Short Track Racing in the Southeast has hit its stride with track championships now underway. This Saturday Bowman Gray Stadium’s unique brand of action joins in and with seven decades of operation at “The Madhouse” we have broken down the numbers as the 2017 season gets underway.
7: Burt Myers now was seven titles at Bowman Gray Stadium after winning another championship during the 2016 season. Myers went on to win the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour title and the Southern Modified Racing Series title.
8: Ronnie Clifton won eight consecutive Sportsman titles from 2002 to 2009. No one has won more than five in a row in the Modifieds and that was done in the 50’s and 60’s.
10: Tim Brown leads the way with 10 track championships in the Modified division. Brown last won the title in 2015 and held up all 10 fingers in victory lane to celebrate the triumph. Rival Burt Myers moved in closer with his seventh title at the end of 2016. That was Myers’ first since 2013.
12.965: The time Tim Brown’s pole lap was in 2016 to kick off the year. Brown is always fast and that’s as good as it gets.
14: Hughes Motorsports driver Bobby Measmer Jr. will be racing at Bowman Gray Stadium on a more regular basis in 2017. Measmer scored wins in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour and the Southern Modified Racing Series last year.
24: The number of cars that kicked off the 2016 season for the 200-lap Hayes Jewelers event.
69: Number of years racing at the Madhouse. Bowman Gray Stadium celebrated its 1,000th night a few years back and now it’s a year away from 70 seasons of racing.
76: Number of wins for Tim Brown who leads the Modified division in all-time wins at the Stadium. Brown, second-place man Junior Miller and third-place Burt Myers are all still active, giving us 214 wins among the top three.
83: Tim Brown, the driver of the No. 83, is the man with all the records at BGS. He starts the 2017 season with 10 track championships in the Modified division and has 76 wins, which is the most at the historic track in the Modified division.
166: The Myers family is by far the most decorated family in Bowman Gray Stadium history. 2016 track champion Burt has 65 career wins, his brother Jason has 25 wins, their father Gary has 38 wins, Billy had 22 wins and Bobby had 16 before their tragic deaths in the 50’s.
200: The first race of the season is the longest as the Modifieds will go 200 laps to kick off the year. Burt Myers has won two of the last four and four of the last six in this race.
Streak Enders: AJ Sanders won the Division IV national title in 2014, but didn’t win the track title in the Stadium Stock class. Sanders finally got the job done again in 2016 winning his first track title since 2006. His title ended a three-year run by Chuck Wall atop the division.
Streak Keepers: Many long-time Bowman Gray fans remember Tommy Neal, a two-time Stadium Stock champion in 1993 and 1994. This past year he became the eighth different champion in the last eight years in a wild Sportsman division. There was a lot of blood, sweat, and tears in the class with Neal standing tall with great consistency.
Back-to-Back: Derrick Rice became the first driver to win back-to-back titles in the Street Stock class in 10 years. A solid season left him on top of the crown repeating the feat pulled off by Steven Berrier in 2005 and 2006. No one has won three in-a-row in the class in its history counting Street Stocks and Hobby class results.
Crazy Starts: What a difference a year makes. After Brandon Ward finished last in the 2014 200-lap season opener he returned to finish a solid third in the 200 in 2015. In 2016 he won the race only to have it taken away after a scoring error was uncovered.
Upon Further Review: John Smith was the winner of the 2016 season opener when it was all said and done after Brandon Ward was awarded the win, handed the trophy and performed the victory lane ceremonies. After a check of the scoring it was revealed the Ward ended up 13th in the Hayes Jewelers 200. It was fitting that Ward would win the season finale to cap off a strange season.
Recent Years Hayes Jewelers 200 Winners
2016 John Smith
2015 Burt Myers
2014 Burt Myers
2013 Tim Brown
2012 Burt Myers
2011 Burt Myers
2010 Tim Brown
2009 Tim Brown
-By: Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Contributor. Photo Credit: Speed51.com