Brown wins Season Opener Tucson 200

Tony Stewart helps open racing season at Bowman Gray Stadium
By Tommy Bowman/JOURNAL REPORTER
April 25, 2009

Bowman Gray Stadium had a first-time visitor in Tony Stewart last night, but no newcomer to the stadium's winner's circle.

Tim Brown, who won seven races as well as a seventh championship last year, picked up where he left off and pulled away to victory in the season-opening Tucson 200.

Brown won in front of close to a house at the 17,000-seat stadium, which included Stewart, who made a whistle stop to check out the action at the storied stadium before heading to Talladega for today's Sprint Cup race.

"This car was great," said Brown, who got his 45th career victory at Bowman Gray. "I'm not sure it wasn't the best piece I've ever brought to the stadium. It was hooked up all night."

So were a lot of cars -- literally -- in a 200-lap race filled with 11 caution periods, which resulted in numerous double-file restarts that contributed to significant attrition. A field that started with 21 cars was down to 10 for most of the second half of the race, and got as low as nine at one point.

"The double-file restart won't work because you've got people who will run you into the wall before they'll let you race with them," said Randy Butner, who started second and finished sixth. The double-file restart, in which drivers have the option to leave the typically preferred inside lane for a chance to gain position by moving up on the outside, was used in a limited number of races last year but is scheduled to be used more often this season.

"That cone deal, I hope it's exciting for the fans, because it sure is nerve wracking for the driver," said Brown, who spent much of the night fending off challengers on restarts.

Pole-winner Michael Clifton was an early casualty. He was sidelined on the 85th lap when Brent Elliott slammed into him heading into the first turn. Elliott said the throttle on his car hung.

"I lifted the accelerator and it wouldn't lift," Elliott said. "And it was the best car I've ever had in my life over here. Michael knows I didn't do it on purpose, some things are just unavoidable."

Burt Myers, who started third, dropped out in the 80th lap when his car's rear end went out. Junior Miller, who was to have started seventh, was the earliest dropout. He was sidelined on a parade lap after a Heim joint in his car's suspension broke.

"I would have liked to have gotten to race Junior and Burt and those guys, I know they had some bad luck, but a win is a win and it's a great way to start the season," Brown said.

Stewart will race at Talladega today, but made the trip with Modified competitor Bobby Hutchens, the competition director for Tony Stewart Racing, to see a race at Bowman Gray for the first time.

"We're doing the big track and the little track at the same time," Stewart said.

Hutchens wasn't initially planning on competing in last night's season opener, but logistics worked out and Stewart encouraged him to do it.

"Tony and I were talking Monday at the shop about him running at Paducah, Ky., Thursday night (in a Late Model dirt car) and Gastonia on Friday night (in a Sprint car)," Hutchens said. "He said he didn't have anywhere to run Saturday night. I told him if he wanted to run a Modified we'd go to the stadium. He said, I'm not going to run it but you can and we'll both go.' So here we are."

Stewart, who was lending Hutchens' crew a hand in the pits before the race, said: "Bobby watched me Thursday and Friday, so I'm watching him tonight."

Asked what he had heard about Bowman Gray Stadium, which began its 61st season of stock-car racing last night, Stewart said: "A little bit of everything."

Stewart and Hutchens left immediately after the race to fly to Talladega.

Stewart said he'd like to return someday and race on the stadium's tight and flat quarter-mile track, where NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series (then Grand National) competed until 1972.

"Oh yeah," Stewart said. "I like running everywhere, places I've never been to."

Robbie Brewer won a 40-lap race for the Sportsman Division, which featured a 26-car field. A total of 33 cars showed up, and seven failed to make the field after a round of qualifying.

Brewer took the lead from Keith McMichael with 11 laps left and held off runner-up Barry Edwards from there.

John McNeal won a 20-lap Street Stock race, and Michael Wells and A.J Sanders were the winners of two 15-lap Stadium Stock races.

