DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Long recognized as is one of the most popular tracks in the NASCAR Whelen All American Series, Bowman Gray Stadium added to its storied history last Saturday night crowning its 2014 modified track champion.
Since 1996, that prestigious honor has been the exclusive domain of Tim Brown (nine championships), Burt Myers (six) and Junior Miller (three of his six titles came during that span).
Now, Danny Bohn can add his name to that storied list.
Bohn, who moved down from New Jersey to North Carolina six years ago, still can’t believe it.
“I remember the first time I came to Bowman Gray Stadium to watch a race and I just dreamed of the day I could race there. And now I am a champion,” said the 26-year-old Bohn. “It’s unbelievable.”
Bohn also gave veteran car owner Melvin “Puddin” Swisher his first track title as a car owner. Swisher has fielded cars for many drivers through the years and the Kernersville, North Carolina, native won 26 races as a driver in a stadium modified.
“For years and years it has either been a Myers, Brown or Miller that has won the track title at Bowman Gray,” Bohn said. “I am so happy to be able to give Puddin’ a championship to celebrate with us.”
Bohn is the first of two drivers to earn a ticket to the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards at the NASCAR Hall of Fame / Charlotte Convention Center on Friday, Dec. 12 as a track champion. Todd Sherman won his fifth consecutive K&N Modified division track championship at Limaland Motorsports Park, a quarter-mile banked clay oval in Lima, Ohio.
NASCAR will crown 58 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track champions across the United States and Canada. In addition, NASCAR will celebrate the top three finishers in the national standings, as well as U.S. state and Canadian province champions, top finishers in the Div. II-V and special award winners in Charlotte.
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I drivers are ranked by their best 18 NASCAR points finishes in series-sanctioned events. Drivers receive two points for every car they finish ahead of – up to 18 cars – and three points for a win, with an additional two points available if the driver starts 10th or lower.
Anthony Anders moved closer to his first NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship with a pair of asphalt Late Model wins from the 10th starting position at South Carolina’s Greenville Pickens Speedway on Friday. Anders also finished eighth and fifth at North Carolina’s Hickory Motor Speedway on Saturday.
In 46 starts at Greenville, Hickory and South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach Speedway and Anderson Speedway, the Easley, South Carolina, driver has 27 wins, 40 top fives and 44 top 10s. His single-season win total is tied for 11th most in series history.
Greenville has two Late Model races remaining, twin 40-lap features on Sept. 13.
The wins at Greenville Friday were also his seventh and eighth from a starting position of 10th or worse, stretching his lead over two-time defending national champion Lee Pulliam to 10 points.
Pulliam, of Semora, North Carolina, won twice in his asphalt Late Model at Southern National Raceway Park in Lucama, North Carolina, on Saturday. He has 21 wins, 35 top fives and 36 top 10s in 40 starts. Three of his wins have come from 10th or worse.
Pulliam also has wins at Virginia’s Motor Mile Speedway in Radford and South Boston Speedway, and North Carolina’s Caraway Speedway in Sophia.
Connecticut’s Keith Rocco won at Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday to push his points total to 690. He has 13 wins, 30 top fives and 33 top 10s in 38 starts. Nine of his wins, including Saturday’s, have come from starting 10th or worse. Rocco also races his asphalt SK Modified at Connecticut’s Stafford Motor Speedway and Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
Dillon Bassett, who has competed at seven tracks throughout the southeast, moved back in to the top four this week with a pair of asphalt Late Model wins at Caraway, while Ryan Preece (Thompson, Stafford, Waterford and New York’s Riverhead Raceway) dropped to fifth.
Peyton Sellers (South Boston, Langley, Caraway, Motor Mile) is sixth, followed by Kres Van Dyke (Virginia’s Lonesome Pine and Tennessee’s Kingsport Speedway) and Tommy Lemons Jr. (South Boston, Southern National, Caraway and Motor Mile). Chad Finchum (Lonesome Pine and Kingsport) moved up one spot to ninth and Stewart Friesen (New York’s Utica-Rome Speedway and Pennsylvania’s Grandview Speedway in Bechtelsville) moved into the top 10.
Bohn knew going into Saturday’s season finale he would likely have to win the race and also get a little help as he had to finish as least four positions ahead of Lee Jeffreys – who entered the night as the points leader.
Bohn was near the front most of the race and he was able to make a daring three-wide pass around race leader Tim Brown and a lapped car to take the top spot on Lap 81. Bohn was out in front when a rain shower passed through just three laps short of the finish. After a 45-minute rain delay, they were able to go back racing for the title with Bohn holding off Brown for the win.
“I really didn’t think I had a chance with four DNF’s this year and a blown motor four races ago,” Bohn added. “We just went to work and kept racing hard each week and things just worked out for our team.”
Swisher even got back in the car and took a victory lap himself after celebrating in Victory Lane with Bohn.
“I feel there are three big races a year at Bowman Gray,” Bohn said. “You have the 200 lap weekly modified race, the 199-lap NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race and the 150-lap season finale. We were able to come in here and win two of three and I would say that makes for a pretty good year here at the stadium.”
Bohn won the track championship by six points over Jeffreys (664-658) with Jason Myers third at 625. In the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series North Carolina standings, Bohn moved up to fifth.
Established in 1982, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series is NASCAR’s national championship program for weekly short track auto racing. In all, 58 paved and dirt tracks throughout the United States and Canada participate.
Connecticut-based Whelen Engineering is the series’ title sponsor. Whelen Engineering is a leading manufacturer of automotive, aviation, industrial and emergency vehicle lighting. NASCAR tracks and pace cars across North America are among the many showcases for Whelen products.
NASCAR IMC PR – Eric Hylton Photography
Top 100 Standings
|8||Tommy Lemons, Jr||36||6||22||29||611|
|34||Craig Von Dohren||19||3||11||15||493|
|40||Tom Rogers, Jr||21||7||16||19||483|
|61||Toni Marie McCray||14||5||14||14||431|
|69||Rob Janovic, Jr||19||1||11||11||419|
|70||Bill Leighton, Jr||18||2||12||18||418|
|86||David Garborcauskas, Jr||20||1||10||14||385|