NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour News & Notes -- Bowman Gray Stadium * Fleming Returns To His Home Track Looking For A Win * Historic Track That Has Featured Modifieds For Over 50 Years Welcomes Touring Cars To Winston-Salem. Fleming ...
NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour News & Notes -- Bowman Gray Stadium
* Fleming Returns To His Home Track Looking For A Win
* Historic Track That Has Featured Modifieds For Over 50 Years Welcomes Touring Cars To Winston-Salem.
Fleming Becomes Championship Contender
Frank Fleming (No. 40 Pro Health Center/Jerry Hunt Auto Sales/Lewisville Motor Co. Pontiac) enters this weekend's Advance Auto Parts 199 at Bowman Gray Stadium with a lot of confidence. Fleming, who has competed in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour since its inception in 2005, finished second at Caraway several weeks ago in the most recent race for the touring modifieds and has a lot of experience at the Stadium.
Fleming, 50, is one of the elder statesmen of the competitive NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, but he was smiling like a rookie who had just gotten his first top-five finish back on July 3.
"We had a really good car that night," said Fleming. "George told me after the race he was just riding at the end, but we were catching him and I would like to have had another five or so laps to see what we could have done."
Fleming has finished second a total of seven times in the series, but is no stranger to celebrating race wins. The Mt. Airy, N.C. driver has a total of 21 wins in a Modified car in various races. Fleming has even won the Advance Auto Parts 199 twice before NASCAR sanctioned the event as a touring event. He did come close to winning it again a couple of years ago.
"I led a bunch of laps three years ago in this race and thought we had a great chance of winning but it didn't work out," Fleming added. "I can't wait for this weekend."
Fans attending this weekend's race might have to look twice to find Fleming as he changed his car number at Caraway back to No. 40 from the No. 07 he has displayed the past several seasons. Fans won't be the only ones who will have to get used to it. Fleming did too at Caraway.
"When I made my first lap at Caraway it felt so good I just knew we were in the top five, and I was so disappointed when I looked up at the scoreboard as I drove by and didn't see my number," said Fleming laughing. "Then I remembered I wasn't in the 07 anymore and realized that No. 40 in the top five was me."
The strong finish in the Firecracker 150 also propelled Fleming into the top five in the championship points standings. Fleming has finished in the top 10 in each season of the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour and is trying to best his career-high finish of sixth (2008).
"I think we have a good chance to contend this year with the guys to finish in the top five or even higher," Fleming added. "We have a great car and a great crew so I feel we have a good chance to get a win before the year is over."
Bowman Gray is the most unique track on the 2009 schedule for the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour and the key to winning is pretty simple according to Fleming.
"You have to qualify out front and just basically survive," said Fleming. "The track is so tight and narrow at just a quarter-mile the only way you can pass is bump somebody or avoid other people's accidents and be near the front at the end of the race. It is definitely going to be a challenge."
Practice and qualifying for the Advance Auto Parts 199 is Friday. The race is at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Next Race: Advance Auto Parts 199
The Place: Bowman Gray Stadium, Winston-Salem, N.C.
The Date: Saturday, August 1, 2009
The Time: 8 p.m. ET
Track Layout: .250-mile paved
Race Purse: $24,806
2008 Winner: Brian Loftin
2009 Pole: Burt Myers
Friday, July 31 Practice 4:30-5:15 p.m.; Time Trials: 6:30 p.m.;
Saturday, August 1 Practice 4:30-4:50 p.m.
News & Notes
The Track ... Bowman Gray Stadium is a .25-mile paved oval. The track has hosted four NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour events, dating back to August of 2005.
The Records ... Qualifying: Tim Brown, August 4, 2007, 68.254 mph, 13.186 seconds; Race: Jason Myers, August 5, 2006, 45.079 mph, 1 hour 6 minutes 13 seconds.
Bowman Gray Winners ... Burt Myers leads all winners at Bowman Gray Stadium with two victories.
Other Bowman Gray Stadium winners ... Defending NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion Brian Loftin won last year's race. Jason Myers collected his only win on the tour to date at the track in 2006. His win made the track the only one on the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified schedule that has featured brothers winning at the same track.
Pole Winners ..... Burt Myers has collected three of his NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour-record 19 Coors Light Pole Awards at Bowman Gray Stadium. Tim Brown is the only other driver to have won a pole at the track in the four previous races.
Last Race Recap: Brunnhoelzl Finally Does It
George Brunnhoelzl III (No. 28 Oval Speed/Fibrwarp/PT Ford) has ran well enough to win several races prior to the Firecracker 150, but for one reason or another he couldn't get that first win of 2009.
Brunnhoelzl has led the point standings since the second race of the season and also won three of the five Coors Light Pole Awards handed out in 2009. Brunnhoelzl was able to finally seal the deal at Caraway on July 3 and score his second career win on the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour. He held off Frank Fleming (No. 40 Pro Health Center/Jerry Hunt Auto Sales/Lewisville Motor Co. Pontiac) to get the win. Fleming picked up his best finish of the season coming home second with Andy Seuss (No. 47 Advance Auto Parts/Q Racing Oil/Stuart Auto Dodge) taking third.
