After waiting a week for the green flag, Burt Myers started from the pole position for the Hayes Jewelers 200, the 2017 Bowman Gray Stadium (NC) Modified season opener on Saturday evening. At the end of the night, Myers pulled out his record-tying eighth win in the race, but not without some challenges.
Myers, a seven-time track champion led the race until 10-time track champion Tim Brown took the lead after getting a good jump on a lap 69 restart. Brown held the lead for a good until he, to the surprise of some, pitted-on lap 141 for fresh tires, a strategy that almost paid off with a win.
“When Tim pitted, I was just hoping to stay up front and hold him off for when he did get back up there. The cautions hurt me, but when he got back to up to second my only focus was holding him off for the rest of the race. Tim returned the respect I gave him earlier on in the race.” Myers told Speed51 powered by JEGS.
With his win, Myers ties Junior Miller for most Hayes Jewelers 200 wins at eight. Myers expanded on what that means to him.
“We race so often that it’s hard to reflect, but maybe when I’m an old man sitting on my porch I will finally have a chance to reflect on it. But for now, we just focus on next week,” he said. “Maybe when I’m old I’ll be able to look back and smile at some of the memories.”
Brown, following his pit stop, was sent to the back and forced to fight his way through the field, something he did until he caught the defending track champion Myers with only five laps to go.
Brown went for a spin with two laps left, but refired his Modified and a green-white-checkered restart ensued; however, Brown was still no match for the defending track champion Myers and came home second.
“To come up one spot short, we gave it all we had but the tires gave up a little bit,” Brown explained. “We had the car too free so we pitted and that’s what we had to do to have a shot at winning it. I told them to drop the stagger but it made the car too tight, and honestly I’m surprised we were able to get back up to second. We had a great race car, though.”
New Jersey native Danny Bohn, multi-time Southern Modified Racing Series winner John Smith and James Civali of Meriden, Connecticut rounded out the top five.
Lee Jeffreys, mourning the loss of his father back in February, started beside Myers at the start but was never a factor after an early flat tire doomed him. Jeffreys was relegated to an eighth-place finish.
For an on-demand replay of our Trackside Now coverage presented by FK Rod Ends of Saturday’s race, click here.
Hayes Jewelers 200 Unofficial Results
Bowman Gray Stadium (NC) – April 29, 2017
|11||14||Bobby Measmer Jr|
-By Reese Nobles, Speed51.com Mid-Atlantic Correspondent – Twitter: @RNoblesSpeed51