JUNIOR MILLER SCORES FIFTH VICTORY OF 2006 NASCAR WHELEN SOUTHERN MODIFIED TOUR SEASON SATURDAY NIGHT AT HICKORY HICKORY, N.C. (Sept. 30, 2006) -- NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour driver Junior Miller showed why he's nicknamed 'The King of...
JUNIOR MILLER SCORES FIFTH VICTORY OF 2006 NASCAR WHELEN SOUTHERN MODIFIED TOUR SEASON SATURDAY NIGHT AT HICKORY
HICKORY, N.C. (Sept. 30, 2006) -- NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour driver Junior Miller showed why he's nicknamed 'The King of the Southern Modifieds' on Saturday night as he scored the Hickory 150 victory in close fashion over championship rival Tim Brown. It was Miller's fifth win in 10 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour races this year.
Plus the race might well have been the most competitive in series history as there were 14 lead changes among seven different drivers, with Miller coming out on top by a .219 second margin of victory. The win allowed Miller to regain his lead in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour championship standings by nine markers over Brown with only two races remaining.
"This was a heck of a race," Miller said. "Those guys up front were really going after it for the lead so I just rode around there and took my time until it time to go racing for the lead. This ol' car was a good one and it took me to the front when I needed it to. We haven't raced here at Hickory in a long time and the track was a little bit more worn than what I expected. I just rode around until it was time to get with it. The point race is still tight between me and Tim and it's all going to come down to these last few races."
Rounding out the top-five behind Miller and Brown were, respectively, Burt Myers, L.W. Miller and Bobby Hutchens.
"Second place isn't where I wanted to end up, but I guess it's good to be happy with running second," Brown said. "We had a good car all night long but Junior did a really good job of using the lapped cars to keep me behind him and he earned it."
Burt Myers won his third Bud Pole Award of the season thanks to his lap at 89.534 mph, but started sixth after the draw-redraw. That put the front row starters of Bobby Hutchens out first with Tim Brown in second for the 150-lapper. Brown led the first 13 laps before he was overtaken by Josh Nichols before Brandon Ward took the top spot two laps later.
The action in the first 40 laps literally looked like high speed pace laps as most every driver in the field was racing side-by-side -- with little to no contact -- as Ward and Nichols swapped the lead back and forth. To put how close the racing was in the first third of the race, consider the fact that there were six lead changes in the first 50 laps with Nichols holding the top spot on Lap 51.
Just past the halfway mark on Lap 80, Michael Clifton worked his way into the top spot to become the fourth different leader with 10 lead changes among four drivers. Rounding out the top-five at this point were Nichols, Brown, Junior Miller and Burt Myers with an astonishing 22 of the full field of 26 cars still on the lead lap.
It was NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour racing at its best, though it would end up getting better and better as the laps wound down. Burt Myers took a brief stint in the lead when he took the top spot on Lap 97, before trading that spot back and forth with Nichols over the next two laps.
With the laps winding down, just like so many times before, it was Miller lurking until the time was right as he took the lead for good with 32 laps remaining.
As a testament to the clean racing on Saturday night at Hickory, all 26 cars in the race left the famed short track without a scratch on them.
The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour returns to action next Saturday night at Southern National Speedway in Kenly, N.C.