Story by: Corey Latham ~ [email protected]

Winston-Salem, NC(May 5, 2011) — Bowman Gray Stadium and former “Madhouse” TV reality star Burt Myers had been through a lot of emotions in a two week period.

He crashed a Supermodified two weeks ago breaking three ribs and puncturing a lung making his start to his regular racing season seem in doubt. Myers was finally cleared to drive last week and took part in the “Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown”, driving a #3 car out of the RCR(Richard Childress Racing) stables and bringing home a top ten finish, great medicine for sure. But, his eyes were set on Bowman Gray, the season opening 200-lapper for the Modifieds and in typical Myers fashion he went out and conquered that also, looking to be the car to beat as he defends his 2010 championship.

It would not be easy for Myers on this night as a hefty field of 24 cars would start, three others would be sent home after not making time. Not many tracks in America can say they had to send cars home. Tim Brown would pick up the pole in qualifying on Friday and did it with style as he debuted a brand new car that was nothing more than a bare chassis two weeks prior. Lee Jefferies would line up alongside with Johnathan Brown, Burt Myers and Jason Myers making up the top five.

Jefferies would serve notice early that he had one of the cars to beat as he runs Tim Brown low on the start and picks up the lead. It only takes four laps for a caution as former pace car driver Mike Norman loops it around in turn four. With the cone restart at Bowman Gray the field gets jumbled up quite a bit, one thing noticeable on this night was how daring second place would be at numerous times as the outside was taken nearly each caution.

Brown would finally make the outside pay for him as he takes one of the early restarts while the leader seems to be sleeping and pulls to the lead bringing John Smith to the second spot behind him. Bumping and banging was the norm early and it came to a crashing halt on lap 31 when Brent Elliott climbs the frontstretch guardrail and rides on top of it all the way to turn one nearly taking out the flagstand and coming to a sudden stop where the turn guardrail meets the lower frontstretch one. Elliott would be ok but it was frightening to say the least, the race would be red flagged as the track crew makes repairs to the Armco barrier.

For the next 100 laps the event would see some great restart battles for the lead until Brian Loftin makes his way to the front and looks to be the car for the long run to reckon with. The long races become a tire conservation event as no one wants to burn their stuff up early, therefore saving grip for the end. Jeffries would stay within ear shot as Tim Brown hounded him for second while John Smith, Jr. Miller and JonBoy Brown made up the top six. Action would be halted once more on lap 147 when the winning move was made, but not on the track.

A caution at Bowman Gray Isn’t much time to do things to a car, with the track being just a quarter mile there Isn’t much time for adjustment with caution laps counting, you can easily go a lap down. Under the lap 147 caution, Burt Myers jumped to the front of the field from his position just inside the top ten. He had not been competitive to his liking, so what would a simple chassis adjustment hurt? Well it was anything but that as the team changed two right side tires before the pace car would come back around, a victory in itself just to pull it off. Now Myers had fresh rubber and with cautions and the cone rule imminent towards the end of the race, he liked his chances as did the Myers fans.

Myers would use another caution just two laps later to get into the top five from the outside while others weren’t so happy. That restart saw John Smith go to the outside of Loftin for the lead and as the exited turn two Smith spins in front of the entire field causing cars to dart everywhere. The officials get the lineup sorted out with Tim Brown getting the short end of the stick as he went from third to eighth, Brown was not amused as it seemed others in the top ten got to keep their spots. This would lead to another controversy later as it put Brown back with cars he had not been around all night.

Burt Myers would pull up to the leader for the restart, it was now that Myers and leader Brian Loftin would put on a show, running side-by-side numerous times and fighting like it was the last lap. Myers was the only car out there with fresh right side rubber and it was making a noticeable difference as Loftin was doing all he could to keep him behind. He could breathe again with 24 to go as we see the yellow again as Jason Myers spins to the infield with Tim Brown right behind him. Did Tim get into him? Jason says no but the actions later might paint another picture.

On the lap 181 restart Burt Myers again goes to the outside, this time making it work as he pinches Loftin down off turn two to take the lead. Loftin would charge right back though as he was determined on this night, already the sentimental favorite, Loftin was making his first start of the season after the passing of his young wife in March, whether they admitted it or not everybody was a Brian Loftin fan on this night.

A late caution and a restart on lap 187 meant one thing, this would be the final cone restart of the night as in the last ten laps only single-file restarts are permitted. Loftin would switch the roles as he takes the outside of Myers from second and runs him hard into the corner. They complete a lap still side-by-side, then another as they beat off one another and the crowd comes to their feet. JonBoy Brown would try to stick it in three-wide for the lead on lap 190 only to think better of it, but does get Loftin high to pick up the spot before a caution in turn three for a huge wreck.

Randy Butner, Jeremy Stoltz, Kevin Powell, Brad Robbins, Danny Bohn and Kevin Wilson get all tangled up at the entrance to pit road bringing out the red flag once more. It looks like it will be a six lap dash to the finish as Myers gets a great restart and pulls away from Brown instantly. JonBoy Brown would serve notice that he wasn’t going to lay down and regained his momentum, he was catching Myers quickly and caught him at the end of lap 196. They go into turn one and Brown is there, they exit turn four and Brown gives Myers a shot knocking him sideways as the 17,000 in attendance cheer at the top of their lungs. It looks to be a knock-down drag-out for the win….until. Kevin Powell spins once again to bring out the yellow, now it is going to be settled under a green-white-checkered.

With Myers having fresh rubber the caution was the last thing Brown wanted to see, he could run with him if they got some heat in the tires but he was no match for Myers on the restarts as Myers simply drove away. Brown would try his best to get back to the bumper of Myers but simply ran out of time as Myers would take the win. Behind them Jason Myers had gotten to the inside of Tim Brown for sixth on the last lap, remember those two? Going into turn three coming to the checkereds Jason Myers gets hard into Tim Brown sending both cars spinning into the infield, It’s hard to go a single race at Bowman Gray without some kind of rivalry starting for the following week.

There sat Myers in victory lane, winner of the biggest race of the season, the Daytona 500 of Bowman Gray races. Myers usually wins his races on pure speed and aggression, but on this night it was strategy and track position that gave him the victory. With the cone rule at Bowman Gray and Burt Myers figuring out the new strategy for it, he hopes to be unstoppable as he continues to find new ways to beat the competition.

1. Burt Myers
2. Johnathan Brown
3. Brian Loftin
4. John Smith
5. Lee Jefferies
6. Michael Cliffton
7. Austin Pack
8. Chris Fleming
9. Randy Butner
10. Jason Myers
11. Tim Brown
12. Jeremy Stoltz
13. Danny Bohn
14. Robert Jefferies
15. Kevin Powell
16. Brad Robbins
17. Kevin Wilson
18. Junior Miller
19. Bo Bo Brown
20. Mike Norman
21. Dean Ward
22. Brent Elliott
23. Bobby Reed
24. Ronnie Cliffton