News & Notes: Historic Points Battle Set

Thursday’s Season Finale Will Decide 2010 Champion

It will finally be decided Thursday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In the closest battle for the championship in the history of the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, five drivers head to the UNOH Southern Slam 150 with a shot at the title. The race will be held on the quarter-mile track at the famed oval Thursday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

James Civali (No. 79 Hill Enterprises/Coors Light/LeBleu Water Dodge) leads Andy Seuss (No. 47 Q Racing Oil/Rockingham Boats/MUA Dodge) by just three points. The previous closest was in 2006, when Junior Miller led Tim Brown by just four heading into the final race and Miller wound up winning the championship by six.

In addition, five drivers are separated by just 65 points. In 2006, Miller captured the title by winning the race with Brown finishing second.

The championship could be decided the same way on a track layout that has produced mixed results for the top two contenders: Civali and Seuss.

This will the third time the Tour has competed on a flat quarter-mile track in 2010. Atlanta, which hosted the season opener in March, and Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem offer a similar layout.

Brown led the most laps in March with LaJoie getting past Brown with five laps to go for the win. Civali finished sixth in the race and Seuss 12th. At Bowman Gray, the pair traded finishes with Seuss fifth and Civali 13th.

Based on those finishes, either driver could have a strong showing or leave the door open for one of the three other drivers  to vault ahead for the title.

Although L.W. Miller (No. 36 John Baker Plumbing & Utilities Pontiac) has fallen back to third in the standings after leading just a couple of races ago, he did win the race at Bowman Gray and feels much more comfortable on the flat quarter mile tracks after a 14th at Atlanta.

If success on the same track configuration is any indication of performance, then Burt Myers (No. 1 Capital Bank/Patterson’s Brand Foods) has to be considered into the equation. Myers is coming off a Modified division championship in the weekly series at Bowman Gray this season and has enjoyed success often on this type of track. If not for making major changes to his car prior to the race at Atlanta forcing late stops and a 17th-place finish, he would likely be higher in the standings.

Although he has yet to win on the quarter-mile tracks, John Smith (No. 25 Tutterow Surveying/Rick’s Home Repair Chevrolet) is the only driver among the top- five contenders who finished in the top-10 at both Atlanta and Bowman Gray.

Smith needs all four drivers in front of him to have trouble to have a shot at the title, but he has a car capable of winning.

The Race UNOH Southern Slam 150
The Place Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, N.C.
The Date Thursday, Oct. 14
The Time 9 p.m. ET
TV Schedule SPEED, Oct. 16, 2:30 p.m. ET
Track Layout .250-mile paved
Race Purse $34,590
2009 Winner First event
2009 Pole First event
Schedule Thursday Practice 11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.; 1 –1:45 p.m.; Time Trials: 5:15 p.m.
Track Contact Scott Cooper, VP Communications, CMS (704) 455-3209
NASCAR Contact Tim Southers, (386) 235-3634,

Raceday Notes

The Race … The UNOH Southern Slam 150 will be the 10th and final race on the 2010 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour Schedule. This will also be the first visit to the  track for the tour.

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 (37.50 miles).

The Redraw … Fastest qualifier will draw to determine redraw of top 6, 8, or 10 cars.

The Track … The .250-mile track at Charlotte Motor Speedway is a flat  oval located along the front infield of the 1.5-mile facility. The quarter-mile track is positioned to use part of the front stretch and pit road to make the track. The quarter-mile is used for the track’s Legends car races.

The Schedule … The UNOH Southern Slam 150 will be held on Thursday evening. Drivers will have two 45-minute practice sessions. The first practice will begin at 11:45 a.m. and last until 12:30 p.m. The final practice will be in the afternoon from 1 until 1:45 p.m. Qualifying for the Coors Light Pole is slated for 5:15 p.m. The race is scheduled to take the green flag at approximately 9 p.m. A driver’s autograph session is tentatively scheduled for 6:15 p.m. or immediately after the conclusion of qualifying at the gate 4 concourse. The event is held in conjunction with pole qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The Sprint Cup Series will race Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Top Five Driver Capsules Heading Into Charlotte
James Civali

Hometown: Meriden, CT
Points Position: First
Best 2010 Finish: First, two times (South Boston, 4/3/10; Bristol, 8/18/10)
Worst 2010 Finish: 13th at Bowman Gray Stadium, 8/7/10.
Season Highlights: Civali won the Coors Light Pole at the season opening race at Atlanta Motor Speedway and has led the point standings after five of the previous nine races this season. He picked up his first NWSMT win at South Boston and was the highest finishing southern division regular at Bristol to garner first-place honors there from within the division.
Season Lows: Only one finish outside of the top-10 all season which came at Bowman Gray in August after suffering damage in an early accident.
Comment: “We just need to go win the race and the points will take care of itself. We are going to Charlotte with the mindset to win the race.”

Andy Seuss
Hampstead, NH
Points Position: Second
Best 2010 Finish: First, two times (Caraway, 3/14/10; Caraway, 8/28/10)
Worst 2010 Finish: 12th at Atlanta Motor Speedway, 3/5/10.
Season Highlights: Seuss won both of his races this season in dominating fashion leading every lap of both races to get  the win. Seuss has also led a NWSMT-high 318 laps in competition this season. Seuss enters Charlotte with eight consecutive top-10 finishes and enters the season finale in second place for the second consecutive year.
Season Lows: Felt he should have had wins at South Boston and Langley. Early spins due to contact with other drivers forced him to work through the field.
Comment: “We know we have to finish ahead of James (Civali) to have a shot at the title. We are going to Charlotte to win and not worry about the points.”