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Bowman Gray results

TUCSON 200MODIFIED DIVISION: 200-LAP RACE

Driver (Hometown) Money

1. Tim Brown (Cana, Va.) $3150

2. Chris Fleming (Mount Airy) 1550

3. Alfred Hill (Jonesville) 1050

4. Jason Myers (Walnut Cove) 750

5. Jonathan Brown (Kernersville) 650

6. Randy Butner (Pfafftown) 600

7. Brad Robbins (Winston-Salem) 560

8. Lee Stimpson (Lewisville) 530

9. Mike Adams (Winston-Salem) 500

10. Stan Welborn (Germanton) 480

11. Gene Pack (Walkertown) 460

12. Michael Clifton (Walkertown) 1040

13. Kevin Powell (Winston-Salem) 420

14. Robert Jeffreys (Winston-Salem) 400

15. Bobby Hutchens (Lexington) 380

16. Lee Jeffreys (High Point) 360

17. Brent Elliott (Denton) 350

18. Burt Myers (Walnut Cove) 340

19. Terry Gaither (Walkertown) 330

20. Junior Miller (Danbury) 320

21. Jeremy Stoltz (Walkertown) 250

STREET STOCK DIVISION: 20-LAP RACE

Driver (Hometown) Money

1. John McNeal (Winston-Salem) $160

2. Joseph Brown (Winston-Salem) 110

3. Matt Cotner (Rural Hall) 80

4. Johnny Arnder (Mount Airy) 65

5. Doug Wall (Pfafftown) 55

6. Jerry Helms (Winston-Salem) 45

7. Reggie Doub (Germanton) 40

8. David Sumner (Trinity) 35

9. Ryan Nelson (Winston-Salem) 80

10. Zack Clifton (Walkertown) 25

11. Leon Hutchens (Winston-Salem) 25

12. Kevin Gilbert (Mocksville) 25

13. Daniel Fishel (Greensboro) 25

14. Richard Reeves (Cooleemee) 25

15. Michael Nichols (Trinity) 25

16. Tim Vaden (Kernersville) 25

17. Willie Wall (Winston-Salem) 20

18. K.J. Stimpson (Lewisville) 20

19. Donnie Martin (Wallburg) 20

20. Randy Larimore (Walkertown) 20

SPORTSMAN DIVISION: 40-LAP RACE

Driver (Hometown) Money

1. Robbie Brewer (Winston-Salem) $560

2. Barry Edwards (Pinnacle) 360

3. Scott Hall (Walkertown) 280

4. Gary Ledbetter (Lexington) 220

5. Kyle Edwards (King) 190

6. Tommy Neal (Walkertown) 170

7. Steven Berrier(Germanton) 150

8. Derek Stoltz (Walkertown) 130

9. Mike Evans (King) 110

10. Steve Truell (Midway) 100

11. Daniel Beeson (Kernersville) 90

12. David Adams (Yadkinville) 80

13. Taylor Branch (Lewisville) 70

14. Chad Brooks (Winston-Salem) 60

15. Mitch Gales (Lexington) 50

16. Kenny Bost (Kernersville) 50

17. Keith McMichael (Belews Creek) 50

18. Bryant Robertson (Lexington) 50

19. Michael Adams (Yadkinville) 50

20. Ronnie Barron (Lexington) 50

21. Brad Smith (Winston-Salem) 50

22. Jeff Garrison (Winston-Salem) 50

23. Ronnie Clifton (Walkertown) 125

24. John Gregg (Winston-Salem) 50

STADIUM STOCK DIVISION: FIRST 15-LAP RACE

Driver (Hometown) Money

1. Michael Wells (Yadkinville) $105

2. Wayne Hill (Kernersville) 80

3. Jimmy Absher (Rural Hall) 55

4. Randy McElveen (Winston-Salem) 45

5. Paul Wark (Winston-Salem) 40

6. D.J. Moore (Germanton) 35

7. Kevin L. Neal (Walkertown) 30

8. Gary Brewer (Germanton) 30

9. Derek Taylor (Yadkinville) 30

10. Ted Mickalowski (Mocksville) 25

11. T.J. Cox (Winston-Salem) 25

12. Billy Cameron Jr. (Salisbury) 25

13. Gerald Robertson (Germanton) 25

14. Chris Allison (Mocksville) 20

15. Jason Keaton (Mocksville) 20

16. Andrew Sanders (Mocksville) 20

17. Roger Vogler (Winston-Salem) 20

18. Jordan Fleming (Mount Airy) 20

19. James Allison (Mocksville) 20

20. Bobby Yountz (Clemmons) 20

21. Brandon Crotts (King) 20

22. William Chilton (Eden) 20

STADIUM STOCK DIVISION: SECOND 15-LAP RACE

Driver (Hometown) Money

1. A.J. Sanders (Mocksville) $105

2. Kenny Dixon (Pfafftown) 80

3. Rob Young (Winston-Salem) 55

4. Glenn Hamilton (Winston-Salem) 45

5. Dale Barneycastle (Mocksville) 40

6. Matt Hill (Yadkinville) 35

7. Adam Baker (Winston-Salem) 30

8. Steve Smith (Kannapolis) 30

9. Kevin C. Neal (Danbury) 30

10. Robert Mabe (Winston-Salem) 25

11. K.C. Myers (Lexington) 25

12. Kevin Hedgecock (Thomasville) 25

13. Ray Forrest (Winston-Salem) 25

14. David Hopkins (Winston-Salem) 20

15. Rodney Sears (Lexington) 20

16. April Myers (Lexington) 20

17. Phillip Wright (King) 20

18. Matt Brelsford (Salisbury) 20

19. A.J. Quakenbush (Winston-Salem) 20

20. Steve Myers (Pfafftown) 20

21. Johnny Burke (Midway) 20

22. Jason Asbury (King) 20

23. Donna Rash (Clemmons 20

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