Loftin dominated the Whelen Southern Modified Tour 150 on Saturday night to score his fifth career Whelen Southern Modified Tour win which ended a five-race winning streak at Caraway for the current championship leader.
Loftin’s win came in front of an emotional group of friends and family that included his tearful wife, Melissa.
“This is a longtime coming and this team has worked hard to get to this point,” said Loftin, a native of
One of the other main stories heading into the night centered on the battle for the Whelen Southern Modified Tour championship with only two races remaining. L.W. Miller held the top coming in spot by 55 points over Tim Brown.
The top-five finishers on Saturday night were Frank Fleming after a fierce battle with Brown who ended up third, followed by Jason Myers and L.W. Miller.
All L.W. Miller has to do in the season finale in two weeks at Caraway is finish ninth or better and the 2007 Whelen Southern Modified Tour will be clinched as he now holds the lead by 45 points.
“We didn’t want to finish fourth like we did – but I will take it,” L.W. Miller said. “Something happened to the car early on. I usually ride around until Lap 50 and then it’s time to go. When we got to Lap 50 tonight I tried but I couldn’t go. I just want to come back here in two weeks and win both the race and the championship.”
Loftin set a new Whelen Southern Modified Tour track record in Bud Pole qualifying when he circled the .455-mile short track at a speed of 103.783 mph. Following the eight-car draw-redraw, the top eight positions were shuffled which put Fleming on the front row to the inside of Brown.
The first caution of the night came when rookie Wesley Swartout went for a harmless spin coming off the second turn on Lap 30. Shortly after the restart, Loftin began to show his muscle as he took the lead from Fleming on Lap 36.
The second yellow flag of the evening was displayed on Lap 51 for a three car spin in the first turn involving George Brunnhoelzl, Jay Mize and Dean Ward. All three cars were able to continue on.
At the halfway point – or Lap 75 – the top-five was made up by Loftin, Fleming, Brown, and brothers’ Jason and Burt Myers. L.W. Miller was just behind in the sixth position.
Loftin was setting sail and had a half a straightaway lead that vanished on Lap 125 when Swartout went for a spin coming off the fourth turn. That allowed second-place Fleming to close the gap in second, followed by the top-five of Brown, Jason Myers and L.W. Miller.
The restart final restart came with 20 laps remaining, but when it was all said and done there was simply no denying Loftin and his No. 23 L&R Transmission Chevrolet’s trip to victory lane.
The Whelen Southern Modified Tour wraps up the 2007 season Saturday night, Oct. 6, at Caraway where this year’s champion will be officially crowned.
NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour-Whelen Southern Modified Tour 150 Results
Saturday at Caraway (N.C.) Speedway, Asheboro, N.C.
Lap length: 0.455 miles
(Start position in parentheses)
1. (4) Brian Loftin,
2. (1) Frank Fleming, Mount Airy, N.C., Ford, 150, $1,500.
3. (2) Tim Brown,
4. (6) Jason Myers, Walnut Cove, N.C., Chevrolet, 150, $1,250.
5. (8) L.W. Miller,
6. (10) John Smith, Mount Airy, N.C., Chevrolet, 150, $850.
7. (11) Brian King,
8. (12) Brandon Hire,
9. (14) Gene Pack,
10. (5) Junior Miller,
11. (20) Zach Brewer,
12. (3) Burt Myers,
13. (18) Thomas Stinson,
14. (13) Brian Pack,
15. (19) Jay Foley,
16. (15) Earl Baker,
17. (17) Johnny Sutton,
18. (9) Dean Ward,
19. (16) Wesley Swartout,
20. (7) George Brunnhoelzl,
21. (21) Jay Mize,
Time of Race: 48 minutes 9 seconds
Margin of Victory: 1 second
Caution Flags: 3 for 15 laps.
Lead Changes: 2 among 3 drivers.
Lap Leaers: T.Brown 1-2; F.Fleming 3-35; B.Loftin 36-150.
Standings: 1. L.W.Miller, 1780; 2. T.Brown, 1735; 3. B.Myers, 1675; 4. J.Miller, 1658; 5. B.King, 1580; 6. J.Myers, 1536; 7. F.Fleming, 1530; 8. B.Pack, 1442; 9. G.Pack, 1344; 10. G.Brunnhoelzl, 1312.
Sources: NASCAR WSMT PR.