The Modified racing season here in the south gets off to a start this weekend. First with a visit by the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to Myrtle Beach Speedway on Saturday where some of the southern competitors will go to take on the Northern fleet. Then on Sunday the Southern Modified Racing Series kicks off their 2018 campaign in a 99-lap affair at Caraway Speedway.

Before we bring you the action from the weekend ahead, let’s take a look at how we think they’ll stack up this season in the Southern Modified Racing Series and at Bowman Gray Stadium once it opens next month.

The Top 10:

1 – Burt Myers
BMR (Burt Myers Racing) is coming off their eighth Bowman Gray Stadium title and a very successful season in the Southern Modified Racing Series. He’s coming off a 2017 season that compiled over tens wins and twenty+ top fives. Going into the 2018 season he is definitely the guy to beat. With that being said I don’t think he’s as far ahead of his competition as he has been in the past.

2 – Brandon Ward
Ward and his team of guru’s in the likes of Jeff Day and Will Spaugh brought home five wins to the shop on Old Walkertown Road in 2017. Brandon came out of the gate as the favorite to win the title in the SMRS last year after winning multiple races in a row. Continued mechanical failures put he and his championship goals to bed, unfortunately. I look for him to be not only a threat in the SMRS for a title but also Bowman Gray Stadium.

3 – Jeremy Gerstner
Jeremy is coming off his first career SMRS title. He and his Shady Grady Racing entry finally managed to get a well-deserved win last year. Jeremy had arguably one of the most consistent seasons in a Modified to date. I am not sure how many races he will be running at Bowman Gray, but I do expect him to defend his SMRS title fiercely.

4 – Tim Brown
Tim Brown is, as most know, the ten-time Bowman Gray Stadium Champion. Although he is still shaking the Tour rust off, he did manage to get three wins outside of the Stadium last year (I am counting Ace as a Touring win). I look for him to bounce back at not only the Stadium but at other tracks that the SMRS hits as well.

5 – Danny Bohn
Danny is teaming up with Phil Stefanelli Racing (PSRacing) this year for a full campaign on the SMRS Tour AND Bowman Gray. Danny won three races last year racing part-time which is bad news for his competition. He could easily be a threat for both titles this year. He also had a fantastic showing down in New Smyrna during Speedweeks until a wreck late in the week ended his tour down South.

6 – Bobby Measmer Jr.
Although Bobby and his team didn’t win a race last year they were a consistent contender week in and week out. Bobby won Rookie of the Year at the Stadium and very nearly won his first race late in the year but couldn’t hang on near the end. Bobby has a great team with names like Measmer Sr, Hughes and Carver. I definitely wouldn’t count out the #14 no matter where it shows up this year.

7 – Jason Myers
It does not question that Jason and his team struggled a bit last year not winning on the SMRS Tour and only winning a couple races at the Stadium. Myers was coming off a multiple win season at the Stadium and a great showing in the SMRS and didn’t quite back it up in 2017. Although I don’t think Jason will be racing the SMRS Tour he will as always, be at the Stadium. I believe he will bounce back in 2018.

8 – George Brunnhoelzl III
GB3 hasn’t raced much in a couple years but he’s a multi-time NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Series champion and it’s easy to expect a lot out of him and the Hillbilly Racing Team this season.  The team won a race at Bowman Gray Stadium last season but GB3 has never raced there full-time.

9 – John Smith
Although John only won a single race in 2017 he didn’t race AS much as he has in the past. He only ran a handful of SMRS races and the full season at Bowman Gray with Puddin Swisher. I think John will win at least one race at the Stadium this year and be a definite contender when he does show up at an SMRS Tour event.

10 – Randy Butner
The last power ranking was a tough choice between Butner and Lee Jeffreys. Both drivers are pretty much held down by Bowman Gray but have traveled before. Both drivers won one race last year and both drivers are as smooth as silk. Butner does travel to Ace when they race and if he does I think he will win a couple races this year between there and the Stadium so he will get my #10 spot.

Honorable Mentions:
Lee Jeffreys – Lee is coming off a lackluster season at the Stadium with only one win.

Brian King – The King of Ace. He will probably win every race at Ace, but unfortunately won’t be racing elsewhere so I can’t gauge his success off just that.

Brian Loftin – Teaming up with Eddie Harvey they are looking to have a great season. The races they were paired up in last year they struggled a bit. They will shake off the rust and be a contender this year.

Others to Keep an Eye On:
Mike Norman a long time competitor has yet to break into the win column. But when times get tough Mike is usually there near the end to capitalize on any opportunities his competitors give him.

Tom Buzze has also yet to break into the W column. Tom runs competitively every week but never seems to be able to seal the deal in the SMRS.

Gary Putnam has one career win at Concord which was the upset of the year. Gary is a great guy with good equipment but never finds himself racing on a regular basis due to work and other things outside of racing.