The crowning of a Modified champions can be much like a boxing match. Round after round, you score points seeking either a knockout or a victory on points at the bell.
As the Southern Modified Racing Series heads to the season finale at Caraway Speedway on Saturday, October 26, all the competition has been knocked out, but still there are two men in the ring.
In one corner you have the challenger, John Smith, who has been in this position before. Following a win at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC), Smith sits only five points back going for his first tour Modified series championship.
In the other corner, you have the two-time defending series champion and points leader Jeremy Gerstner, who had been on pace to win a third championship. After being out of the top five at Hickory and experiencing problems in the first Caraway twin last month, Gerstner is against the ropes like a bruised prize fighter.
Regardless of how the two got to the final race the simple fact is they are still standing.
For Smith, this is the revenge he’s seeking after his disappointment in 2016.
He entered Caraway that year tied with Burt Myers for the title before an unapproved tire change cost him the race and championship. Ironically, that year Smith also won the race before at Hickory to set the stage for Caraway.
Gerstner could be adding his name to Modified history in the south. A championship would be a third straight, tying him only with Geroge Brunnhoelzl, III (NASCAR Modified Tour) and Junior Miller (SMART Tour) as the only other drivers to win three-straight Touring series titles in the south. Miller actually won four straight on the SMART Tour from 1997-2000.
The tale of the tape shows this, Gerstner is a smart point racer. He’s much like Alan Kulwicki when it comes to thinking about the bonus points and where he needs to be on the track.
John Smith just has to try and win the race, no funny business.
The two drivers have a combined 117 starts at Caraway. They each have three career wins. Who will have the upper hand? Well, let’s just say the only way to find out is to be at Caraway on Saturday night.
If you are unable to make it to Caraway Speedway Saturday night for the Southern Modified Racing Series finale, Speed51 will be there. Highlights from the race will be available on the Speed51 Network for Premium Members. Click here to sign up for the Speed51 Network today.
-Story by: Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51photos.com