Although he suffered mechanical problems last week at Bristol Motor Speedway, and ultimately the points lead to James Civali (No. 79 Hill Enterprises/Coors Light/LeBleu Water Dodge, L.W. Miller (No. 36 John Baker Plumbing & Utilities Pontiac) is not panicking.
In fact, Miller is still real excited about his chances to score his second NWSMT championship this season. Miller and Civali have traded the lead twice this season and Miller enters this weekend’s Triad Commercial Property Services 150 at Caraway Speedway just five points behind Civali.
While it appears Miller and his team have things clicking on all cylinders this year, it was a decision the Dushore, Pa., native and his team made near the end of last season that has already paid dividends this year.
“We were not having a good year last year and things were just not going right for our team,” Miller said. “We decided to take the rest of the season off last year after Caraway in August and regroup. We were not performing like we should as a championship team and felt the time was right to go back, concentrate on getting our car better and also getting some things in order so we could come back stronger as a team this year.”
Miller started the season 14th at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but then he turned things around, collecting three consecutive second-place finishes and finally scored his first win since April 11, 2008 three weeks ago at Bowman Gray Stadium — a track Miller hadn’t finished well at in previous years.
“We looked at Bowman Gray as a place we just wanted to try and get a top-five finish and avoid any trouble,” Miller aid. “Picking up our first win in a long time at that track was just icing on the cake. It really helped our entire team to get back to Victory Lane.”
Miller also used his most recent win to tie 2008 champion Brian Loftin for the most career wins on the tour, with 11. Miller picked up five of those wins during his championship season in 2007 and feels he can contend for several more before the season comes to a close on the quarter-mile track at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“We are going to some new tracks for the remainder of the season after our race at Caraway and I think we have the team and support from the Bakers and our crew chief, Tony Templeton, to get the car the best we can possibly make it to contend all the way to Charlotte for the championship,” Miller said.
Miller will continue his quest for a second title this Saturday night at Caraway Speedway. The race will start at 8 p.m.
|The Race||The Triad Commercial Property Services 150|
|The Place||Caraway Speedway, Asheboro, N.C.|
|The Date||Saturday, Aug. 28|
|The Time||8 p.m. EDT|
|Track Layout||.455-mile paved|
|2009 Winner||Brian Loftin|
|2009 Pole||George Brunnhoelzl III|
|Schedule||Practice 4-4:40 p.m.; Time Trials: 6:30|
|Track Contact||Renee Hackett, (336) 629-5803|
|NASCAR Contact||Tim Southers, (386) 235-3634, firstname.lastname@example.org|
The Race … The Triad Commercial Property Services 150 will be the seventh of 10 races on the 2010 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour Schedule. This will also be the third and final of three races for the series at Caraway Speedway this season.
The Procedure … Starting positions 1-23 will be set from time trials. The remaining three will be filled through the provisional process. The race is 150 laps (68.25 miles).
The Redraw … Fastest qualifier will draw to determine redraw of top 6, 8, or 10 cars.
The Track … The .455-mile track at Caraway Speedway is a semi-banked oval located in the heart of modified country in the southeast. Caraway features long straightaways and tight turns, which highlight the speed and power of the modified cars.
The Schedule … The 150-lap NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour race will be held on Saturday evening. Drivers will practice and qualify in the afternoon from 4:30 to 5:15 p.m. Qualifying for the Coors Light Pole is slated for 6:30 p.m. The race is scheduled to take the green flag at 8 p.m. with a driver’s autograph session scheduled for 7:15 p.m. on the track. Andy Seuss won the first race of the year at Caraway in March and L.W. Miller won the July race at the track. Brian Loftin is the defending race winner of the August race in 2009 at Caraway Speedway.
Burt Myers Wins 2010 Track Title At Bowman Gray
One of the unique characteristics of the NWSMT is its schedule. The 2010 10-race season was organized to give tour regulars an opportunity to compete during breaks on the tour at their favorite Whelen All-American Racing Series short tracks. Many of the southern tour regulars compete at Bowman Gray Stadium located in the heart of southern modified racing.
Burt Myers, driver of the No. 4 Capital Bank/Patterson’s Foods/Cumbernauld Ford, enjoyed his time very well at the stadium this season.
Although Myers is currently fifth in the points standings on the tour heading into this weekend at Caraway, he can celebrate like a champion — Bowman Gray Stadium champion.
Myers won his fourth track title at his home track last weekend, competing against several tour regulars for the crown.
Although Brian Loftin won the season-ending race, Myers did what he had to do to clinch the title. The Walnut Cove, N.C., driver acknowledged how difficult wrapping up the title was.
“It’s probably one of the hardest races I’ve ever run, to be honest with you,” said Myers. “I had to be smart about it. I didn’t want to do anything to where it was my fault if we didn’t win the championship. So I just tried to dodge all the bullets I could.”
“I had to be quiet tonight, so I could be loud right now,” said Myers. “There are so many things that can happen here. I bet 30 different people this week told me that I had it in the bag – but you never have it in the bag over here.”
