It’s a shame the song had to end. The 2018 Modified season at Bowman Gray Stadium was one of the best in recent memory. Veterans dominated the bookends of the season, while a future star emerged as a proven winner and title contender.
When the final checkered flag was displayed Saturday night at "The Madhouse" it was the future star holding off a 10-time track champion to win the Carolina Farm Credit 150.
Saturday's race was a Brown and Brown show that ended with Jonathan Brown pulling away from the track's all-time wins leader Tim Brown to score his fifth win of the year. Both Brown’s (no relation) ended the season with five wins, as did track champion Burt Myers who rode to a points clinching sixth-place finish in the season finale.
Tim Brown entered the season finale on a hot streak seeking a sixth straight pole ahead of the 150-lap season finale. Brown held the top spot in time trials before Brandon Ward, winner of the last two season finale event at Bowman Gray, knocked "The Rocket" Tim Brown off the top spot.
Ward had little to do with the lead as Tim Brown was shot out of a cannon and held the top spot early. Ward would get tangled up with George Brunnhoelzl, III on a restart, ending his bid at three straight wins in the season finale; a feat that had not been accomplished since the 1970’s.
Tim Brown remained in control until Jonathan Brown got around him for the lead on a restart. The cat-and-mouse game was on from there as Brown and Brown were bumper-to-bumper all night with Tim Brown peppering the tail gate of the No. 22.
In the end the track position proved to be the deciding factor in the victory as Jonathan Brown celebrated win number five.
“We didn’t think about the points," said Jonathan Brown, who entered the night second in the championship standings. “We wanted to win the race, and we knew we had to beat the 83 (Tim Brown). He’s been so good the last few week and we worked our guts out trying to get ready for this race. My biggest battle was staying in front on the restarts.
“I wish we had ten more weeks, I know we could win the title. We are a brand-new team. I haven't run a full season in five years. The DNF’s killed us. We really had a good season.”
Brown's win locked him into second in the final points and pushed his career win total to 16, tying him with the late Bobby Myers. In addition to his five wins this season, Brown recorded 19 top-five finishes, which we believe to be a Bowman Gray Stadium record as neither Tim Brown or Burt Myers have accomplished that feat.
Tim Brown hung on to finish second on Saturday, setting him up for what should be another exciting season in 2019 at The Madhouse.
“We wanted to come over here and set fast time and win the race,” Brown stated. “Our team worked hard, and with this new car being so fast I’m ready for 2019.”
Despite coming up short during the finale, Tim Brown won the most pole awards and pushed his career win total to 89 during the 2018 season. That unthinkable mark of 90 victories at the famous Winston-Salem oval will likely come next spring.
With a sixth-place finish, Burt Myers secured his ninth career track championship at Bowman Gray, moving him ahead of Ralph Brinkley and just one behind Tim Brown.
“This is a great time for racing at Bowman Gray,” Myers said. “When you look at the book and think about the records, you can see it. I feel like I blinked and Tim Brown passed Ralph for championships and then I blinked again and I tied Ralph and tonight I passed him. We are going to celebrate tonight and enjoy this.”
Speed51.com will have more on Myers' ninth career championship soon.
-Story by Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com