Bowman Gray Champ Earns First Whelen Southern Modified Title
Daytona Beach, FL — Burt Myers knew going in to the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour season finale, he would have to put forth a dominant effort and get some breaks if he was going to come away with his first championship.
All Myers did was lead 149 of the 150 laps of the quarter-mile track on the frontstretch of Charlotte Motor Speedway. And when the dust settled from the various skirmishes that enveloped the other championship contenders, it was the Walnut Cove, N.C., driver standing in Victory Lane with the big trophy.
None of it would have been possible if not for Myers’ effort in the previous two races – a third-place at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va., and a win at Tri-County Motor Speedway in Hudson, N.C.
His incredible final run to the finish earned him one final honor.
Myers was voted as the top driver for the final 2010 edition of the Hunter Index, the monthly power poll designed to highlight the standout performances in the NASCAR Developmental Series.
The Hunter Index is a new feature in 2010 on NASCARHomeTracks.com. Drivers are ranked on their performance over the previous month. The rankings are compiled by a panel of auto racing writers and NASCAR representatives.
“This guy blew me away in the final few NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour races,” said Adam Fenwick of National Speed Sport News. “Heck, he came from fourth in the standings to win the title in the last race. You never see that these days.”
Earlier in the season, Myers won the Bill Plemmons RV World Modified Series championship at Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C. It was the fourth Modified division championship at the historic track for the 34-year-old Myers, and it also helped him win his first NASCAR Whelen All-American Series North Carolina championship.
It was the final run to the tour championship, however, that netted him three of the six first-place votes.
Myers’ narrowly edged out Ryan Truex, DJ Kennington and Eric Holmes for the top honors.
Truex finished out his second straight NASCAR K&N Pro Series East title with a win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and a third-place finish at Dover International Speedway. Like Myers, Kennington had a pair of wins and a third-place finish in his last three races. The difference for Kennington, who received two first-place votes, is he wrapped up the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 championship with a third in the finale.
“You had several drivers close out title runs with unbelievable performances, which made it a tough call for the voters,” said Jason Christley, the NASCAR public relations representative on the panel. “In the end, being able to claim the championship while standing in Victory Lane is what separated Burt. The fact that every series is represented in the top 10 is a clear indication that the voters recognize the immense challenge of winning a championship at any level in NASCAR.
Holmes received the other first-place vote and finished fourth in the voting. Holmes was sixth on the road course at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, and earned the win at All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif. He only needs to start the final race next month at Phoenix to clinch his third NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship in five years.
Panelists rank their top 15, with first place receiving 15 points, second 14, third 13 and so on.
Bobby Santos III, who won his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship with a win and a sixth in the final two races, was fifth.
Brett Moffitt, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East winner at Dover, was sixth, followed by German Quiroga (NASCAR Mexico Series), Pete Shepherd (NASCAR Canadian Tire Series), Tim Brown (NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour) and Philip Morris (NASCAR Whelen All-American Series).
Four drivers earned honorable mention, including Ted Christopher, who won the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour final race at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway and Dustin Ash, who won the final three races at The Bullring in Las Vegas to take home the track’s Super Late Model title and the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Nevada championship.
The Hunter Index is named for Jim Hunter, NASCAR’s vice president of corporate communications and a longtime supporter of the weekly and touring series that make up the NASCAR Developmental Series.
The Index was designed in the off season as an opportunity to compare the top drivers from the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series all the way up to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. It also encompasses drivers from the NASCAR Mexico Series, NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour.
In addition to Myers, Morris (March), Paulie Harraka of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West (April), Christopher (May and September), Santos (June), NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion Keith Rocco (July) and Holmes (August) have also earned the No. 1 position in the Index.
The panel also included media members Shawn Courchesne of the Hartford (Conn.) Courant representing the Northeast, Fenwick from the Southeast, Tim Haddock of haddockinthepaddock.blogspot.com from the West Coast, and Spencer Lewis, representing the Canadian publication Inside Track Motorsports News. They are joined by Brett Bodine, who is the chairman of the NASCAR Resumé Committee and represents the NASCAR competition side on the panel, and Christley.
|1||BURT MYERS (NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour)|
|Why he’s here: The Walnut Cove, N.C., driver capped an improbable comeback in the season finale, winning his second straight race to vault from fourth to first in the points standings and earn his first NASCAR touring series championship.|
|2||RYAN TRUEX (NASCAR K&N Pro Series East)|
|Why He’s Here: Matched his brother’s NASCAR championship trophy haul with second straight East title thanks to a win at New Hampshire and third in finale at Dover.|
|3||DJ KENNINGTON (NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1)|
|Why He’s Here: Emerged from year-long battle with JR Fitzpatrick with his first NASCAR championship thanks to two wins and a third in final three races.|
|4||ERIC HOLMES (NASCAR K&N Pro Series West)|
|Why He’s Here: Win at All American puts Escalon, Calif. on verge of third title; just needs to start at Phoenix – where he won earlier this year – to clinch.|
|5||BOBBY SANTOS III (NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour)|
|Why He’s Here: First full year on the tour yielded four wins, four poles, and the record as youngest driver to win a tour championship.|
|6||BRETT MOFFITT (NASCAR K&N Pro Series East)|
|Why He’s Here: Added another “Monster” to his collection with a second straight win at Dover and finished his sophomore season second in the series points.|
|7||GERMAN QUIROGA (NASCAR Mexico Series)|
|Why He’s Here: Moved closer to successfully defending his championship with a third at Mexico City, a second at Queretaro, and a win at Puebla.|
|8||PETE SHEPHERD III (NASCAR Canadian Tire Series)|
|Why He’s Here: Made the most of a limited schedule with a third at Barrie before ending the season in Victory Lane at Kawartha.|
|9||TIM BROWN (NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour)|
|Why He’s Here: Talked of returning to tour full-time in 2011 following a win at Langley and second-place finish in Charlotte finale.|
|10||PHILIP MORRIS (NASCAR Whelen All-American Series)|
|Why He’s Here: Points season may be over, but three-time national champion picked up a pair of big Late Model wins in extra-distance affairs at Martinsville and South Boston.|
HONORABLE MENTION: Dustin Ash (NASCAR Whelen All-American Series), Ted Christopher (NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour), Mike Stefanik (NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour) and Don Thomson Jr. (NASCAR Canadian Tire Series)
Sources: Jason Christley/NASCAR PR