Brandon Ward’s victory in Saturday night’s Southern Modified Racing Series race at Southern National Motorsports Park was a sentimental one.
Four years ago, his close friend and crew member Mike Sabiston passed away at the track prior to a Super Late Model race. Ward, who now races regularly in Modifieds, picked up his third consecutive win in the Southern Modified Racing Series and felt like Sabiston was riding shotgun with him.
“It’s special to win here,” Ward said after the race. “We lost something way bigger than this when we lost Mike here at this racetrack. There’s not a day that goes by that I think about Mike and his entire family, whether it be at the racetrack or not. Especially, when we come here, man, it’s like he’s been riding with us all day. We’ve had a fast racecar. Will Spaugh has done a phenomenal job with this racecar, I can’t thank him enough.”
Ward held off a late charge from Burt Myers, who had been saving tires earlier in the run before mounting his charge on the final laps. Myers, who finished second, felt he had a car that could win, but contact with James Civali potentially cost him a shot.
“We had a great car,” Myers said. “Seems like that’s the trend for us. This track and this car, it just fits my driving style. I love coming here. I knew, 20 to go, on that restart, it was probably a little too early to go hard so I waited closer to the end and went as hard as I could, just ran out of laps. The 79 ran me sideways, tried to drive right through me and cost us both a couple of spots. That got me way behind and it took me a little longer to get caught up.”
“He was really good, he’s had a really good racecar,” Ward explained. “You know when you come to a Modified race, you have to outrun Burt. He’s always tough. It was like, he went harder early. We saved after the pit stop. We went really hard, I had to race [Bobby Measmer, Jr.], he was really good. I had to race him hard to get by him and I feel like I went too hard too early after that pit stop and it almost bit us there at the end. Burt was coming no doubt about it.”
Burt Myers has won seven track championships at Bowman Gray Stadium, a track that is notorious for aggressive racing and extracurricular activities. However, Myers doesn’t let that track’s reputation affect his driving. While he had an opportunity to potentially take Ward out, Myers raced him clean right to the end.
“Bowman Gray has that reputation, not us, that’s the problem,” Myers stated. “I race people the way they race me. There’s nobody here, well after tonight, there may be one. Most of these guys run me clean, we get side-by-side and never touch. I’ll keep doing that as long as they do.”
Southern Modified Racing Series Results
- Brandon Ward
- Burt Myers
- Jeremy Gershner
- Bobby Measmer, Jr.
- Danny Bohn
- Tim Brown
- Jason Myers
- JR Bertuccio
- Tom Buzze, Jr.
- James Civali
- Mike Norman