It’s a long haul from Wesley Chapel, Florida to the venues on the Southern Modified Racing Series. For the first time this season, Jeremy Gerstner is making that trek back to Florida with a trophy.


The two-time defending Southern Modified Racing Series champion dominated the second round of the SMRS season, taking the win in the 75-lap feature race at Southern National Motorsports Park in Lucama, North Carolina.


Gerstner finished third when the series last visited Southern National in April 2017.  The track was just as enjoyable as Gerstner remembered it, and it showed in his performance.


“I’ll tell you, this is a fun track, a driver’s track,” Gerstner told Speed51.  “We sat on the pole, led about every lap but ten.  Had a pretty dominant car.  This makes that ten-and-a-half hour trek back to Florida great.”


The win also put some wind back in Gerstner’s sails heading back to a track where Gerstner is a two-time SMRS winner.  Last weekend, Gerstner finished seventh at Caraway Speedway (NC) after an early incident hampered his car’s handling, but his past success and Saturday’s win gives Gerstner plenty of reason for optimism.


“I can’t wait to go back to Caraway,” Gerstner stated.  “I feel great, just got the toe-in knocked out during the race, so we should be able to go back there and be dominant and keep this third championship run going.”


The 75-lap race went caution-free and tire management became key for the evening.  Gerstner admitted he had hoped for a yellow flag to cool his tires, but ultimately the cards fell his way.


The only threat to Gerstner was Chris Finocchario, who fell out of the running on lap 61 after fading into the field.  Finocchario and Gerstner exchanged the lead several times in the opening laps before Gerstner distanced himself from the field.


“I was looking forward to maybe having a caution to cool the tires down, but it played into our favor,” Gerstner said.  “We got out front.  I battled with the 8 [of Finocchario] a little bit, played a little cat and mouse because I didn’t want to hurt the right-rear.  The car literally never bobbled, never got loose, never got tight.”


Bobby Measmer, Jr. finished second after winning the 602 Modified Tour event earlier in the evening. Tom Buzze rounded out the podium finishers.


Stay tuned to Speed51 for video highlights from the race, as well as the other events from the PRA Tours event at Southern National Motorsports Park.  Click here to sign up for a Speed51 premium membership to gain access to those highlights, as well as interviews, recaps and broadcasts of races from around the country.


Southern Modified Racing Series Unofficial Results

Southern National Motorsports Park – Lucama, North Carolina


Pos # Driver
1 15 Jeremy Gerstner
2 17 Bobby Measmer, Jr.
3 5 Tom Buzze
4 1 Burt Myers
5 83 Tim Brown
6 25 John Smith
7 8 Chris Finocchario


-Story by: Zach Evans, Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans

-Photo credit:

SMRS Champ Bounces Back for Southern National Win