Five Things To Watch: Brown Still Searching For First Title
By Tim Southers, NASCAR
March 16, 2009
A rainy weekend pushed back the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modifiued Tour's opener a week. The 2009 season will now start at Concord (N.C.) Speedway – one of several new venues for the tour in 2009.
As the green flag sets to drop on the fifth season, here are five things to keep an eye on:
He is the most successful driver in the history of the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour who has yet to claim a title. Will 2009 be the year he finally gets to celebrate a championship? Only time will tell but based on his performance over the past three seasons, Brown will definitely be one to watch.
The Winston-Salem, NC driver has finished second three years in a row in the final points standings and has missed winning a title by an average of just 20 points per season – with his closest finishing being six points behind Junior Miller in 2006. Brown is in the top three in many career statistical categories. He is tied for second in career wins (five), second in career Coors Light Pole Awards (eight) and tied for first in all-time starts (47).
Brown will be a contender all season long in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour.
NEW FACES - NEW PLACES
The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour will hold 16 events in 2009, highlighted by visits to new venues for the southern-based drivers.
Concord Speedway will host its first race on Saturday, March 21 and the unique track will offer a new set of challenges for the drivers. The track is a tri-oval that will feature some of the fastest speeds the drivers will reach all season long.
Myrtle Beach Speedway will also host a NWSMT event over Labor Day weekend welcoming the Tour for the first time. The track is a big half-mile facility that will offer plenty of side by side racing.
Bristol Motor Speedway will host a combination event for both the NASCAR Whelen Southern and NASCAR Whelen Modified Tours. The August 19 race will mark the first time the Modifieds tackle the Bristol high banks.
South Boston will also host the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour for the first time in 2009. The track, owned by the Mattioli family that also owns Pocono Raceway, hosted the NASCAR Whelen Modifieds earlier this decade.
Since the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour began competition in 2005, the name Myers has been mentioned at every race. Burt and younger brother Jason are two names fans expect to hear and see at every race and this year the brothers will once again return to the Tour.
Last season was the first year Burt didn't finish in the top 10 in the final point standings while Jason finished in the top five for the first time. Burt holds the record for the most Coors Light Pole Awards on the Tour with 17 and has won five races throughout his career. Jason has one career win and shares the record for most career starts (47).
CAN THIS BE THE YEAR?
The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour has seen the level of competition improve every year and 2009 appears to be no exception. While the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour has the history and many veterans who have competed longer on the Tour than some Southern drivers have been alive, the Southern drivers are ready to challenge the Northern drivers in the companion events.
L. W. Miller scored the highest finish at Martinsville by a NWSMT regular competitor when he finished third in 2007. This year the two Tours will have two companion events. They will make their annual visit to Martinsville and a first visit to Bristol Motor Speedway.
CAN LOFTIN REPEAT?
Brian Loftin will attempt to become the first repeat champion of the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour since Junior Miller won back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006. Judging by his performance at Caraway Speedway last year and the fact that the Asheboro, N.C., facility will host seven races in 2009, he could very well be in command of the point standings by the time the Tour holds its season-ending event at Caraway in early October.
Loftin won three of the six races at the speedway last season and finished no lower than third in the other three races. Loftin said that if a driver can run well at Caraway and stay out of trouble at the other tracks you should always have a shot at the championship. Loftin hopes his domination at Caraway continues this season.
For more information, contact:
Tim Southers , NASCAR Public Relations, ( 386 ) 235-3634 or tsouthers @nascar.com