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Bowman Gray 7-27

The Tiger Roars (Skirmish In The Dirty South)

Bowman Gray 7-27

Bowman Gray 7-27
Billy Weatherman Photo

Billy Weatherman/Oval Track News

A dominating performance highlighted the Colors Edge Sportsman 100 Saturday night. But for some, another story overshadowed the feature. But as all great stories, things must be put into perspective. And in this case, unless you know the true and storied history that led to how things played out at this weekends events at Bowman Gray, it may all just seem like madness. And as I write this race report today, I can tell you, I have seen more than one speculative comment, but that’s normal after an incident at the Madhouse. So, after we go over what happened in the races themselves, I will try to give a little more unbiased perspective on why things happened the way they did, so that while others comment on something they’ve seen only in a YouTube clip or a picture or two, you can have some backstory and a clearer picture of what really happened that has set the social media world on fire once again.

McDowell Heating And Air Sportsman Series/Colors Edge Sportsman 100

The 21 of Tommy Neal set the tone early as he took the pole with a lap of 14.614, as the points leader, Justin Taylor (12), guaranteed himself a starting spot in the top 6 with the second best lap of 14.794. But Kyle Southern let Justin know that he would not be far behind with the 6th best lap of 14.836, as the top 6 qualifiers would have to redraw for where they would start at the top of the field, and 7th on back will start where they qualified. Also in the top 6 qualifiers was Ross Dalton (3rd quick), John Holleman IV (4th quick), and Michael Adams (5th quick). I asked Tommy~ You’ve shown them how fast the car is with a great qualifying lap, do you have them covered for the race tonight? “Well, we’ve shown them already more than a couple times how fast we are, this year,. we just got to make it happen again tonight.”

After the redraw, the top qualifiers line up with Ross Dalton drawing the pole, Tommy Neal 2nd, Kyle Southern 3rd, Michael Adams 4th, John Holleman IV 5th, and Justin Taylor getting the worst of the draw in 6th. Also to note, all feature races at the stadium are cone races, ensuring exciting double file restarts throughout the Sportsman race tonight. Also notable, is the hottest running driver, getting wins in the last 5 weeks, Dylan Ward in the 7 machine, has been having mechanical issues throughout the day, and failed to take a qualifying lap, so he will have to start at the rear of the field if he is able to rectify his troubles and join the field for the race.

As the race starts, Tommy Neal get’s a great start, and after contact with Dalton. takes the lead from the outside, leaving Dalton to settle for second for the time being, with Holleman looking under Adams for 4th, and bringing Justin Taylor with him to 5th. The 92 of Kyle Southern is working over the 50 of Dalton, but there’s a caution for The 7 of Ward Dylan, who did start at the tail end of the field, and has been smoking since the beginning. The cone is out and a number of fast cars take the outside to look for a spot up front. Tommy Neal leads them to the flag and get’s another great start, and Holleman on the outside goes to 2nd, but Dalton get’s back under him and takes his spot back. Another caution for debris however halts the action again, but gives Dylan Ward his lap back. Tommy Neal, Ross Dalton, and Holleman are your top three, but as the cone comes out again, the 4 of Holleman, the 02 of Derek Stoltz, and the 02 of Amber Lynn, go to the outside. Back to green, Holleman get’s inside of Dalton again for 2nd with Kyle Southern 4th, and Derek Stoltz 5th. Derek starts to pressure on Southern for fourth, and get’s around him after a few laps. Points leader Justin Taylor has fallen back a bit since the start, but he uses a lapped car as a pick to get around the 19 of Michael Adams for 7th. The caution comes out for the 17 of Michael Caudill who inadvertently held up the leaders coming off of turn 2, and got turned around into the infield. Dalton has exited the field with unfortunate mechanical failure, as he has up until this point run in the top 3 the whole race thus far.

