With about 25 laps to go in Friday night’s KOMA Unwind Modified Madness Series race at South Carolina’s Anderson Speedway, it looked like a near certainty that someone other than brothers Burt and Jason Myers was going to win for the first time in 2015.
The Myers brothers were undefeated in KOMA races this year, but Jason’s extended stay in the pits to correct a suspension issue that cost him several laps and Burt lost lap following a late-race pit stop, it appeared that the door was open for Jimmy Wallace, Tom Buzze or Dan Speeney, who all led laps in the latter stages of the 125-lap feature, to end the five-race Myers brother stranglehold on victory lane.
Instead, Burt Myers wasn’t going to let any other surname enter the record books on this night.
The defending KOMA Series champion lost a lap shortly after pitting with 80 laps to go. He barely made it on track ahead of the leaders, who restarted while Myers was still on pit road. Just a few laps later, Myers was put a lap down by leader Jimmy Wallace. Myers got the free pass to return to the lead lap on a lap 102 yellow, then rocketed from the seventh position on the restart to work his way back to the lead by lap 114.
Myers then drove away from Wallace and the rest of the field to keep up the family’s undefeated status on the KOMA Series.
“It wasn’t that (the pit stop) was that slow,” explained Myers about losing the lap late in the race. “(Officials) opened pit road and just as soon as I came in, we jacked the car up and they put the cone out next time by. They didn’t give us an opportunity to make our pit stop. I don’t know what they were trying to accomplish by that. The purpose of not counting caution laps is for guys to be able to take their time so it’s not rushed – so it’s safer for guys to do a pit stop.
“They tried to pull a fast one on me, but it looks like, but looks like I pulled one on them.”
Speeney and Jeremy Mayfield were the drivers who showed the way early, with others, such as Myers, Buzze and Wallace, entering the fray as every driver used varying strategies to save grip on their tires. Drivers such as Mayfield and Jason Myers fell out of contention, leaving the path a little easier for Burt Myers to traverse.
Even with other contenders falling by the wayside, Myers had to overcome the lost lap late in the race to even have a shot at the victory.
“We had a great car to start with,” Myers told Speed51.com powered by JEGS after the race. “I knew we were good in practice. We never put any new tires on and we had a good, solid, consistent car. I just ran the same pace all night long. I didn’t know if I missed my strategy whenever I pit a little later than most other guys did. I said, ‘Well guys, if I can get the car where it needs to be, I can drive back through the field.'”
Wallace, competing with a Mod Lite classification due to running a lower-horsepower engine, showed the way late in the race both before Myers lost the lap and after. Wallace was a victim of several late-race cautions that allowed Myers to gain his lap and track position back, which ultimately led to Myers using the outside lane in the closing circuits to steal the victory.
Instead of being disappointed with a near-overall win, Wallace was quick to point out that finishing second to Myers’s spec engine-powered car, while still winning the Mod Lite division, was a successful venture at Anderson.
“I like it, 125 green flag laps,” said Wallace. “It brings a lot of strategy into how many cautions you’re going to have at the end. I had to come get my tires early. We had to switch lefts and put a right on because I was scared everybody was riding and it was going to go green, which I was hoping it would. This car’s got a Late Model Stock motor in it. I’m down about 150 horsepower off the rest of these cars down here. So to show up here and win the Mod Lite deal and keep the tires on it and do what we did with it is awesome.”
Myers is used to being victorious now on the KOMA Series after scoring his fifth win in six races to date, but he will not be able to celebrate this victory for long. He’ll be back in one of his No. 1 Modifieds just a few hours after leaving Anderson at his home track of Bowman Gray in Winston-Salem, North Carolina Saturday.
“We’re going to switch out cars, load up and go to Bowman Gray, probably get about two hours sleep, see if we can’t make it two for two this weekend,” added Myers.
Buzze followed Myers and Wallace to the checkered flag in third, while Jason Tutterow and AJ Winstead rounded out the top five.
51 Network’s cameras were on hand at Anderson and will have video highlights Saturday on Speed51.com.
KOMA Unwind Modified Madness Series
Wreaths Across America 125
Anderson Motor Speedway (SC)
July 17, 2015
1. 1 – Burt Myers
2. 22L – Jimmy Wallace
3. 5 – Tom Buzze
4. 33 – Jason Tutterow
5. 99 – AJ Winstead
6. 08 – Dan Speeney
7. 12 – Mike Norman
8. 3 – Danny Propst
9. 73 – Andy Jankowiak
10. 4 – Jason Myers
11. J2 – Jeremy Mayfield
12. 19 – Brandon Ward
13. 24 – Buddy Ellis
14. 69L – Drew Moffitt
– By Matt Kentfield, Speed51.com Executive Director – Twitter: @MattKentifled
– Photo credit: Speed51.com