Story by: Corey Latham ~ [email protected]

Winston-Salem, NC(June 7, 2012) — On the night that the NASCAR K&N East series was the feature event, as they always do, the mighty modifieds took some of the glory away as they had a battle of thier own. A 100 lap “cone” race where drivers can choose inside or outside on restarts, it was nothing less than spectacular. When it was all over a quiet driver in John Smith was in victory lane, but what transpired between he and Chris Fleming was anything but “quiet”. It got downright nasty.

The field would start the race in an odd way as qualifying was not had as it usually is in 100 lap races, a blind draw out of a bag was used putting Austin Pack on the pole. From the drop of the green though it was clear who was going to settle this race, John Smith and Chris Fleming. Smith would grad the lead on the start but his time up front would be challenged immediately.

Lap five would see the first caution of the night as the heavy hitters would start in the back from a bad draw, and it would cost them. Tim Brown and JonBoy Brown would get caught up in a melee with Noah Triplett and Steven Truell putting both Brown’s a lap down early on. Burt Myers was even further back and was able to miss it, lucky for him, but not lucky why he was back there.

A week earlier Burt Myers had been accussed of soaking tires and the top few cars were forced to buy new tires, it was never said exactly what happened but the next week put the icing on the cake as Myers was found with 11 inch wide wheels when 10 inches are the max. He would be sent to the rear of the field for the start but the real penalty would come on Tuesday as he was docked 50 championship points knocking him from second to seventh in the point standings and ultimately killing his bid this season for a sixth championship.

After riding around for 11 laps with Tim Brown and JonBoy Brown both upset with officials for being put a lap down, we get back to racing with Fleming choosing the outside lane agains Smith. He wasnt able to get him on this restart but you could tell it was coming eventually as he laid heavy pressure to him lap after lap, he wanted the lead and he wanted it now. He would have to wait a bit as the field got settled with Pack in third and Jason Myers making a power move around rookie Tony Black to take fourth early on.

After a few quick cautions for spins in the back, Fleming finally gets his chance right before halfway and pulls a power move as he takes the lead from Smith on the outside. Smith would follow in his tire tracks but as strong as Fleming had looked, it was thought by the fans to be all for naut. We were all wrong.

We get to lap 67 and this is where things get interesting. Jr. Miller was dumping water all over the track and would not head the black flag because he said his radio didnt work so the officials made him leave the track to the pits. Now it was Smith’s turn to go to the outside of Fleming, and the start was anything but clean. The two beat and banged before the flag even waved then again as they enetered turn one with Fleming pulling in front. We all started to remember what this was about, last year in the Whelen tour race at Bowman Gray Smith was second in points and had an altercation with Fleming during the race ending his night, after the race was more altercations, Smith is such a quiet guy It’s easy to forget any rivalries he has. It was evident after every restart that the rivalry was back full force on this night.

We get to 15 to go and things just get weird. After Jason Myers gets into the back of an ailing BoBo Brown and spins him around, the pace car seems to forget where its at as it turns into the infield nearly 100ft later than usual with the caution lights still on, the field starts to go but the cone is still on the track, we did this about three times, it was just simply a cluster. When we do get to go we have just eight laps remaining and the tension is fierce.

Fleming once gain goes with Smith on his outside, they make even more contact this time with both cars getting crossed up and Austin Pack just laying back waiting on the outcome. They somehow make it through turns one and two with Fleming pulling in front but Smith is not happy with Fleming’s start as he lays the bumper to him in the next turn. We would go back under yellow on lap 93 as Burt Myers who started last and had gotten to fourth, spun in turn four collecting his brother Jason as the crowd goes wild. Then its gets weird again.

Dean Ward was behind the Myers’ spining cars and got right front suspension damage, his car would turn dead right into the wall as something was bent. As the wrecker goes to hook him up he backs up and waves them off, repeatedly, so we sit there, waiting, on what no one knows. Ward continues to back up and pull forward into the wall, itlooked goofy to us but in fact he had a plan, he bent the suspension back in place and was good to go. When asked what was going on after the race Ward replied “It bent up the right front, the crew came on the radio and asked if they could fix it, I told them yeah, but with four laps to go we would lose all our track position, So I told them I would fix it, I pay my money like everyone else here so I didjust that.”

After another restart with just one more lap ran than before for a spining Jason Myers from fourth spot, we finally get a Green-White-Checkered, the field must also start single file with less than five laps to go. Fleming hustles into turn one with Smith glued to his bumper, they go into turn three and Smith gives him a hard shot knocking him up the track and getting alongside, somehow Fleming would keep the top spot as they take the white flag. Into turn one forthe final time and Smith is there but Fleming backs the corner up securing his inside line, down the backstretch and you could tell what was going to happen, Smith was too close entering turn three and the contact was made. Fleming goes way up the track and spins right in front of the field, Lee Jefferies spins to avoid and collects Tommy Neal in a violent hit while JonBoy Brown piles in behind them equally as hard. The rest of the field hits the grass and makes thier way through, it was a mess.

In victory lane was Smith, who vowed that he didnt like Fleming and he just wasnt going to let that car win after the way he raced and and thier past. Meanwhile the Fleming crew tried to head to victory lane to take the flag from Smith but were stopped by some of Winston Salem’s finest in anot so nice tone, they wrok here every week and knew what was about to happen. In the pits there were no less than 20 officers between the two teams pit stalls, but the action was not between them. somehow a fan from the stands thought it would be a good reason to fight Dean Ward for whatever, needless to say it didnt work out well for the fan at all.

Just another night at Bowman Gray, controversy, drama, fighting, bickering and racing. Fleming said he was going on vacation this week as he drives his brother Frank’s car on occasion as he did this night, but swore that he would break his plans and be there this next week to “Give the fans what they want”. Smith’s reply to that was “Well I’ll be here”…..should be interesting this week, as if it wasnt every week.

100 Lap Modified Results
1. John Smith
2. Austin Pack
3. Michael Clifton
4. Brad Robbins
5. Randy Butner
6. Dean Ward
7. Burt Myers
8. Jason Myers
9. Ronnie Clifton
10. Danny Propst
11. Thomas Ferrando
12. Chris Fleming
13. Lee Jefferys
14. Tommy Neal
15. Tim Brown
16. Tony Black
17. JonBoy Brown
18. Mike Norman
19. BoBo Brown
20. Brent Elliott
21. Anthony Garbarino
22. Steven Truell
23. Junior Miller
24. Noah Triplett
25. Robert Jefferys
26. Brian Loftin
27. Danny Bohn