SMT: Caraway round three preview

BREAK'S OVER: NASCAR WHELEN SOUTHERN MODIFIED TOUR RETURNS TO ACTION JULY 1 AT CARAWAY SPEEDWAY DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 23, 2005) -- After an 11-week break, the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour will resume its inaugural season July 1 at ...


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 23, 2005) -- After an 11-week break, the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour will resume its inaugural season July 1 at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C. During the hiatus, several of the Tour's top teams have kept their skills sharp, competing on Saturday nights in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C.

One of Bowman Gray's legendary champions, Junior Miller, of Pine Hall, N.C., says the time away from the Tour won't affect his chances at Caraway.

"I'm ready to go back," said Miller, who holds the Tour's points lead after the first three races. Miller won the Tour's last event, also held at Caraway, on April 16.

Miller says his No. 69 team isn't planning any major changes to their car's chassis setup, although the weather could play a factor. Summer is in full swing in the central North Carolina hills, and temperatures are expected to reach the high 80's on race day. Teams will face a warmer, slicker track surface than they did under cooler temperatures in the spring -- which can have an effect on the grip in their tires. To compensate, some teams will make adjustments to their springs and shocks, to help maintain their grip and their competitive advantage.

"The weather's a little hotter, so we might put a little more 'bite' in the car to help it get up off the corners," explained Miller.

Stuart, Va. driver Jay Foley trails Miller in the standings, by a four-point margin. Burt Myers, of Walnut Cove, N.C., is third, 15 points behind Foley and 19 behind Miller.

Myers, who has one Tour win on April 9, is ready to go racing -- anywhere, anytime.

"We try to run every Modified race we can anyway, so it doesn't really matter," said Myers. "If there's a race, we're going to run it. It doesn't matter if it's at Caraway or Bowman Gray or wherever. We're real excited about getting started back up with the Tour."

Myers' break from the Whelen Southern Modified Tour hasn't been quite as smooth as Miller's, after his car's engine failed on April 16.

"The car is probably 80 percent done right now," said Myers. "We had to get the motor re-done. But, it'll be ready. It'll definitely be ready."

Readiness will be the theme of the day as teams return to Caraway for the Whelen Southern Modified Tour's fourth stop. A 45-minute practice session will be held at 4:00 p.m. Friday, followed by Bud Pole qualifying time trials at 6:20 p.m. Teams will be competing for one of 26 spots in the starting field. The Whelen Southern Modified Tour 150 will take the green flag at 8:00 p.m. Along with the Modifieds, Caraway Speedway's Late Model Super Truck class will compete in a 50-lap feature event.

NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour News & Notes

* After Caraway, the Whelen Southern Modified Tour heads to historic Bowman Gray Stadium Aug. 5-6. Practice and qualifying will be held Friday night, Aug. 5 and the Tour will compete in a 199-lap race Saturday. It will be a homecoming for most teams, as the quarter-mile track is the racing home for many Modified drivers during the Tour's mid-season break. NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour drivers hold five of the top 10 positions in the Bowman Gray point standings, including track points leader Tim Brown, who is ranked 12th in Tour points.

* The top three of Miller, Foley and Myers has indeed earned that distinction. Each of these three drivers has finished in the top five twice, and only Myers has slipped out of the top 10 in the first three events. Foley has two runner-up finishes.

* Caraway Speedway will host two additional Whelen Southern Modified Tour events, Sept. 10 and Sept. 24. Other upcoming races include Martinsville Speedway (Sept. 3), Ace Speedway (Sept. 5) and Motor Mile Speedway (Oct. 1). The Martinsville event will be a combination race with the northeastern-based NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and will be the first race to be held at night at Martinsville, under the lights.

Fast Facts

What: NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour 150 (Race No. 3 of 14 in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour).

Where:  Caraway Speedway, Asheboro, N.C.

When: Friday, July 1 at 8:00 p.m.

Track layout:  .455-mile oval.

Race length: 150 laps / 68.25 miles.

Posted awards: $19,217.

Top 10 in points: 1. Junior Miller 490, 2. Jay Foley 486, 3. Burt Myers 471, 4. Bobby Hutchens 439, 5. Michael Clifton 436, 6. Frank Fleming 423, 7. Alex Hoag 421, 8. Brian Crammer 398, 9. Jay Hedgecock 396, 10. John Smith 395.

Pre-race schedule (all times local): 1:00 p.m. Registration begins, 4:00-4:45 p.m. Practice, 6:20 p.m. Time trials (2 laps).


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Drivers Junior Miller , Burt Myers