I receive race notes on the weekly racing at Bowman Gray Stadium the famed Madhouse. Last night was their final race of the season with Tim Brown and Burt Myers going for the title. Despite rain at 5:30, 17,000 fans showed up for the final. Here are the notes from the race.
Unreal night, standing room only crowd as expected even with a huge rainstorm that hit at 5:45 and lasted an hour. And only a 10% chance of rain. The promoters faced a real problem. If they used next week's raindate with a hurricane forecast to hit the east coast by next weekend they would not have another raindate. Plus you have the Bristol race on Wednesday and the modified tour race Friday at Caraway.And there would be over 10,000 rainchecks plus pit passes that people would have to hold until next April. So they stuck it out and finally the cloud that just sat over the stadium finally moved on. The track itself was ok , but once someone hit the rumble strips on the inside or got into the grass, water got thrown onto the track. There was no telling how much speedy dry was used. Really the modified race was good, Jon Boy Brown raced Tim Brown wheel to wheel on every restart for several laps as the drivers did use the outside lane. Burt just layed back and did what he had to do. Cars counts were 25 mods, 25 sportsman, 27 street stocks, 22 mini started , not sure if there were cars for the b race or not because the curfew came into play. I'll tell you how many short track do you see where 17,000 people are standing up on every restart of the sportsman and modified race? The atmosphere was electric.
A gamble that Tim Brown thought might be the smart bet didn't pay off for him Saturday night.
But Jonathan Brown cashed in, snatching a victory in the season-ending Carolina Farm Credit 150 Modified race at Bowman Gray Stadium. And Burt Myers, who needed to finish 19th or better to wrap up a second straight and fifth overall championship, coasted to a good-enough 12th-place finish.
Myers, who didn't push the issue on a damp track, said that it's the happiest he has been with a 12th-place finish. He played it safe and walked away celebrating the big prize.
"I hate to race this way," Myers said, referring to some title-minded conservatism. "But you have to look at the big picture. The track conditions were just terrible but, hey, we survived."
Jonathan Brown came away with his second victory of the season, after a surprise move by leader Tim Brown opened the door.
Tim Brown endured five double-file restarts and led 103 of the 150 laps but made an unexpected switch to the outside for a restart against Jonathan Brown in the 104th lap.
Tim Brown's thinking was to avoid a dicey part of the track, in the fourth turn, heading for the restart. The area was dampened by water from a pre-race rain that had splashed on the track.
But the inside edge remained, and Jonathan Brown fended off Tim Brown on the restart and took the lead for good. Tim Brown had to settle for second, and Chris Fleming finished third.
"I couldn't figure out why he hadn't done it before then," said Jonathan Brown, who described the race on the slick track as a matter of survival. "The track was worse on the inside on restarts before that.
"The only option (when he was on the inside) was to slide into me and wash me out…. Basically I just used the same thing against him."
Tim Brown said that the inside portion of the track coming off the turn before the start was worse than it had been. He did close the final gap on Myers from 73 to 33 points in the final standings for the featured Modified Division, but fell short of a record ninth title.
"We don't come over here to run second in the points," Brown said. "We'll start right now working on next year to come back over and win our ninth championship."
Myers stayed above the fray by staying behind it, so to speak. He started on the pole but let several rivals go without challenge in the early stages, and actually slipped all the way to 15th in a 25-car field at one point.
"My plan was to ride around and stay out of trouble until enough cars fell out, and then come in and get tires and barrel to the front," Myers said. "There were only 15 to 20 laps to go when that finally happened so I just rode it out."
Robbie Brewer wrapped up his first championship in the Sportsman Division. John McNeal won his second Street Stock title, and Chris Lawing won his first Stadium Stock title.
Mitch Gales won a Sportsman race that was cut from 40 to 17 laps because of a 40-minute time limit.
Gales, who registered his first victory of the season despite starting in 20th, was the fifth different leader in the race. He jumped to the front on a double-file restart in the 16th lap, slipping past Kevin Neal. Brewer wrapped up the Sportsman title with a 10th-place finish.
Willie Wall led all 10 laps of a Street Stock race shortened by a time limit. Lawing led all five laps of a shortened Stadium Stock race and climbed into the lead in final standings.
Rain that ended a little more than an hour before the scheduled start of racing forced the cancellation of qualifying for the Modified Division.
Season standings determined the starting lineup, which put Myers on the pole. Twenty-five drivers started the race, including visitors George Brunnhoelzl III, the season leader in NASCAR's Whelen Southern Modified Tour who got a ride in a Philip Smith car which could have served as a backup for Myers if needed, and Daniel Hemric, a U.S. Legends competitor who drove a car owned by Roger Hill of Westfield in preparation for forthcoming Southern Modified Tour races.