"I am so glad we finally got this done," said Brunnhoelzl. "We have been close a couple of times and could never seem to get it done at the end of the night. This is a great way for us to get started on the stretch run of our season. Hopefully this is just the first of many more wins this season.
L.W. Miller (No. 36 John Baker Plumbing & Utilities Pontiac) started on the outside pole position after the post-qualifying redraw and swapped the lead seven times with Brunnhoelzl to the delight of the fans. Miller, who said before the start of the race that he was battling an ill-handling race car, spun coming out of Turn 2 on lap 113 to give the lead to Brunnhoelzl. After Seuss got by to lead lap 119, Brunnhoelzl passed him back a lap later and held on for the victory. The race was slowed seven times for caution over 40 laps.
Seuss won the Coors Light Pole Award to become the third driver this season to win the award on the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour. Ron Silk finished fourth and defending series champion Brian Loftin completed the top five.
Champions ... In the first four years of the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, Junior Miller (2005 and 2006), L.W. Miller (2007) and Brian Loftin (2008) have taken home the championship trophy.
Most Winners ... There are three drivers currently tied for the lead with 10 wins each: Brian Loftin, Junior Miller and L.W. Miller. Loftin last earned a win in 2008 at Martinsville Speedway as the highest finishing NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour driver. L.W. Miller last won at Ace Speedway in 2008 and Junior Miller's last trip to Victory lane in 2007 at Greenville Pickens Speedway.
Variety in Victory Lane ... Twelve different drivers have visited Victory Lane, with Andy Seuss being the most recent new winner when he won at South Boston Speedway on April 4.
Halfway To The Record ... George Brunnhoelzl III has already won three Coors Light Pole Awards in the four races this season. He is halfway to the record currently held by Burt Myers for the most pole awards won in one season with six. Ten different drivers have won at least one pole award, with Myers holding the career record with 18. Tim Brown is second with eight.
Veteran returns to action ... Junior Miller has entered his first race of the season and is scheduled to attempt to qualify for the Advance Auto Parts 199 this Friday night. Miller has been racing in the weekly division at Bowman Gray this year and is currently in eighth place in the standings.
Getting To Know: Jason Myers
NASCAR has had a long tradition of families being involved in the sport of auto racing, and the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour is no exception. Since the beginning of NASCAR sanctioning modified tour racing in the southern United States, the Myers brothers have been a part of the action. While Burt Myers has enjoyed a little more publicity winning five times, his younger brother has also experienced winning on the tour.
Jason Myers (No. 4 Capital Bank/Moorefield & Trantham Ent. Ford) collected his lone win at Bowman Gray in 2006 and hopes to join his brother as the only repeat winner of a NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour race at the track.
NASCAR took a moment to interview Jason Myers to give everyone a little insight to the driver from Walnut Cove, N.C.
What is it like racing at Bowman Gray Stadium? I don't think really one word can describe what it's like. It's definitely exciting, but you also have to be a little aggressive. It is a lot of fun and also frustrating at times.
What should the fans expect this weekend at the Stadium? I'll say one thing, it is going to be exciting. The track is the home track for a lot of drivers in our series and they all want to win. It's going to be a long race and the sparks are definitely going to fly.
What has been your biggest moment in racing? Without a doubt winning the Advance Auto Parts 199 back in 2006. That was a special night getting the win there in front of all my family and friends. It is a night I will always remember and never forget.
What is your favorite type of music? I like basically country and rock & roll.
What is it like racing against your brother so much? We probably give and take with each other a little more than we might with other drivers, but it is tough sometimes racing in his shadow. We have a car just as fast but can't seem to get a break when we need one. Burt is one of the best modified drivers there is but when he wins, we have to hear it all week at the shop. I am ready to win again and give a little back.
What makes modified racing so special? I love the sport so much and there is no other type of racing like it at all. The sparks always seem to fly when you have our cars on the track and it is always exciting for the fans. Even if I wasn't driving and just a race fan, I would want to go watch modified racing. I have been fortunate enough to drive a late model too and that was fun, but it is nothing like driving a modified.
How much does your family help you race? I couldn't do it without the love and support of my wife, Jenny, and my family. My little girl Emma even comes out and watches me race and she loves it. I am so glad they can be with me at the track.
Bowman Gray Set For Back-To-Back Action
Fans who are used to attending the always exciting weekly racing programs at Bowman Gray Stadium won't have to miss anything this weekend. While the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour is the headline draw for Saturday night's schedule, the track will also be hosting a full program on Friday night as well this week.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will practice and qualify on Friday night and joining the special night's schedule will be the Bandoleros, Legends, Flat Head Fords, Stadium Stock and the local Whelen Weekly Series Modifieds in a 50-lap race to close out the night's action.
Several drivers will be seeing double duty this weekend competing in both Modified races.
Tim Brown leads the track points standings by 47 points over Burt Myers (626-579). Myers is currently fourth in the points standings on the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, while Brown is 13th.
Jason Myers sits fifth in track points at the Stadium and is also in the top-10 on the tour currently in eighth place. Other tour regulars who are also driving at the Stadium include Gene Pack, Bryan Dauzat, and Dean Ward. Randy Butner, who is third in points at the Stadium, is expected to start both races as well.