Like one of the popular tunes that fellow Freehold, New Jersey native Bruce Springsteen croons, there was “No Surrender” in Danny Bohn Saturday night.
Bohn, 26, dominated the second half of the season-ending NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modified division event at North Carolina’s Bowman Gray Stadium and drove to his second victory of the season. The win, combined with some bad luck from championship contenders Lee Jeffreys and Jason Myers, allowed Bohn to leapfrog both with the aid of double points in the season finale to clinch the Bowman Gray Modified track championship.
“I knew coming over here I was the farthest in the back with a shot,” Bohn told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I knew I had to come qualify well, win the race and damn if I didn’t do it. I drove the wheels off it.”
After two generations of Bohn drivers made the family name famous in New Jersey Modified racing before him, he relocated his racing efforts to North Carolina six years ago. Saturday night, that move paid off with the biggest night of his career.
“I moved down here in 2008 with no racing plans,” added Bohn, who now lives in Huntersville, North Carolina. “We sat down there in turn two and everybody talks about Bowman Gray and how great it is. I came up here one night and sat in the stands just amazed they get the fans they do and the excitement from the fans. I was racing up north then before I moved down here and thought it’d be awesome to be able to race here.”
Bohn entered Saturday’s double-point Carolina Farm Credit 150 third in points, trailing point leader Jeffreys by 14 points and second-place Jason Myers by one. He needed to finish at least one spot higher than Myers and at least four higher than Jeffreys to win the championship. Starting on the outside pole, Bohn rode second behind Tim Brown for most of the early laps before slipping by on lap 80.
From there, Bohn, driving the No. 53 for longtime Bowman Gray driver and car owner Melvin “Puddin'” Swisher, was in command. He had to hold off the field on several late restarts, including one following a late-race rain shower that delayed a final green-white-checkered restart for more than 30 minutes.
The victory also did not come without controversy. While Bohn was driving a car entered by Swisher, his family-owned No. 65 car was piloted Saturday by longtime Bowman Gray regular Jonathan Brown. Brown made contact with championship contender Jason Myers late in the race, sending Myers for a spin with eight laps to go. Bohn had the championship in hand as the cars ran at the moment Brown and Myers tangled, but the incident did spark some ill-will in the pit area afterwards.
“It’s a shame you have to come over here and put up with the stuff we put up with,” said Myers, who ended up 11th Saturday. “We had a good run going and Danny had the championship won where he was running at. It’s just a shame that Danny put somebody in his car that would do something like that. I about hate it for Danny because (Brown) has tarnished Danny’s championship tonight.”
In retaliation for the incident, Burt Myers, Jason’s older brother, got into Brown under the ensuing caution. Jason Myers was left only with what-could-have-beens after the incident that ruined his championship hopes.
“I really wanted to wreck (Bohn) under caution, but I know better than that,” added Jason Myers. “We’ll see. We still have to race with Danny a lot this year. Danny’s at every race track I go to, just about. So, hopefully we can go race and he doesn’t have to put a piece of s— back in his racecar again.”
Bohn denied that he had anything to do with the incident involving Brown and Myers.
“I needed a backup car (so) if mine broke in practice or qualifying, I would get in that,” said Bohn. “(Brown) said, ‘Hey I’ll pick up the tab for the tires and fuel. I raced a couple races this year and I’d like to race the last race.’ I was hoping to God (Brown) didn’t get together with any of the points guys. I guess they did, I didn’t see it.
“I’m an honest person and a man of my word. I had nothing to do with what happened out there. I was out there running my own race. I was out there to win the race and that’s what I did. Just because I own the car does not mean I had anything to do with it.”
Jeffreys, who was in the championship lead entering Saturday’s race, was never a factor in the finish and battled just inside the top-10 most of the night. He also was left frustrated and expressed it to officials after the race.
“The car wasn’t as good as it should’ve been,” said Jeffreys, who finished sixth. “What I’m trying to find out is how can two cars turn around on the race track (during a late-race caution flag) and then (track officials) put them back into the positions they were at?
“They (NASCAR officials) are saying the caution came out or what have you. Two or three weeks ago, I stopped for a wreck out there. They bring me off the racetrack leading the race put me to 14th. Then now tonight the roles are reversed. I don’t understand. It’s a two way street. That’s racing over here I guess.”
While Myers and Jeffreys were disappointed after the race, it was pure joy in the Bohn pit as he celebrated the title in his first full-time season of Bowman Gray competition in Swisher’s entry.
“Puddin’s been racing here for so many years,” said Bohn. “They’ve been excited the last few weeks. I’ve told him what we’ve needed and he’s been 110-percent with it; whatever we need to do as a team to make this happen. I’m happy to be in that car, but that man deserves it more than anybody. He’s helped so many drivers over the years. He’d give the shirt off his back.”
Bohn became the 23rd different driver to win a Bowman Gray Stadium Modified championship since the track first opened in 1949. His title is the first for a driver not named Burt Myers, Tim Brown or Junior Miller since 1995.
“You see the names that have won here and the championships I really can’t believe my name is now as a champion at Bowman Gray Stadium.”
– By Matt Kentfield, Speed51.com Executive Director – Twitter: @MattKentfield. Photo credit: Speed51.com
Official Farm Credit 150 Finish