Near halfway finds Tommy Neal out front, and he has lead every lap so far. He is the 3rd most winningest Sportsman driver in Bowman Gray, Stadium racing, so he knows how to get around the flat quarter mile. Holleman there, but he can’t do anything with Neal, as he has been pressured by Dalton, and now Stoltz upon Dalton’s exit. Kyle Southern is having a great race as he sits in 4th, with Amber Lynn and Justin Taylor 5th and 6th. As the cone comes out, Kyle Southern lines up on the outside beside Tommy Neal, to take his chance at the front. But as the green falls, he get’s to eager, and goes into turn 1 too hot, spinning out into the guardrail. A terrible turn of events for Southern in his points chase, with only 3 weeks left in the season. And while under caution, the track crew stops to look at the 2 of Amber Lynn, as she appears to be leaking fluid, and will have to go to the pits. (She would not return due to mechanical failure) Tommy Neal is still the leader, followed by Holleman, and Taylor, but Derek Stoltz lines up on the outside of Neal for the start, followed by Michael Adams and the 05 of rookie Spencer Martin. When they green falls, Derek Stoltz is first to make a stab at Neal, but he holds him off, and Stoltz has to give up a spot to get in line for 3rd. The 17 of Caudill goes around again, but no caution as he sits on the edge of the infield, looking to find a spot to rejoin the track. He comes out just head of the leaders, and spins around again.

Bowman Gray 7-27
Bowman Gray Sportsman lineup for the Colors Edge Sportsman 100 7/27/19 Billy Weatherman Photo

Meanwhile, The 7 of Dylan Ward and his team have managed to get the car fixed by using the cautions to pit and fix the car, and to get his lap back, and now he’s ready to race. On the start, he lines up outside in 8th. After another caution for debris by the 1 of Wayne Hill. Up front, it’s still Tommy Neal, followed by Holleman, and Adams who used the cone to his advantage in 3rd. Dylan Ward has moved to 6th on the outside, and his car has really come to life, and is now one of the fastest on the track. As they start, the 7 slips into the top 5, and is looking for more under Adams for 4th, as Justin Taylor slips under the 19 for 5th. Adams has gotten stuck on the outside, and can’t find a spot to get in. The 31 of Chase Robertson (rookie) is having his best run of the year, and moves into 6th. But another caution and restart now finds him falling back a spot to 7th. Setting up on lap 93 and the last restart of the race with 7 laps to go. Derek Stoltz has gotten by Holleman who sits 3rd, and Dylan Ward, who has went from the back to the front several times, and overcome problems with the car early in the race, and is now running 4th. On the start, Holleman goes to the outside of Neal, followed by Justin Taylor who will restart 4th on the outside of Derek Stoltz. They take a shot at the green, but an eager Holleman jumps the start, and they’ll have to do it again. This time is a go, and Holleman get’s stuck out for a moment, but falls in line in front of Justin Taylor for 4th. But nobody has anything for Neal, as he pulls away for the win, and dominates the Colors Edge Sportsman 100, leading every lap of the race. Derek Stoltz finshed 2nd, Dylan Ward 3rd, Holleman 4th, and Justin Taylor 5th.

Brad’s Golf Cars Modified Series Race 1 (25 laps)

Lee Jeffreys takes the pole with a lap of 13.315. -Lee, we talked a couple weeks ago about how many times you’ve been on the front row this year. You’ve been super quick in qualifying…what’s it going to take to get to turn that into a win this year? “We’ve just got to get a good start. There’s some good cars up there tonight. Brandon, and Butner have been fast…and Jason. It’s not going to be easy to beat those guys tonight.

Bowman Gray 7-27
Brad’s Golf cars Modified series Race 1 7/27/19 Billy Weatherman Photo

Brandon Ward (04)2nd, Randy Butner 3rd (5), Jason Myers (4)4th , and Chris Fleming (16) round out the top 5 qualifiers. As the green waves on the start, Lee runs Brandon Ward a little wide into turn 1, and secures the lead. Jason Myers is looking for a spot to get in line, and he tries to cut down in front of the 22 of Jonathan Brown but he’s not clear, and the two get together leaving Jason spinning into the guardrails in the middle of turns 3 and 4. He’s got some damage and makes his way to the pits under caution. It’s a single file restart as they go back green, and nothing’s changed up front. Jonathan Brown works his way past the 16 of Fleming, and is putting pressure on Randy Butner in 3rd. The best battle on the track though is the one waging between John Smith (25), Burt Myers (1), and James Civali (79), as the fight mid pack. There’s another caution as the 3 of Danny Propst and the 8 of Darin Redmon get together and spin through the grass, with only a handful of laps left. The final green is out, and Lee runs a flawless race to take the checkers, with Brandon Ward 2nd, Randy Butner 3rd, Jonathan Brown 4th, and Chris Fleming rounding out your top 5.

