This Sunday the rebirth of the SMART Modified Tour commences when the mighty modifieds return to Caraway Speedway. The series started back in 1989 when the drivers gathered before a race at the now-defunct Myrtle Beach Speedway during a rain delay and they came to an agreement kind of like a driver’s council and formed what’s now the Southern Modified Auto Racing Tour or SMART for short.
Before they hit the track to kick off their first full-time season since 2004 here are some notes and numbers to get you caught up on the drivers and teams.
0 – Shockingly enough 10-Time Bowman Gray Stadium Track Champion Tim Brown has never won a SMART Tour race at Caraway. He’ll be looking to change that this weekend.
1 – The number of wins legendary modified Ace Ted Christopher has on the SMART Tour.
2 – Wins that Matt Hirschman has at Caraway in the North-South Shootout.
15 – The number of drivers that have won a SMART feature race at Caraway.
15.563 – The fastest overall lap ever recorded by a modified during time trials, set by Jason Myers on March 15, 2015.
16.072 – The fastest known time turned by a SMART Tour driver set by Jay Hedgecock back on April 10, 2004.
22 – Junior Miller’s number of wins at Caraway Speedway.
27 – The number of times the race has gone into overtime.
28 – Number of winners in the series history of the SMART Tour.
29 – A impressive list of Tour Modifieds that make up the entry list
34 – Years since NASCAR Hall of Famer won the Late Model Track Championship at Caraway.
39 – Junior Miller leads the all-time wins list with 39 wins.
99 – The number of laps the “mod squad” will run on Sunday.
166 – Races that’s been held under the SMART banner from 1989 – 2004 & 2020.
473 – The miles legend car graduate Caleb Heady will travel to drive the famous 7NY owned by Tom Baldwin Jr. the son of racing legend “Tiger” Tom Baldwin Sr.
The SMART Chevrolet 99 current entry list boasts the best entry list for the series since 1996 when the series visited North Wilkesboro. It features multiple champions across the board with two ten-time Bowman Gray Stadium track champions Burt Myers & Tim Brown. 2020 Tri-Track Modified Series Champion Matt Hirschman, 4-Time Race of Champions Champion Chuck Hossfeld, 2018 CARS Tour Super Late Model & 2020 CARS Tour Late Model Stock Champion Jared Fryar, 2008 Whelen Southern Modified Tour Champion Brian Loftin, 1987 Caraway Speedway Late Model Champion Bobby Labonte. Multi-Time & Multi-Division Caraway Speedway Track Champion Jimmy Wallace etc.
The series was very prominent during its heyday back in the ’90s and early ’00s before it garnered the attention of NASCAR. Last season with COVID-19 impacting the country and racing as a whole, we only got four races from the series in 2020, but the series is not looking to capture lightning in the bottle for a second time, they’re wanting to show that they can be a top series again without the support of the national series. They did it once back in 1989 and they can do it again starting this Sunday at the famous .455 mile half oval.
Pit registration opens at 8 AM, Pit Gate swings open at 9 AM, Trackside and Grandstands open at Noon. Qualifying is slated to start around 1:45 PM. Racing is scheduled to roll off at 3 PM after the autograph session and trophy presentation for the 2020 Track Champions.
Caraway Speedway follows all CDC guidelines and COVID-19 protocols. Facial coverings and social distancing are required.
Cover photo by Corey Latham.