News & Notes: Miller Ready For Return To South Boston

After weather issues have limited the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified to just one race so far on the 2009 schedule the competitors are ready to visit another new track this weekend.

South Boston Speedway, one of the best-known short tracks in the state of Virginia, will host its first NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour event, but it is not the first time the track has hosted the NASCAR Modified cars.

The track known as “SoBo” hosted the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in 2001 and one of the drivers who competed in the race is ready to get back on the track. (CLICK HERE FOR RACE EVENT PAGE)

L.W. Miller, the 2007 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion, finished 17th in the race and should be a contender to win2009 NWSMT SoBo logo this Saturday night in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified 150.

“We have worked very hard to get our car ready for this weekend,” said Miller. “We suffered some damage on the final  lap of the race at Concord (Speedway) and having the weather issues last weekend actually helped our team. We will be ready for this Saturday night.”

Miller added racing at South Boston Speedway will be a lot of fun for himself and his fellow Modified drivers.

“South Boston Speedway will be a good race,” said Miller. “I have driven on the track and think we will put on a great show for the fans. The weather is supposed to be good and I want all the fans to come out and see a great show.”

Ted Christopher won the season-opening NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour two weeks ago at Concord but this weekend the Southerners take over at SoBo. Two other regulars in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour will also challenge Miller for the win.

George Brunnhoelzl III overcame mechanical issues in practice and finished an impressive third at Concord after starting in the rear of the field. Burt Myers won the Coors Light Pole Award and remained in the top five throughout most of the race to finish fourth.

The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified 150 will take the green flag at 8 p.m. with the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Models also competing in twin events. For more information please contact South Boston Speedway at 434-572-4947 or info@southboston-speedway.com.

The Race NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified 150
The Place South Boston Speedway, South Boston, Va.
The Date Saturday, April 4, 2009
The Time 8 p.m. ET
Track Layout .400-mile paved
Race Purse $24,806
2008 Winner Inaugural Event
2008 Pole Inaugural Event
Schedule Saturday, April 4: Practice, 2-2:30 p.m. and 3-3:20 p.m. Time Trials 5 p.m.
Track Contact Cathy Rice, (434) 572-4947, info@southbostonspeedway.com
NASCAR Contact Tim Southers, (386) 235-3634, tsouthers@nascar.com

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY LIST

News & Notes

The Race … The Whelen Southern Modified 150 will be the second of 16 races on the 2009 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour Schedule and the first of two scheduled visits to the state of Virginia. It is the Tour’s inaugural visit to South Boston.

The Procedure … Starting positions 1-24 will be determined from time trails (two laps). The remaining two starting positions will be determined through the provisional process. The race will be 150 laps (60 miles).

The Track … A semi-banked .400-mile oval, South Boston Speedway is one of the most well-known short tracks in the southeast. The track was built in the 1950s. The track’s first NASCAR-sanctioned event was a 60-lap Modified race April 16, 1960 with Johnny Roberts of Baltimore, Md., winning the race.

Diversity … NASCAR racing legend and resident of nearby Danville, Va., Wendell Scott, was the first African-American driver to compete at South Boston and also raced Modifieds at the track on occasion.

History … Several drivers that are now stars in the NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR Nationwide Series who have competed at South Boston Speedway include Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth, Casey Atwood, Kevin Harvick, Jeff Green and Terry Labonte. The track is also well-known as the home track of current NASCAR drivers and native Virginians Jeff Burton, Elliott Sadler and Denny Hamlin. NASCAR veteran and Daytona 500 champion Ward Burton also cut his teeth at South Boston Speedway.

Home Tracks: Morris Wins To Begin Championship Defense

Defending NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Champion Philip Morris got his 2009 season off to a solid start by winning the Whelen 150 NASCAR Late Model Stock Car Division race Saturday afternoon at South Boston Speedway.

Morris took the lead on Lap 54 when race leader Deac McCaskill slid up out of the groove and opened the door for Morris to charge past.

McCaskill, who had a front tire going flat, pitted when a caution flag was waved two laps later for a mishap. McCaskill rallied from the rear of the field to finish eighth.

With McCaskill out of the mix, Morris’ key challenger was C.E. Falk III of Virginia Beach, Va. Falk was able to stay within hailing distance of Morris but never posed a serious threat during the race’s 41-lap green-flag sprint to the finish.

Dustin Storm of Huntingtown, Md. finished third with Nick Smith of Hampton, Va. and Justin Johnson of Durham, N.C. rounding out the top five finishers. Jonathan Bailey of Buffalo Junction, Va., Jonathan Cash of Oxford, N.C., McCaskill, David Quackenbush of Lorton, Va., and Rodney Cook of Reidsville, N.C., completed the top ten finishers. Twenty-four cars took the green flag for the race.

Brian Pembelton of Amelia, Va., had come close but had never won a race at South Boston Speedway. That changed Saturday when Pembelton won the 50-lap Limited Sportsman Division race. Jeb Burton, the 16-year-old son of former Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton, finished second.

Ward Happy With His 2009 Start

Brandon Ward (No. 93 Old Town Jewelry and Pawn Chevrolet) is planning on running a full schedule in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, and if his finish at Concord Speedway is any indication, the Winston-Salem, N.C., driver is in for a solid season.

Ward overcame mechanical issues last time out at Concord to finish sixth and win Sunoco Rookie of the Race honors and he hopes to get into the top five this weekend.

“We had problems with our power steering all day at Concord,” said Ward. “We thought we had it fixed but we had more problems during the race and were still able to come home with a good finish. We finished sixth but we were the third full-time southern car so it was a good night points-wise for us.”

Ward has made a handful of starts in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour prior to this year and plans on competing in all 16 races and is ready to get back on the track.

“We are very excited to be running this year in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour,” said Ward. “The Tour is known to have great competitors, sponsors and great fans. I look forward to coming up to South Boston to help put on a great show for all the race fans that support South Boston and NASCAR racing.”

Ward has competed previously at South Boston when he drove in the former NASCAR Goody’s Dash Series and will be driving a modified for the first time at the track.

Modifieds Make A Return To ‘SoBo’

Jerry Marquis, driving the No. 44 Teddy Bear Pools Pontiac, took the checkered flag when the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour made a stop at South Boston Speedway in 2001. The race was the first of the season for the Tour and was run on March 11.

Mike Ewanitsko qualified on the pole in 14.409 seconds (99.938 mph), followed by eventual tour champion Mike Stefanik and Rick Fuller.

Stefanik jumped to the lead and was out front for the first 85 laps. Ted Christopher, Dave Berghman and Ted Riggott swapped the lead for the next 10 laps before Marquis took over and led the final 107. The race was slowed nine times for 64 laps, including an accident that left Ewanitsko 27th.

Marquis went on to finish second, 25 points behind Stefanik, in the final championship standings.

Sources: Tim Southers/NASCAR WSMT PR