L.W. Miller
Dushore, Pa.
Pts. Position: Third
Best 2010 Finish: First, Bowman Gray Stadium, 8/7/10)
Worst 2010 Finish: 14th at Atlanta, 3/5/10.
Season Highlights: Winning at Bowman Gray at a track Miller felt wasn’t one of his best. He has also led 195 laps this season in the previous nine races.
Season Lows: Disappointing finish at Atlanta to start the season. Miller has also endured back-to-back eighth-place finishes at Langley and Tri-County to fall from the lead after Caraway in August to third place in the standings.
Comment: “We have had a pretty good year, but we also feel like we should have won a couple more races. I would love to help my team win their second championship.”

Burt Myers
Walnut Cove, N.C.
Pts. Position: Fourth
Best 2010 Finish: First, Tri-County Motor Speedway, 9/25/10)
Worst 2010 Finish: 17th at Atlanta, 3/5/10.
Season Highlights: Winning at Tri-County helped Myers close in to challenge for his first tour championship. Myers also has won two Coors Light Pole Awards to add to his series-record of 23. Myers also enters Charlotte on a string of five consecutive top-five finishes.
Season Lows: Frustrating finish at Atlanta in March. Felt he should have had a better finish.
Comment: “I keep thinking back to our race at Atlanta. If we wouldn’t have shot ourselves in the foot there by making some changes, we would be near the top (in points).”

John Smith
Mount Airy, N.C.
Pts. Position: Fifth
Best 2010 Finish: First, Caraway Speedway, 7/2/10)
Worst 2010 Finish: 13th at Langley, 9/4/10.
Season Highlights: Smith finally ended years of frustration picking up his first NWSMT win at Caraway in July. Smith has finished in the top-five in five races this season and joins the other drivers in the top five with eight top-10 finishes this season.
Season Lows: If not for mechanical problems at Langley that forced him to the pits during the race, Smith might be the only driver on the tour to finish in the top 10 in every race.
Comment: “I am really proud of how hard this team has worked this year to get better and give us a chance to win each race.”

Race Recap: Tri-County Event Was Competitive

Exciting Event: The inaugural Tri-County 150 featured some of the best racing of the season. The race featured 12 lead changes, which is one short of the record in a NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour race, among six drivers. Burt Myers was able to get past John Smith late in the race to pick up the win, but it seemed another Myers was poised to visit Victory Lane after a long absence.
Jason Myers led a race-high 54 laps before his fell back and finished seventh for his sixth consecutive top-10 finish of the season.

Smith Earns Featherlite Most Improved Honors: A faulty kill switch at Langley cost John Smith a top-10 finish as he came home 13th. However, Smith rebounded nicely at Tri-County to finish second and garner the Featherlite Most Improved Driver Award by improving his finishing position by 11 spots from the race three weeks prior in Virginia.

Smith Takes Another Award: Smith also was able to improve nine positions during the Tri-County 150 to take home another post-race award. Smith started 11th and finished second which gave him the Coca-Cola Move of the Race Award.
With the award, Smith became the first driver this season to win multiple Coca-Cola Move of the Race awards.

Former Champions Put On Show: 2009 NWSMT champion George Brunnhoelzl III made his third start of the season  on the tour and won his first Coors Light Pole Award this year to give him nine in his career. Brian Loftin, the 2008 champion, was a contender for the win most of the race and led for the first time this season. Loftin led a total of eight laps at Tri-County and finished sixth in the final rundown.

Driver Top-10 Points Standings
1 James Civali, 1,460
2 Andy Seuss, 1,457
3 L.W. Miller, 1,428
4 Burt Myers, 1,419
5 John Smith, 1,395
6 Jason Myers, 1,315
7 Zach Brewer, 1,264
8 Frank Fleming, 1,219
9 Brandon Hire, 1,218
10 Tim Brown, 1,166

2010 Stat Recap After 9 of 10 Races
Most Wins
James Civali,  2
Andy Seuss,  2
Tim Brown, 1
Corey LaJoie, 1
L.W. Miller, 1
Burt Myers, 1
John Smith, 1

Laps Led Leaders
Andy Seuss, 318
James Civali, 295
L.W. Miller, 195
Burt Myers, 151
Tim Brown, 124
Jason Myers, 90
Brandon Hire,  29
John Smith,  21
Corey LaJoie,  19
Brian Loftin, 8
Zach Brewer,  2
Frank Fleming,  1

Most Top Fives
James Civali,  6
Andy Seuss,  6
Burt Myers, 6
L.W. Miller, 5
John Smith, 5

Most Top 10s
James Civali,  8
Andy Seuss, 8
Burt Myers, 8
L.W. Miller, 8
John Smith, 8

Highest Avg. Finish
James Civali,  4.5
Andy Seuss,  4.6
L.W. Miller,   5.3
Burt Myers,   5.3
John Smith,  5.6

Special Race Award Winners
John Smith, 2
George Brunnhoelzl III, 1
Zach Brewer 1
James Civali, 1
Corey LaJoie, 1
Frank Fleming, 1
L.W. Miller, 1
Burt Myers, 1

James Civali, 3
Zach Brewer, 2
Burt Myers, 2
George Brunnhoelzl III, 1
Andy Seuss, 1

Frank Fleming, 2
L.W. Miller, 2
Tim Brown, 1
James Civali, 1
Brandon Hire, 1
Jason Myers, 1
John Smith, 1

Greg Butcher, 4
Mike Norman, 2
Gary Putnam, 2
David Brigati, 1

Sources: Tim Southers/NASCAR WSMT PR

October 2010
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