Bowman Gray 7-27
Billy Weatherman Photo

Race 2

After the first race, Lee Jeffreys had to draw from a hat to determine where he will start in the second race. This is known as the Madhouse scramble. He drew an 8, so that will put the 8th place finisher in the first race, Burt Myers (1), on the pole, followed by John Smith (53), Tim Brown (83), Chris Fleming (16), and Jonathan Brown (22). The green waves, but on lap two, the 44 of Daniel Beeson goes around. And after the restart, it’s tight up front. The 22 of Jonathan Brown is putting pressure on Tim Brown in the 83 for 4th, but as they come to lap traffick, Tim Brown and William Smith collide, and Tim spins out through the grass. The 2 of Gabriel Saavedra goes to the pits, and the field approaches the limping Jason Myers. he’s been lapped a couple of times already, but as the field works their way around him again, he find Jonathan Brown in turn 3, and turns into him sending Jonathan and Jason around and into the guardrail. As they face each other in the corner, Jason revs his engine and turns the wheel toward Brown and Brown follows suit and they ram each other. Jason then heads away seemingly, but then turns back toward Jonathan again, and able to get a little more speed, tries to ram him again, but Brown is able to get him to manage a side swipe, then he pulls out to get a better shot and rams Jason and both cars are steaming and smoking in the corner, unable to move. Jonathan get’s out, and heads toward Jason, but security prevents him from getting to him. Jason gets out, and calmly walks to his hauler. Meanwhile, as they crews work to remove the now severely damaged cars, and it’s a heated pit road, with both teams state their case to each other. The 2 car of Gabriel Saavedra is being prevented from entering the race from the pits, as race control states he cannot rejoin as he had exited the race earlier, and has been in the pits with no repairs for a specified number of laps. To note, the 2 car is known to be Joseph Brown’s car, who is Jonathan Brown’s brother. As officials temper down the situation, I caught up with Jonathan Brown, and Jason Myers, and asked them if they wanted to say anything, or make a quote about the incident.

-Jonathan, do you care to make a comment or quote about the incident between you and Jason Myers? “I see how he wants to race me. See, he can’t run with me, so he wrecks me. Ok, but you know what? I’ve got five cars at home, and I can make sure he doesn’t finish another race.” Jason, Do you care to comment on what just took place out there between you and Jonathan? “It’s just racing man.” But on the track, there’s a race to finish. The green waves with Burt Myers (1), John Smith (53), Chris Fleming (16), and Tim Brown (53) up front, but with 2 laps to go, James Civali (79) get’s into Tim Brown, and sends him spinning. As they cross the line, it’s Myers taking the checkers, followed by Smith, Fleming, Civali, and Butner.

Bowman Gray 7-27
Jonathan Brown’s crew surveys the damage Billy Weatherman Photo

The law Offices Of John Barrow Street Stock Series

Kevin Gilbert in the 13 machine starts on the pole, with rookie Austin Powell (6) 2nd, David Creed (02) 3rd, and Brian Wall (22) 4th. On the start, Powell edges ahead of Gilbert for the lead, but he can’t clear him, and is stuck on the outside looking for a place to get in. But Creed is now looking to get by Gilbert, and on lap 3 he does, and moves into the lead. Caution flies for the 40 and 69 cars of Taylor Robbins and Gerald Robinson Jr, as they spin in the grass. There’s another caution for debris shortly after on lap 8, as the track crew has to remove the tailpipe of the 69, as it has fallen from his car onto the track. back to green, the 97 makes a great move to move into 4th. On lap 15 with 5 to go, the 62 of Kevin Hedgecock goes around, and he nudges up to the 33 of Dennis Lanier to show his displeasure. As they go back green, The 97 of Jeremy Warren get’s into the 22 of Brian Wall, but it cost warren a couple of spots. On the last lap, as Creed takes the checkers, with Christian Joyce (1), who steadily worked his way to 2nd, Brian Wall (22) holds 3rd, Billy Gregg (98) 4th, and Jacob Creed (08) finishes in the top 5.

Q104.1 Stadium Stock A Division

In the A division race, it’s the 27 of Austin Cates on the pole, followed by the 81 of Chuck Wall, the 43 of Brandon Brendle, and the 69 of Brandon Crotts. As the green waves, Wall takes the lead, and the 27 soon finds himself in the guardrail, but he continues, and the caution comes out as the field couldn’t sort it out. As they restart, the 3 of K.C. Myers has moved to 3rd but the 1 of Grayson Keaton is stopped in turn 2. The 24 of A.J. Sanders started 12th, but he’s moved his way to 7th for the restart. As they go back green it’s Wall leads Brendle, but Sanders is moving up through the field. By lap 8 he is 3rd and running down the leaders. Up front, as the leaders try to lap the 1 of Keaton, he tries to get into Wall, but takes out Brendle instead. At the line, it’s Wall with the win, Sanders 2nd, the 51 of Junior Snow 3rd, Potts 4th, and the 60 of Brad Mikalowski.

