On Saturday night, Bowman Gray Stadium (NC) brought back the Fan’s Challenge. If a driver qualified in the top four, they had the option to start at the rear of the field and race their way back into the top four. If they accomplished that feat, they would be rewarded with a check for $9,000.
Danny Bohn came to the Stadium for the second time this season in an effort to win that big money prize. He dominated the 100-lap show, but did not win the Fan’s Challenge. But someone did walk away with that $9,000 check, and that person was Lee Jeffreys.
“It turned out to be a really good night,” Jeffreys told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “We talked about it when we did qualify in the top four tonight. We figured we’d go to the rear and see what we could do. We got up to 10th and they had a wreck and we got caught in it and went back to the back. We just picked them off one-by-one and tried to work the outside. We just kept chipping away. I don’t know what happened to Chris there at the end, but we just got by him off of four. It was a story-book ending. You couldn’t write it any better than that.”
Bohn, of Freehold, New Jersey, said he wanted to take the challenge, but he failed to qualify in the top four. He got loose in turn one on his qualifying lap, which resulted in an 11th-place qualifying effort. However, Bohn started from the pole position thanks to the redraw.
“I knew we had a good car,” Bohn said. “In these 100-lappers a lot of it has to do with where you draw, and we were fortunate enough to draw the pole. It was the first time I drew the pole here.”
A rash of cautions in the first half of the race made restarts very important. Bowman Gray uses a “cone” restart, which means every driver has the option to start in the inside or outside lane. Bohn restarted from the inside every time, and in the beginning of the race he had Brandon Ward to his outside.
Ward was able to hang tough on multiple restarts, but on lap 22 Ward was able to clear Bohn from the outside. However, Ward’s lead didn’t last long as contact from Bohn resulted in Ward going for a spin in front of the field in turn one.
Bohn said in victory lane over the public address system and after the race to Speed51.com that he didn’t mean to get into the back of Ward.
“I hate it for Brandon,” said Bohn. “I didn’t mean to intentionally wreck him or anything like that. It’s just so tough on these restarts. They warned me on the initial start and threw a caution for that, but on the next two starts the outside guy starts the race and that’s fine. I didn’t know if he was going to stay high or come down and I just got into him. I got off of him as soon as I could but it was too late. That’s part of racing.”
The final restart came with 22 laps to go with Bohn leading over Burt Myers and Tim Brown. Over the final 20 laps Bohn had to deal with Myers slamming his back bumper, but Myers was never able to make a legitimate bid for the win.
“I think we were faster than him,” said Myers. “But I just couldn’t get under him to do it the right way.”
The 28-year-old Bohn won the championship at Bowman Gray Stadium in 2014. This year he’s only run two races at “The Madhouse” and he’s won one of them using a car that’s almost as old as he is.
“It’s pretty awesome because this is an old car,” he said. “It’s like my dad’s kid. He built it in 1991, so anytime we win in this it’s pretty neat.”
Burt Myers finished second behind Bohn with Tim Brown, Lee Jeffreys and Chris Fleming completing the top five.
For an on-demand replay of Saturday night’s Trackside Now coverage from Bowman Gray Stadium presented by PFC Brakes, click here.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com
Bowman Gray Modified 100
Bowman Gray Stadium, Winston-Salem, North Carolina