SOPHIA, NC — Walnut Cove, NC’s Burt Myers pulled the double Saturday night at Caraway Speedway by claiming the win in the Kenny Minter Memorial 125 and, in so doing, taking the inaugural Southern Modified Racing Series (SMRS) presented by PASS points championship. Myers second career SMRS win caps off a remarkable 2016 season which also saw him take the titles at Bowman Gray Stadium and in the Whelen Southern Modified Tour.
“This is just a dream come true because I feel like in my lifetime nobody will be able to say they won all three titles in the same season,” said Myers in victory lane, who entered the race tied for the championship lead with John Smith. “It took us a long enough time to figure out the halfway adjustments and tonight we made the right ones and this car was just awesome.”
For the fifth time this year, Brandon Ward was able to capture the Precision Built Spindles Pole Award with a lap of 15.910 seconds (102.954 MPH) around the .455 mile facility. Ward’s good fortune early on continued as he drew pill number one in the redraw to start on the pole alongside veteran racer Gary Putnam.
Prior to the start, fans and racers paused in a moment of silence to remember Kenny Minter who lost his life in a racing accident at Caraway Speedway in 1995. Following the command to start engines by Kenny Minter, Jr., Ward continued to flex his muscle as he jumped out to the early lead. Brian Loftin would keep pace with Ward early on, until being bypassed for second by Myers on lap 47. Just three laps later, the first caution of the night would wave for the stalled car of Mike Norman. Several cars pitted for adjustments including Myers, Smith, Cale Gale, and LW Miller.
Back under green, Ward would continue to lead over Loftin and Jason Myers. On lap 61, J. Myers would move by Loftin for second. Loftin would be freight trained by the lead group of cars and fall to eighth. Putnam was making his way back to the front too, passing Tim Brown for third on lap 75.
The caution waved again for debris in turn two with 33 laps to go, allowing the entire field to pit for new tires, adjustments, and fuel. Putnam, Gale, Miller, and Ward would be the first off pit row to lead the field to green on the next restart. Putnam led on the restart until the caution waved two laps later for Smith, who spun in turn two after slight contact from Loftin. Smith pitted, but made an illegal tire change and was penalized for two laps.
On the next restart, Putnam spun his tires and touched J.Myers as he tried to regain control, causing J. Myers to make contact with the front stretch wall. While they continued on without bringing out a caution, Gale moved to lead over Putnam and Ward. But, they would make contact in turn one while battling for second with 23 laps to go, causing Putnam to spin. Ward would retire from the event due to suspension problems.
On the restart, B. Myers was able to get the advantage over Gale from the outside to take the lead. The final caution of the night would wave with 13 laps to go when Miller spun in turn four after contact from Putnam. B. Myers was able to get a better restart than Loftin and would lead the rest of the way to take the Kenny Minter Memorial win over Loftin, J. Myers, Brown, and Miller. Rounding out the top 10 were Gale, Mod Lite winner, Scott Hall, Tom Buzze, Putnam, and Smith.
While the SMRS Tour Modifieds presented by PASS are finished for the year, Tour Modifieds will be racing for $10,000 to win and the PASS South and PASS National Super Late Models champions will be crowned on November 4-5 as part of the 14th Annual North-South Shootout at Concord Speedway. For more information please go to northsouthshootout.com.
-SMRS Press Release
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com