B Division

Up front is the rookie Matt Alley in the 74, and the 44 of Justin Whitaker. Alley stacks them up a bit on the start, and Whitaker get’s by him. The 33 of DJ Dean and the 39 of Patrick Mullin get together and both go around. The 11 of Chad Hopkins runs 3rd, but he get’s loose and the 40 of Kenny Dixon get’s into him and sends Hopkins around. As the race unfolds, Whitaker and Alley are in a heated battle up front, But Dean is working his way through the field. By lap 8 he has moved to 3rd and is working on Alley for 2nd. With 4 to go, he moves by him, but Whitaker goes on to win with Dean 2nd, Alley 3rd, and the 4 of Doug Rembold 4th.

Bowman Gray Stadium is unique. For those who have never been to the track on a Saturday night, or looked into it’s storied history, it’s hard to understand it. But let’s take a look at it. Big Bill France himself started the weekly racing deal for NASCAR at Bowman Gray. Mike Helton cut his teeth here. Richard Petty got his 100th win here. The win list includes Hall of Fame drivers and legends, like Curtis Turner, Fonty and Tim Flock, Ralph Earnhardt, David Pearson, Lee Petty, Bobby Allison,…and many more legends of the sport. To win here puts you on the list with legends. Tim Brown is the all time leader in wins and championships, but his racing family goes all the way back to Perk Brown, who won 47 races at the stadium and is 6th in all time wins. The Myers family traces their roots back to Billy and Bobby Myers. That makes them care about winning here. That also makes drivers like Jonathan Brown care about winning here. And if he is to make his mark in the record books here, he knows who he has to beat. And he knows the work he will have to put in. Because for Tim Brown and the Myers family, it’s personal. And auto racing is a sport. And like any other sport, you must adapt to the written and unwritten rules of where you compete. That means at Bowman Gray, you better learn how to play the game if you want to win. And you better have all your chess pieces in place. And most of all, here, you better be prepared to lay it all on the line. What happened between Jason Myers, and Jonathan Brown didn’t just start Saturday night. It started when Jonathan decided he wanted to win races. And it increased when he started wanting to win championships. That’s 2 different things at this track. Let’s look at what happened. First, you read the quotes from both drivers. Burt Myers, Jason’s brother, said in the interview with randy Petitt after his win, that what Jason did had nothing to do with him. But from the other side, the questions arise. They say when something like this happens, and you want to know why, you look to who benefits. Burt Myers benefited greatly in the points chase. And with only 3 race weekends to go, it couldn’t have happened at a better time. Jonathan at this point in the season, has shown his strength, and is in contention for the championship. And with the season ending in three feature events for the modifieds, the championship will be decided in those races. Maybe though, Burt was telling the truth, and he and his team had nothing to do with it. But even he knows, a feud between Jason and Jonathan would not be a bad thing for him if it breaks Jonathan’s momentum. And, we have seen this kind of thing before. It’s not new. It’s a chess piece being played. It’s all part of the game. Time will tell how it will play out. I got a feeling a surprise or two is still left on the table. But to those who are saying, no one who respects their car would tear it up like that, or that isn’t racing over there at the stadium? I say, you couldn’t be farther from the truth. I’ve even heard it said that you can’t race here because of the size, and it’s one groove…I’ve heard a lot of things from people that have never been here. But I can tell them, I have seen the best racing here that I have ever seen. Not just matching all the other tracks I’ve been to, but surpassing it. I have seen 3 and 4 wide across the stripe for a win. I have seen many talented drivers go from the back to the front using the outside lane, and not tearing up a thing. But what I have seen here more than any other place I have been to, is the desire and passion to win. Richard Childress knew exactly what kind of driver he needed for his Cup team, because he learned what it took to win championships from growing up around Bowman Gray Stadium. And although Dale didn’t run any races at Bowman Gray, his father Ralph won 4 races at the stadium. When it means something, people will go to great lengths to achieve their goals. And so as a driver, racing on the most historic track in the country, what would you do to win? To be a champion here, you must be more than a great driver. You must learn how to play the game. And you better be willing to play for keeps.

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