SMT: Martinsville preview

NASCAR WHELEN SOUTHERN MODIFIED TOURNEWS & NOTES * Tour Headed To Martinsville For Longest Race Of Season * Three Events Scheduled Over Seven-Day Span * Brian Pack Looking For Redemption At Martinsville DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 29,...

NASCAR WHELEN SOUTHERN MODIFIED TOURNEWS & NOTES

* Tour Headed To Martinsville For Longest Race Of Season

* Three Events Scheduled Over Seven-Day Span

* Brian Pack Looking For Redemption At Martinsville

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 29, 2007) -- The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour is set to kick into high gear Saturday night at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, starting a span of three races over the course of only seven days.

The pivotal swing is coming on the heels of a four-week break that will certainly play a factor into who is crowned the 2007 Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion.

The longest race of the season for the Southern Modified Tour is set to take the green flag Saturday night at Martinsville at 8:30 p.m. E.T. less than two days later the Tour is back in action with a late Monday afternoon race at the four-tenths mile Ace Speedway short track in Altamahaw, N.C.

On Saturday night, Sept. 8, the Southern Modified Tour will return to action -- to complete 600 miles of racing action in seven days -- at Caraway (N.C.) Speedway.

The focus -- for now -- is Saturday night's race at Martinsville.

For many Southern Modified Tour drivers and teams, getting the chance to race at the famed Martinsville Speedway is a memory they will always hold near and dear to their hearts.

The reason it's so meaningful stems not only from the half-mile southern Virginia short track being the oldest NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series sanctioned facility, but also the long list of legendary competitors who have raced at Martinsville through the years.

Whelen Southern Modified Tour driver Brian Pack has a great appreciation of the history behind Martinsville, but the 33-year-old Walkertown, N.C., native admits he would just as soon forget his last two trips to the paperclip-shaped short track.

In his first start at Martinsville in 2005, Pack was involved in an early wreck that ended his night. Last year, it got even worse for Pack as he got caught up in a wreck not of his making in the qualifying race and failed to make the feature race.

Pack will have his shot at redemption as the Whelen Southern Modified Tour heads to Martinsville this Saturday night for the Made in America 300, which is a combination race with the northeast-based Whelen Modified Tour.

"Last year was very disappointing," Pack said. "What makes it so tough was I didn't put myself into a position to miss the race -- it was somebody else that put us in that position. We were in good shape last year in the qualifying race until a couple of lapped cars wrecked and took out several cars, including mine.

"We were going into Turn Three when a couple of guys decided to make it three-wide and took us out. We tore up the whole right side of the car. It was pretty disappointing, to say the least."

Last year following the qualifying race, Pack would shed his driving suit for the night and watch the feature race from the pit stall of his father and fellow Whelen Southern Modified Tour competitor Gene Pack.

"I just grabbed something to drink and sat in Dad's pit stall in case he or his team needed any help," Pack said. "I love racing but I'd rather not have to watch it as a spectator."

Gene Pack says he will never forget the look of disappointment on his son's face after failing to qualify for last year's race at Martinsville.

"I just told him that he would have a chance next year and that everything was going to be okay," Gene Pack said. "That was the first time Brian had ever missed a race. I really do believe that missing the race last year is going to give him a little extra incentive heading back to Martinsville this Saturday night."

This year's Whelen Made in America 300 will not have a qualifying race so the qualifying order will come down to two critical qualifying laps. With more than 43 cars already entered for Saturday night's 43-car field, there will be a handful of drivers that will fail to make the race at Martinsville.

Brian Pack doesn't planning on being one of those drivers.

"I'm glad they did away with the qualifying race," Pack said. "If I'm not fast enough for two laps in qualifying, I don't deserve to be in the race. We've got a good car that is capable of finishing in the top five. I know we've got the equipment that we need and it's going to be a matter of patience and just getting through the first few laps and let everything get sorted out.

"This weekend we'll be satisfied with a Top 10. A top five would be great but to win the race and get that grandfather clock the folks at Martinsville give to their winners would be even better."

-credit: nascar

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