just junk the whole race because we missed our set-up. The car changed and we don't really know why but we're going to get it straightened out before we get to Caraway this Saturday. We just made some wrong calls as far as changes to the car at Greenville. I fell back early and was trying to race the track more than the other drivers. I just let everybody go for the first 50 or 60 laps to save my tires, but then when it was time to go racing, I couldn't go anywhere. I couldn't get out of my own way."

Fleming badly wants to shake the bad luck Saturday as the Whelen Southern Modified Tour returns to Caraway.

"We weren't all that bad in the first race at Caraway, but we need to be a little bit better this weekend," Fleming says. "We're going all through the car to make sure we'll be up there battling with the leaders like we should be doing."

-nascar-

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Junior Miller