REVIEW: ONE OF THE BEST EVER
Competitive This Season
2010 season was a memorable one for the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified
Tour. Two drivers ended long non-winning streaks while another came on the
scene and quickly let everyone know he was going to be a contender all
season long. While those three were getting headlines, one driver won in
dominating fashion not once, but twice, and another celebrated the taste of
victory for the first time. All in all, it was a great year of competition
and stories for NASCAR’s only southern-based Touring Series division.
Who would’ve guessed …
Tim Brown is no stranger to winning races and competing for championships on
the Whelen Southern Modified Tour, but how he picked up his first win since
2008 was the story. Brown, who opened the season driving a car owned by his
brother, Ben, returned to Victory Lane for his sixth career win driving for
someone else. Brown was asked by veteran car owner Tommy Lythgoe to drive
his car after Buddy Emory stepped out from behind the wheel during the
summer. It didn’t take long for Brown and Lythgoe to mesh as the pairing won
in its fourth start together at Langley Speedway on September 4.
There were many “feel good” stories, but one that stood out was John Smith’s
first career win in Whelen Southern Modified Tour competition at Caraway
Speedway on July 2. Smith held off a determined L.W. Miller to get the win
in a wild green-white-checkered finish in his 44th career start on the tour.
Smith’s previous best finish was second, also at Caraway, in the 2009 season
finale to points champion George Brunnhoelzl III.
Total domination …
Although he wasn’t the first to win a race leading every lap from start to
finish, Andy Seuss became the first driver to do so since Junior Miller
accomplished the feat twice in 2006 during his second championship season.
Seuss did become the first driver to do it twice at the same track as he won
the spring and fall races at Caraway Speedway. Seuss now has eight career
wins in the tour.
One tough challenger …
Although he came up just short of becoming the first driver since Junior
Miller to win multiple Whelen Southern Modified Tour championships, L.W.
Miller enjoyed somewhat of a resurgence in 2010. The 2007 champion returned
to Victory Lane for his first win since 2008, and did it at a track he
admittedly said wasn’t one of his best, Bowman Gray Stadium. Miller also
finished second four times, which was more than any other driver on the
tour. Miller also tied for the most Top-10 showings with nine.
You know him now …
No stranger to modified racing, James Civali made a name for himself in the
Whelen Southern Modified Tour in 2010. Although the driver from Meriden,
Conn., had already enjoyed success in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, he
decided to take up the offer from Roger and Sandra Hill to drive one of
their team cars full-time on the Southern Tour this year. The decision
quickly produced dividends for both parties. Civali began the year with the
Coors Light Pole in his first start at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He would
capture his first checkered flag in his third start at South Boston Speedway
on April 3. Civali would either lead the standings or sit in the top three
the rest of the season to challenge for the championship until he ran into
problems at the season-ending race.
Big time audience …
For the first time in the six-year history of the Whelen Southern Modified
Tour, a majority of the races were televised giving the young tour its
broadest and best television coverage ever. SPEED and VERSUS combined to
televise the Southern Modifieds to audiences throughout the United States
for the first time.
New venues …
As the Whelen Southern Modified Tour continues to grow in exposure and
popularity, new venues are hosting events every season and 2010 was no
exception. Tracks that normally have been known for hosting NASCAR’s
national series (Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck) decided to
bring the open-wheeled chariots to their facilities. Atlanta Motor Speedway
and one of its sister tracks, Charlotte Motor Speedway, hosted the
season-opening and season-ending races. Langley Speedway and Tri-County
Motor Speedway were two NASCAR Whelen All-American tracks that also hosted
events for the first time in 2010.
New description needed …
When describing Burt Myers, it was often noted that he was the most
decorated driver in the history of the Whelen Southern Modified Tour to not
have a championship to his credit. After Myers recorded back-to-back wins to
end the season, combined with some help from other contenders’ bad luck in
the season finale at Charlotte, Myers will need a new description in 2011
after the veteran captured his first tour title. Myers also holds the record
for the most career Coors Light Poles on the tour with 23.
Numerous winners …
2010 proved to be one of the most competitive in the history of the tour
with seven different race winners in 10 events. Andy Seuss, James Civali and
Burt Myers were the only drivers to win multiple races. John Smith, L.W.
Miller, Tim Brown and Corey LaJoie were the other race winners this season.
Source: Timothy Southers / NASCAR