Myers won the title by 24 points over Loftin, with Tim Brown and Lee Jeffreys tied for third with 599 points.
Burt’s younger brother Jason finished fifth in the final standings with 583 points and Brad Robbins was the other tour regular to finish in the top 10 with 473 points. All five drivers are expected to compete Saturday at Caraway Speedway.
Battle For Caraway Track Championship Is Close
This weekend, the 150-lap NWSMT feature will not be the only race at Caraway Speedway. The Caraway Late Model Stocks only have three races remaining to determine their 2010 champion and it looks as if might come down to the final night of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series schedule on Sept. 18.
Three-time and defending track champion Travis Swaim enters Saturday with just a six-point lead over Jason York (680-674). York was able to close to within striking distance after winning the most recent 150-lap feature on Aug. 14. Swaim finished 12th to allow York to make up some ground heading into Saturday’s pivotal race.
Dan Moore is third in the standings with 658 points and Corey Strickland and Ryan Wilson complete the top five with 614 and 600 points, respectively.
Mack Little enjoys a 166-point lead in the Sportsman division, while Jimmy Wallace has an even bigger lead in the Late Model Truck division. Junior Kendrick leads Noah Triplett by 42 points in the Limited Late Model Division.
The closest points battle at the track is in the Mini Stock division as A.J. Sanders leads John Davis by just two points (426-424). Archie Sanders is just 10 points behind Davis in third at 414.
In addition to the Triad Commercial Property Services 150 for the NWSMT cars, the Late Models will also have a 150-lap feature with the Limited Late Models also racing in a 30-lap show. The Super Mini Trucks will compete in a 20-lap feature and U-cars will close out the night with a 15-lap event.
Race Recap: Civali Part Of A Great Show At Bristol
James Civali rebounded nicely from his race at Bowman Gray last week when the Whelen Southern Modified Tour joined the Whelen Modified Tour for the only combination event of the season at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Civali, driver of the No. 79 Hill Enterprises Coors Light/LeBleu Water Dodge, recorded his worst finish of the season at the stadium with a 13th-place showing. Civali not only was credited with a win at as the top-finishing Whelen Southern Modified driver, but also took home some other honors as well.
Civali was credited with the Coors Light Pole as the fastest qualifier among the southern drivers.
The results also propelled him back into the points lead after L.W. Miller’s night ended early with mechanical problems.
Civali also took home the Featherlite Move of the Race Award by advancing the most positions from the Bowman Gray race to the Bristol event.
Civali wasn’t the only driver to benefit from a good run at Bristol, some other drivers who had a successful event included:
Burt Myers was able to rebound from changing a spark plug after qualifying and finished second. It moved him up to fourth in the points standings. He also earned the Coca-Cola Move of the Race Award after qualifying eighth among southern drivers.
Greg Butcher was the highest finisher of the three rookies in the southern division field to become the second driver to win multiple rookie of the race awards.
Frank Fleming was credited with a third-place finish while Jason Myers and John Smith finished fourth and fifth, respectively, among the southern division drivers in the race.
Up Next: Langley
The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour returns to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the next stop for the tour when Langley Speedway will host the Whelen Southern Modifieds for the first time on Saturday, Sept. 4 during Labor Day weekend.
The race day will begin with a pair of practice sessions since it is the inaugural event at the track for the tour. The first practice will be held from noon until 12:30 p.m. and the final practice will be held from 1:05 to 1:20 p.m.
Qualifying for the Coors Light Pole Award at 4:30 p.m. that afternoon with running of the Langley 150 to start at approximately 7:30 p.m.
The race will be televised on VERSUS on Wednesday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. (ET) as part of their coverage of the Tour during the 2010 season.
Langley Speedway has a rich tradition and NASCAR history with many historic names competing at the track in eastern Virginia.
The track hosted the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series until 1970 and also hosted NASCAR Nationwide Series events until 1988. NASCAR legends such as Richard Petty, Bobby Allison, David Pearson and the late Bobby Isaac all won races at the track.
Current NSCS driver and Virginia native Denny Hamlin won a mini stock track title there in 1997.
SPECIAL AWARD STANDINGS
COCA-COLA MOVE OF THE RACE AWARD
James Civali, 1
Corey LaJoie, 1
Frank Fleming, 1
L.W. Miller, 1
Burt Myers, 1
John Smith, 1
COORS LIGHT POLE AWARD
James Civali, 2
Burt Myers, 2
Zach Brewer, 2
FEATHERLITE MOST IMPROVED DRIVER AWARD
Frank Fleming, 2
James Civali, 1
Brandon Hire, 1
L.W. Miller, 1
Jason Myers, 1
SUNOCO ROOKIE OF THE RACE AWARD
Greg Butcher, 2
Mike Norman, 2
David Brigati, 1
Gary Putnam, 1
Sources: Tim Southers/NASCAR WSMT PR