At the end of Saturday night’s 200-lap season-opening Modified event, there was mass confusion at “The Madhouse.”  Brandon Ward took the checkered flag at North Carolina’s Bowman Gray Stadium ahead of John Smith and Joe Ryan Osborne, but just about everybody at the legendary quarter-mile knew that something was wrong.

 

Near the halfway mark Ward spun in turn four and sat just off the pavement for a couple of laps before re-firing his car and driving away.  The yellow flag never flew, but the leaders passed Ward at least twice before he drove off putting Ward at least two laps down.

 

260 51 network adAfter a couple more cautions, the scoreboard on the fieldhouse in between turns three and four showed Ward’s No. 04 at the front of the field.  Ward ended up holding off Smith to take the win until a protest was filed claiming that Ward was multiple laps down.

 

On Monday morning Bowman Gray Stadium released a statement saying that after a review John Smith was the winner of the race, and Ward was placed in 13th.

 

That statement reads as follows:

 

After an official review of the results from Saturday’s Hayes Jewelers 200 for the Brad’s Golf Cars Modified Series, John Smith of Mount Airy has been awarded the victory.

Although Brandon Ward of Winston-Salem took the checkered on Saturday, NASCAR Officials have determined that there was an error on the part of the scorer for Ward’s team. Ward’s actual finish was 13th.

 

“I’m glad honestly that they took this deal back,” Ward told Speed51.com powered by JEGS.  “I don’t want to win a race and have us not technically deserve it.  The only thing I’m concerned about is the scoring issue because I feel like if it was scored right then we could have raced our way into position to have a chance to begin with.”

 

Ward said he knew that he shouldn’t have been on the lead lap in the position in which he found himself, but he said instead that he should have been in position to receive the free pass (a rule that is new to Bowman Gray Stadium this season) to get back on the lead lap.

 

“The way we had it figured out was we were eligible for the lucky dog on the next caution,” said Ward.  “When the caution came out we didn’t get it.  We go back green, get another caution.  At that point we don’t get it again.  So we try to tell them, then they come back and tell us that we’re on the lead lap.  It was mass confusion then when they told us that we were on the lead lap when we knew we weren’t on the lead lap.  So we’re trying to get it figured out and make it right.  But as a driver at that point all I can do is go.”

 

Smith said if he was in Ward’s shoes he would have done the exact same thing.

 

“It’s just a strange deal,” said Smith.  “(Ward’s team) knew.  Nobody wants to win a race like that.  But you can’t blame them when they see their name first on the scoreboard.  In his defense if they put me on the scoreboard first I’m not going to pull in.  It’s not even really the track’s fault.  They just need transponders.”

 

WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE HAYES JEWELER’S 200 HERE

 

Bowman Gray Stadium is one of the few remaining tracks that hand-score races rather than use an electronic scoring system with transponders and timing wires.  With 25 cars turning laps on a quarter-mile oval things happen fast, and that’s where the confusion came from according to Ward and Smith.

 

“They’re the only race track that we go to that doesn’t use a transponder system,” said Ward.  “In my opinion, if they used the transponders then this whole deal would be better.  I think it takes all the confusion out.  All these other race tracks have switched to it.  It just makes sense to me.  I think it would be way more accurate.”

 

Ward said what confused him the most is how the scorers missed him sitting stopped in turn four for two laps, but ultimately he’s happy that the issue was rectified, even at his expense, because it made things right for Smith.

 

“That put John Smith in victory lane,” said Ward.  “John Smith is a class-act guy.  He’s a great racer and a great guy, and I don’t want scoring to take a win away from him.”

 

While Smith is thrilled to have the issue corrected, he said it’s a little bittersweet for a couple of reasons.  One reason is because he didn’t get to celebrate in victory lane in front of the 10,000-plus person crowd in attendance, but the other is because of the racing itself.

 

“The race was one of the better Modified races too,” said Smith.  “That’s the sad part.  It was probably the best race they’ve had in five years.”

 

-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount

-Photo Credit: Speed51.com

 

Bowman Gray Stadium Official Results:

FINISH

CAR

DRIVER HOMETOWN

1

53

John Smith Mount Airy, NC

2

27

Joe Ryan Osborne Kannapolis,NC

3

65

Danny Bohn Huntersville, NC

4

1

Burt Myers Walnut Cove, NC

5

40

Luke Fleming Mount Airy, NC

6

4

Jason Myers Walnut Cove, NC

7

77

Lee Jeffreys Winston-Salem, NC

8

15

Jeremy Gerstner Wesley Chapel, FL

9

5

Randy Butner Pfafftown, NC

10

12

Mike Norman Lewisville, NC

11

50

Michael Clifton Walkertown, NC

12

18

Daniel Yates Lexington, NC

13

04

Brandon Ward Winston-Salem, NC

14

44

Daniel Beeson Kernersville, NC

15

2

Joseph Brown Lewisville, NC

16

83

Tim Brown Tobaccoville, NC

17

87

Mike Speeney King, NC

18

66

Ronnie Clifton Walkertown, NC

19

79

David Calabrese Toms River, NJ

20

71

Dean Ward Winston-Salem, NC

21

76

Scott Gordon Lewisville, NC

22

22

Jonathan Brown Winston-Salem, NC

23

16

Chris Fleming Mount Airy, NC

24

11

Junior Miller Winston-Salem, NC

New Winner Crowned After ‘Strange Deal’ at Bowman Gray