SMT: Winston-Salem preview

SATURDAY NIGHT WILL BE SOMETHING SPECIAL AS NASCAR WHELEN SOUTHERN MODIFIED TOUR TAKES ON BOWMAN GRAY STADIUM AUG. 6 All-new NASCAR-sanctioned tour makes first visit to the track many tour drivers call home DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 2, 2005)...


All-new NASCAR-sanctioned tour makes first visit to the track many tour drivers call home

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 2, 2005) -- There are some races that are destined to be special.

On Saturday night, Aug. 6, NASCAR tradition will be renewed with the running of the Advance Auto Parts 199 at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C. The event is the fifth of 13 races on the inaugural NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour calendar, and the first time a NASCAR touring series has visited the track since 1971.

The flat, quarter-mile track is the quintessential NASCAR "bullring", known for close quarters racing as much as a deep auto racing tradition that dates back to 1949. The track has hosted the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series since the series' inception in 1982. Modifieds have been the featured class of cars at the track for all those years; however a NASCAR touring series has not visited in the "Modern Era" of NASCAR (i.e. 1972-today).

Bowman Gray Stadium has hosted NASCAR Grand National (now NEXTEL Cup Series) and Modified events throughout its long history. In earlier years, NASCAR charged sanction fees based on the number of laps in the feature race. Realizing this, Bowman Gray's promoters staged 199-lap events, instead of the more-expensive 200 laps. While times have certainly changed (NASCAR no longer sets sanction fees based solely on the number of laps), Saturday's quirky race distance is a nod to racing history at Bowman Gray.

The Whelen Southern Modified Tour's predecessor, the Southern Modified Auto Racing Teams (SMART) Tour, last visited the track in 1992, an event won by Gary Myers. The Myers family is a top name in area Modified circles, led today by brothers Jason and Burt. The eldest of the two, Burt, is ranked second in the Whelen Southern Modified Tour point standings and won a Tour race at Caraway Speedway in April. Burt is also a former NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series track champion at Bowman Gray.

Myers, of Walnut Cove, N.C., certainly won't be the only driver at home at Bowman Gray. Nearly all of the drivers on the Whelen Southern Modified Tour roster have raced there in the past, or continue to race there on a regular basis. Five of the top 10 drivers in the Bowman Gray weekly track point standings are racing on the Tour, including John Smith (current track points leader), Tim Brown, Jason Myers and Bobby Hutchens.

The Advance Auto Parts 199 will be run in a two-day format, with Bud Pole qualifying time trials taking place at 9:00 p.m. Friday night. The main event is scheduled to get underway at 8:40 p.m. Saturday.

Did you know?

* Ralph Brinkley leads all drivers at Bowman Gray with 64 modified wins. Brinkley is the all-time track champ with eight crowns.

* Fonty Flock won the first NASCAR event at Bowman Gray on May 18, 1949.

* Fonty and his brother, Tim, won six races in '49, with Tim taking the first track championship.

* Famed car owner Glen Wood was the Bowman Gray track champion in 1954.

* PeeWee Jones has the most consecutive track championships with five. He won the title a total of six times with championships coming in 1956 through 1960 and one in 1967.

* The legendary Myers family has been part of the scene at Bowman Gray from the start. Billy, Bobby, Burt and Gary Myers have all won features here.

* Daytona 500 champions Richard Petty, Marvin Panch, David Pearson, Lee Petty, Bobby Allison and Tiny Lund have won NASCAR events at Bowman Gray.

* Current Whelen Southern Modified Tour points leader Junior Miller has been winning races at Bowman Gray since 1979. Miller, of Pine Hall, N.C., is a four time (1990, 1992, 1993 and 2000) Bowman Gray Modified track champion.

* Bowman Gray's seating capacity of over 17,000 is one of the largest for a track it's size.

More from the NASCAR archives ...

* The first NASCAR Grand National (now NEXTEL Cup) Series event to be at Bowman-Gray took place on May 24, 1959. The 150-lap race was won by Bob Welborn of Denton, N.C. He drove a 1957 Chevrolet owned by Lee Petty's brother, J.H. The first prize for winning the race was $600. NASCAR staged 29 NEXTEL Cup events at bowman-Gray from 1958 to 1971.

Fast Facts

What: Advance Auto Parts 199 (Race No. 5 of 14 in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour).

Where:  Bowman Gray Stadium, Winston-Salem, N.C.

When: Sat., Aug. 6 at 8:40 p.m.

Track layout:  quarter-mile oval.

Race length: 199 laps / 49.75 miles.

Posted awards: $19,217.

Top 10 in NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour points: 1. Junior Miller 614, 2. Burt Myers 601, 3. Jay Foley 598, 4. Michael Clifton 596, 5. Alex Hoag 586, 6. Frank Fleming 573, 7. Bobby Hutchens 566, 8. Brian Loftin 557, 9. Tim Brown 549, 10. Brian Crammer 544.

Pre-race schedule: Fri., Aug. 5 -- Practice 6:00 p.m., Bud Pole time trials (2 laps) 9:00 p.m.; Sat, Aug. 6 -- Registration opens 4:00 p.m.


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Drivers Richard Petty , Junior Miller , Marvin Panch , Bobby Allison , Jason Myers , Burt Myers , David Pearson , Lee Petty , Tiny Lund