Burt Myers, nicknamed “Ace”, played his cards right at Ace Speedway (NC) Friday night, utilizing a pit strategy no one else tried to claim the KOMA Unwind Modified Madness 125-lap feature victory. He passed longtime friend Zach Brewer with eleven laps to go and became the third different driver to win in the first three races of the tour’s inaugural season.
It was no surprise for Myers to claim the victory, as Myers’ track record at Ace – 3 wins and 14 top-tens in 14 Touring Modified starts entering the race – is impeckable. But Myers might have had his most dominant Ace car yet Friday, recording fast time in qualifying and setting sail as soon as the green flag was dropped.
But the opportunity for pit strategy to mix up the running order was introduced on lap 12, when a debris caution flew. Zach Brewer, running fourth at the time, hit pit road to satisfy the KOMA Unwind Series requirement that every team make at least one pit stop during the race. Myers stayed out along with a few others.
Myers decided to not pit even after a few more cautions, even as those behind him decided to peel down the pit lane. A long green flag run then allowed Myers to get away from the field. However, it appeared for the longest time as though that decision may backfire on Myers as he would have to pit in the closing laps if a caution did not fly. Even with mechanical problems sidelining his nearest competitors – David Calabrese, Spencer Davis, and Joseph “Bo Bo” Brown – in that stretch run, victory was still dependent on that yellow flying.
The caution did fly for Myers as a car spun in turn one on lap 82, allowing him to pit and add a new right rear tire for good measure. Brewer, meanwhile, had worked his way to second before that caution flew and he stayed out to inherit the lead.
Myers restarted seventh and made short work of the field, coming to Brewer’s back bumper at lap 100. But Myers was content to slowly set up Brewer, finally pulling up alongside to Brewer’s outside on lap 114. Brewer raced Myers hard and, entering turn one on lap 115, spun himself out trying to stay under Myers. Myers’ brother Jason Myers came to second on the ensuing restart but never was able to mount a serious challenge.
“Man, I just love Ace Speedway,” a smiling Burt Myers said in Victory Lane. “I told the guys on the radio hands down this is the best race car I’ve ever had here. I knew when we waited late [to pit] that we had made our bed that we had to lay in it. But I said ‘when we do pit, we are going to get a tire.’ Those guys had a bunch of laps on their tires and I knew we could get them.”
“I knew the the car was good enough, so I tried to go ahead and lap as many cars as possible so that when I could come in and get my right rear, I wouldn’t have to pass as many cars back. As good as the car was, I knew it was just going to be up to timing [to catch Brewer]. Once we got up to second, I felt it was going to be up to me to lose the race.”
Brewer, after his spin, had to settle for seventh. Overall though he said he had a lot of fun at Ace Speedway and is pleased with the way his season is going. But the win at Ace may have slipped from his grasp from his tires going bad as much as Myers’ tires being fresh.
“We decided to pit early because we pitted early at Hickory too and thought it would be good to short pit,” explained Brewer. “We got out front and I knew he was going to catch me. I felt he was going to race me clean and I just wanted to at least race him hard. It started getting looser and looser until we spun. Found out after the race we actually had a left rear tire going down, so that’s what caused that.”
Brewer has a lot of confidence though in what is shaping up to be one of his better seasons since his NASCAR Goody’s Dash days.
“We’ve had some spurts [in years past] where we ran good, so we know this team can do it. But we’re not heavily funded and we don’t have a lot of help. That’s why this running once a month deal really helps us. But we’re getting there, we just have to take baby steps.”
The biggest victory may have come for the KOMA Unwind Modified Madness Series itself. After scoring issues overshadowed the victors in the first two races, Friday’s race went off without a hitch after the series invested in extra scoring eqiupment and staff. They next race at Hickory Motor Speedway on July 5th.
KOMA Unwind Modified Madness 125 Results(powered by 51's Third Turn)
| 1||1||1||Burt Myers||125||93|
| 2||3||4||Jason Myers||125||0|
| 3||13||10||Johnny Sutton||125||0|
| 4||6||02||Tim Brown||125||0|
| 5||10||9||Bobby Sheffield||125||0|
| 6||14||80||Dan Speeney||125||0|
| 7||5||31||Zach Brewer||125||32|
| 8||11||J2||Jeremy Mayfield||124||0|
| 9||16||22||Jimmy Wallace||124||0|
| 10||12||21||Tommy Neal||124||0|
| 11||7||28||Austin Pack||122||0|
| 12||9||43||David Calabrese||72||0|
| 13||4||2||Joseph Brown||67||0|
| 14||8||45||Gary Young, Jr.||66||0|
| 15||15||01L||Willie Chilton||53||0|
— By Tim Quievryn // Correspondent & 51’s Third Turn Archivist // @thethirdturn