Burt Myers coasted to the championship on Saturday, dodging traffic and conserving points on his way to his fifth title in the GMAC Insurance Modified Series.
When rain caused the cancellation of qualifying sessions for the Carolina Farm Credit 150, the lineup was determined by points standings – putting Myers on the pole. Normally starting up front would be the most desirable spot, but not for Myers during the season-ending event. His closest competitors and rivals would be right behind him and in prime position to shove Myers out of the way.
Immediately, Myers fell back and let the front-runners slip by him. With a 73-point lead, Myers had the championship on his mind. “I just tried to play safe and put myself in the position to where I could win the championship,” said Myers, who wanted to make a dramatic dash for the checkered once his championship was secure. “My plan was to ride around, stay out of trouble - and then when enough cars fell out, I’d come in, get tires, and barrel to the front. But there were only about 15 or 20 laps to go when that happened, so we just rode it out,” said Myers.
Myers ended up finishing 12th and claiming his fifth Stadium championship. “We had to look at the big picture. Track conditions were just terrible tonight. It’s the hardest 12th we’ve ever had, and it’s one of my worst finishes all year long,” said Myers. “I’ve won more championships than some of these guys have races. I’m blessed to be able to do that.”
The historical significance of a Bowman Gray Stadium championship rushed over Myers, whose family has been an integral part of Stadium racing since its inception in 1949. “I met Perk Brown’s son earlier today, and he congratulated me for passing his father for career victories earlier this year. That kind of stuff means a lot when you know that his dad was a pioneer of the sport just like my grandfather was,” said Myers.
But while Myers guarded his points, Jonathan Brown of Winston-Salem and Tim Brown of Rural Hall battled for the checkered flag.
Tim Brown grabbed the lead at the very start of the race and held on for lap after lap. Jonathan Brown delivered some stout taps to his rear bumper, but the #83 of Tim Brown wasn’t shaken. For five restarts, Jonathan Brown took to the outside to try and overtake Tim Brown but was unsuccessful each time.
But on the sixth restart, Tim Brown made an unprecedented and risky decision. Feeling that track conditions were much more favorable on the outside, Tim Brown chose to restart from the outside lane and not the inside lane. It was the first time in Stadium history that the race leader had opted to start from the outside. “Track conditions on the inside were way worse than they had been,” said Tim Brown.
As the green flag waved for the restart, Jonathan Brown and Tim Brown raced hard for the lead. Jonathan Brown took advantage of the inside position given to him by Tim Brown, grabbing the top spot and going on to win.
“I couldn’t figure out why Tim didn’t go to the outside earlier,” said Jonathan Brown about how poor the track conditions were on the inside. “The only option he had on the inside was to slide up into me, wash me out, and give himself a run”
“Basically I just used the same thing against him,” said Jonathan Brown about taking the lead away from Tim Brown. “When he took the outside, I did the same thing. I got into one, slid out, and used him for a pick to turn the car and took off the same way he did me. I learned it from watching him do it to me.”
Tim Brown was furious, feeling that Jonathan only took the lead due to dirty driving. “The 53 car [of Jonathan Brown] didn’t even try to turn, he just stuck me in the fence,” said Tim Brown. “You can’t race that car. I knew that. I should’ve done to him what he did to me. I try not to race that way.”
Jonathan Brown’s victory in the Carolina Farm Credit 150 was something he said was going to happen one way or the other. “I can tell you this: There was no way Tim was going to win that race,” said Jonathan Brown. “I was leading it last year with four to go, and he turned me around between turns three and four. There was no way I was losing that race to him.”
Tim Brown finished second in the race, giving him a second-place ranking in the points standings. Chris Fleming of Mount Airy finished right behind Brown: third place in the 150-lapper and third place in the final points standings.
In the Webb Heating & A/C Co. Sportsman Series, Mitch Gales of Thomasville grabbed the checkered flag in a wild race. Gales grabbed the lead after colliding with Zack Clifton of Walkertown. Tommy Neal of Walkertown finished second, with Kevin Neal of Walkertown coming in third.
The Sportsman title goes to Robbie Brewer of Winston-Salem after he edged out Tommy Neal, who finished second in the points standings.
Willie Wall of Lexington claimed the victory in the Q 104.1 Street Stock Series race. Rookie of the Year John Holleman of Winston-Salem finished second. John McNeal of Winston-Salem brings home the championship.
In the Freeman’s Auto Center Stadium Stock Series, Chris Lawing of King wins his first race of the season – and the championship in the process.
2011 FINAL POINTS STANDINGS
GMAC Insurance Modified Series Final Points Standings