For the past 18 years, Tim Brown, Burt Myers or Junior Miller have emerged with Bowman Gray Stadium’s modified championship, but this year the Bohn family upset the veterans that made the 2010 History Channel TV show “MadHouse” popular.
Mooresville’s Danny Bohn won the Carolina Farm Credit 150 season finale and the Winston-Salem track’s modified championship for his first title at the historic facility. His father, Eddie, was voted Modified Crew Chief of the Year by fellow competitors, and Danny’s older brother, Michael, collected rookie honors in the division.
It also was the first track championship for veteran car owner and Kernersville resident Melvin “Puddin’” Swisher, who hooked up with Danny last year.
“This is the biggest thing I’ve ever done with my career,” the 26-year-old New Jersey native said about his Bowman Gray modified championship. “With the history of the race track, the names and the drivers that have raced there and won there, just to put my name with them is pretty awesome. It was a night I will never forget.
“My Facebook, phone and Twitter have just been blowing up the last few days. There were probably six or seven people that came down from New Jersey, just fans that used to go to Wall Stadium, to watch the last night because of the points battle and because I was in it. They all came down to victory lane. It was just an awesome night.”
Bohn entered the Aug. 23 Bowman Gray season finale third in the standings. Lee Jeffreys led the points and Jason Myers was second, a single point ahead of Bohn.
Jeffreys needed a top-four finish to secure the championship, but once the race started he faded through the field. He eventually managed a sixth-place finish in the race that had about a 40-minute rain delay.
That resulted in Bohn defeating Jeffreys by a mere six points for the title. Jason Myers placed third in the standings due to his 11th-place finish in the race.
“That was one of the most exciting nights I’ve probably had in racing other than a few times we won some big races up North; definitely the most exciting night in a long time,” said Danny’s father, Eddie, a former modified driver.
“We had four laps to go and it’s raining. They pull us into the pits and we’re leading. I had four or five people come up to me and say, ‘Danny’s not going to win because somebody’s going to take him out.’ So I had my fingernails bit off up to my knuckles during that rain delay. When they did drop the green, everything went smooth. Nobody did anything. It’s pretty sweet to do what we did.”
Bohn, who won a NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour event at Bowman Gray in early August and two weekly series events at the track, said he wasn’t nervous during the rain delay; he just tried to remain focused on his job.
“You hear stories that people are going to wait on you and people are going to try and wreck you on the last lap,” said Bohn, a third generation driver. “Then you’ve got people trying to congratulate you before it’s even over, so I just walked away and stood there by myself. I knew I had a good car and if nothing stupid happened I’d be able to win the race. I knew we had the championship if I could win the race.”
Finding a way to keep his emotions in check the week before the season finale wasn’t a problem for Bohn, who works full-time with his father at Ray Evernham Enterprises. His car was damaged in a wreck at Bowman Gray the week before the season finale. Some repair work was done before Bohn left on Tuesday morning for the Aug. 20 modified race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
He returned to his full-time job the Thursday morning after the Wednesday night Bristol race. After getting off work at Ray Evernham Enterprises on Thursday, Danny unloaded his modified and equipment at his shop that night. On Friday, the day before the season finale, the Swisher-owned car was transported from Kernersville to Mooresville so the Bohns could work on it.
The father-son duo worked on the car until about midnight Friday. It was returned to Kernersville that night and then taken to Bowman Gray on Saturday.
“It’s a 1998 Troyer car,” said Eddie, who admitted penalties assessed Brown and Burt Myers during the season gave them the opportunity to have a shot at the title. “It’s just old and there’s not a straight part on it. Three or four weeks ago Danny put one of his rear (ends) in the car because the rear kept breaking. When the motor broke, he (Swisher) didn’t have a spare. It was going to be four weeks to get pistons.”
That’s when the Bohns acquired an engine once used by Burt Myers. The engine had been sitting on the floor at a shop for four years.
“We ran it the last three weeks,” Eddie said. “It was hard work, dedication and commitment (that won this championship).”
Danny, who moved to North Carolina from Freehold, N.J., at age 18, will now focus on NASCAR’s Southern Whelen Modified Tour. The two-time Wall (N.J.) Stadium Affordable Modified track champion was fourth in the Southern Whelen Modified Tour standings, 34 points behind leader Andy Seuss, with seven races remaining.
The tour’s season finale is Oct. 9 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Brimecombe takes standings lead
Concord’s Joshua Brimecombe has taken the lead in the national Semi-Pro Asphalt Legend standings.
Brimecombe had a 108-point lead over Connecticut’s John O’Sullivan III on Aug. 26. Two other North Carolina drivers also were in the top 10: Concord’s Riley Halverson was seventh and Mooresville’s Casey Brown was ninth. No other state had three drivers in the standings’ top 10.
Sprint Cars return to East Lincoln
The Carolina RaceSaver Sprint Car Series returns to East Lincoln Speedway Sept. 6. Also scheduled for that night are races for the Stock 4, Super Stock 4 and Renegade divisions, and the Dave Watts Memorial for Limited Sportsman.
Racing joins Iredell County Fair activities
In racing’s infancy years, the sport often was a part of county and state fair activities. This year, it returns to its roots at the Iredell County Fair.
Lawn mower races are scheduled for Sept. 1 with the Outlaw Karts set for Sept. 3-5. The Outlaw Karts race weekly at Salisbury’s Millbridge Speedway.
Sessoms closes on Mangum
Jay Sessoms’ Aug. 22 victory in the Late Model Division at Carolina Speedway allowed the Stanley resident to close within three points of standings leader Timbo Mangum, from Lancaster, S.C. Mangum finished second in the event, while Tim Allen of Kannapolis took third.
Mooresville’s Robbie Bailey placed fourth and Charlotte’s Kenny Rominger Jr. rounded out the top five.
In the UMP Modified Division, Gastonia native Patrick Lyon collected his second victory of 2014. Lincolnton’s Matt Emmerling finished second and veteran NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace, of Concord, took third.
Another victory for Venturini Motorsports
Justin Boston piloted his Venturini Motorsports Toyota to his second ARCA victory this season in the Aug. 24 Herr’s Live Life with Flavor 200 at Madison (Wis.) International Speedway.
Boston took the lead for the Concord-based team on lap 171 when leader Grant Enfinger experienced mechanical failure in his car and stopped on the track. That brought out the event’s final yellow flag. On the restart, point leader Mason Mitchell led the field entering the first turn. However, his car suffered electrical issues exiting turn two and Boston took the lead for good.