The inaugural running of the Musket 250 nearly 12 months ago at New Hampshire Motor Speedway was the spectacle that all on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour hoped it would be. When all the craziness of the final lap had calmed down, Chase Dowling beamed with the accomplishment of victory. But sitting next to him in the media center after the race with an equally big smile, despite coming home third, was Burt Myers who had just completed his debut at “The Magic Mile.”
The Bowman Gray Stadium great had put on the comeback of the day, working the draft, and racing back onto the lead lap after being one of many caught a lap down when a yellow flag interrupted a green flag pit stop sequence. It might not have been a victory, but it was still the realization of a long-time dream.
“Growing up watching those races and hearing about that track, it’s one I had on my bucket list for a long time. Logistics just never worked out, we knew financially we could never make it happen,” Myers told Speed51. “To get the opportunity to do it last year was amazing. I just hate that I had to be 40 years old before I had the chance to do it.”
It was a job well done for Myers and Eddie Harvey Racing (EHR) on that September day. Looking to improve on the promise of 2018, Myers and EHR entered 2019 hopeful for more success. But with Myers hunting (and eventually winning) his 10th Bowman Gray title, EHR running the full Tour schedule and looking to get a driver’s title in 2020, it was mutually decided that the driver/team pairing would not reunite for the fall stretch of the Tour.
As EHR brings Woody Pitkat to their seat, Myers has the task of getting the family operation ready for the march north to the Granite State.
“It was great working with Eddie and his guys,” Myers said. “The way it worked out with Woody; I had told Eddie from the very beginning that I could not commit to a full schedule, and any decision that he made involving another driver, I was okay with since I could not commit. I had said, if there was one I was going to do with my team, it was going to be the Musket 250.”
This time around, Myers has only one goal in mind: winning the Minuteman trophy and the musket. To do it, he is bringing one of the most powerful minds in today’s short track world.
“We’re going through the car, we’re updating everything, and doing what we can to make it as good as possible. Everyone that knows me, if we didn’t have a shot to win, we wouldn’t be going. I’m not going just to make an appearance; we’re going there to bring that musket home. Things are lining up, Tony Eury Jr. is going to come to crew chief the car and help me set it up. Some people have pulled together financially to help make it happen. So, it’s going to be pretty cool for us.”
With a solid lineup of man and machine, Myers has all the confidence of getting the job done on track. His main concern now is being able to get there and back to North Carolina when it’s all said and done.
“Our main challenge is that it’s 14 hours away; the fuel, the accommodations, and all the other expenses, that’s our biggest challenge. The rest is just racing, and that’s what we do, that’s what we’re accustomed too. The fact the Tony Jr. is setting up the car to get it where it needs to be and calling the race, I think that’s big. We’ve seen just with these Fury cars that he knows what he’s doing. The experience I got last year, it seemed to click. If we can get there and get back after, we’ll be just fine.”
With finances being stretched, Myers is ready to welcome additional sponsorship support, both North and South.
“Absolutely we are. At our level, and especially being in the South where the Modifieds are not as prominent outside Bowman Gray, when I do make a trip up North to New Hampshire, Stafford, or Thompson, I get a lot of exposure. That helps when we’re looking for sponsorship. We’re always looking, we’re always looking to partner up with people to get them some exposure. It’s a snowball effect where everyone wins.”
Still a student of the sport of racing even at the seasoned age of 43, Myers has studied the art of racing The Magic Mile in the Mighty Modifieds for years. Now, with last year’s experiences aiding his effort in 2019, he believes he knows exactly what to do in order to have his shot at victory lane.
“One thing I have seen and learned is to make sure you’re in contention. If you can put yourself in the top five with a handful of laps to go, it’s anybody’s race. You can qualify first, lead every single lap, and get beat easily on a last-lap pass. Like I said, I feel like we can put ourselves in contention, barring anything crazy happening. We got a fresh spec motor, fresh transmission, fresh rear-end for our Tour car. We’re as good as the rest of the field, it’s just about putting ourselves in the right place at the right time.”
Stay with Speed51 for more on the Full Throttle Fall Weekend, including the Musket 250, throughout the week. For more on tickets, camping, fan activities, schedules, and more visit New Hampshire Motor Speedway at www.nhms.com.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51.com