Story by: Corey Latham ~ [email protected]

Winston-Salem, NC(August 19, 2011) — The time has finally come for the 63rd edition of “Still the Most Exciting Of Them All’ to come to a close. Bowman Gray will put be putting a wrap on the season this Saturday night, all the hard work and hurt feelings have come down to this. Each year the point battles are close and furious with this season being no exception, and all the while the main thing on most drivers and fans minds are “payback”, which comes with the territory of racing around a flat quater mile track. This week the payback rumors are flying loud and proud.

Burt Myers has all but wrapped up his “Drive For Five” quest over Tim Brown who is in second. “All but” means that he hasn’t though, and while Myers just needs a top 20 finish Saturday night he has some people saying that might not happen. Bo Bo Brown, Brother of Johnathan “JonBoy” Brown is a rookie this season in the Bob Nelson owned mods and has had his run-ins with the Myers in the past few weeks. After getting into a tussle with Jason Myers a few weeks ago, last time out Bo Bo moved Burt out of the way during the race only to have Burt spin him in the next corner. After that Bo Bo rode slowly as Jason Myers was leading and blocked him causing Tim Brown to pass and take the victory. The Brown pits were selling “Payback Time” shirts with the Angry Birds on them this past weekend, so It’s safe to assume that this one is not over yet.

Behind Myers, second place is still most definitely up for grabs as Tim Brown (523), Chris Fleming (509), JonBoy Brown (498) and Jason Myers (497) are all bunched together heading into the 150 lap finale. Tim Brown and Fleming can be the most comfortable at this point though, as Bo Bo is gunning for the Myers so is his brother JonBoy as he knocked Burt from the lead to pick up a win just a few weeks ago then made allegations of Myers running Traction Control to add fuel to the fire. A lot of hatred going on here, then again it is Bowman Gray and it wouldn’t be without it.

Sportsman (Limited Late Model):
Here we are with another division with rumors flying of people bringing payback, bringing two cars to wreck people, just your average good time. Robbie Brewer had his points lead cut to 40 points after bad luck this past Saturday night overheating and blowing a head gasket. It seems totally up for grabs as the last week is double points night for all divisions with Kyle Edwards (533), Tommy Neal (530), Taylor Branch (528) and Gary Ledbetter, who has missed 5 races (501) all within striking distance.

So where do we start with the controversy here? Well, Brewer has had some rough racing in the past weeks with Tommy Neal and Tommy has never won a Sportsman championship even after picking up 85 wins at the track, needless to say he wants it bad.. Kyle Edwards has bad blood with Neal after protesting his motor earlier this season and nearly coming to blows and Branch had wrecked Derek Stoltz from a win a few weeks ago that people are still rumbling about payback from. Ledbetter seems to be neutral with everyone for now, but behind him are Luke Fleming and Bryant Robertson who made the local news earlier this year after playing demolition derby on each other then getting out of the cars to fight, with cops chasing them around the infield. Ummmm, yeah, probabaly be a good idea not to miss this last race for them.

Street Stock:
What a mess this whole thing has become. While John McNeal has the championship locked up, everybody and their brother have it out for someone in the class. After many years the Street division has finally put a time limit on their races as most of them take over 45 minutes to run……..and they only run 20 laps…….around a football field. Crashes, payback under caution, fights, crashes, wrecks…….crashes, this has become the roughest division at the stadium. And while it may be the roughest and most time consuming, some great racing has taken place at the front of the field.

McNeal has become the model of consistancy but Billy Gregg and Matt Cotner have stole the show with their wins and how they have come about. The pair have had run ins all year long and it looks to come to a head this Saturday night as each driver seems to “owe” the other one. Gregg has been the fastest car as of late even wearing a cape in victory lane to the many boos of the crowd favorite Cotner. One thing is for certain, they will get it on this weekend with the others hoping they can miss whatever happens.

Darren Cotner, borther to Matt is second in points (534) folled by Matt (516), rookie John Holleman (488), veteran Johnny Ardner (464) and Brian Wall (450). Holleman has been the standout this season, a long-time winner in Bandoleros he made the jump to full-size cars this season and is doing an outstanding job, all this at the ripe old age of 14.

Stadium Stocks (Mini-Stocks):
This could possibly be the best battle of the night. The points for the 4-bangers are ridiculous, Jimmy Absher (556), Micheal Wells (556), Chris Lawing (554), Jason Tutterow (548), Drew Moffitt (534), Chuck Wall (530) and Jason Keaton (528) are all in the running. Seven drivers separated by 28 points on double points night and only 20 laps to get it done, wow.

Now while in years past the Stadium Stocks have had crashes and controversy, these cars have evolved and now some of the best drivers in the region are in the class, these aren’t your standard little 4-cylinders you see at some tracks, these guys really get it on. And it will only be the top 24 in points racing the final event as usually they have two races with nearly 45 cars show up each week. This only puts the best of the best going for it all so the fireworks should fly as close as they are.

While Absher is a veteran of the stadium the favorite looks to be Wells, as he has raced all over the Southeast and won nearly everywhere he has been. The dark horse and crowd favorite right now has to be Lawing, as he has quitely made his name in the mini-stocks over the past few seasons and hasn’t really rubbed anyone the wrong way, just rode and got experience. He also lays claim to sporting the first RACE22 sticker on any Mini-Stock in the region so that may help him a tad also.

All in all, It’s the end of another season, the 12,000 in attendance each week after 18 events from May to August will grow quiet after Saturday night until 2012. But the memories of the finale will have lasting effects on many racers and fans alike, it always does.