Bohn family tradition of modified racing continues in Mooresville

For three generations, modified racing and the Bohn family have been synonymous.

The relationship began at Wall Stadium Speedway in Wall Township, N.J., with Parker Bohn, continued with his son Eddie, and has now migrated to North Carolina with grandson, Danny.

Since moving in March 2008 to the Tar Heel state from Freehold in the Garden State, Danny has won a dirt modified championship at East Lincoln Speedway and been victorious in modified races at Carolina Speedway in Gastonia, East Lincoln Speedway and Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem.

In 2012, the Mooresville resident made his debut on NASCAR’s Whelen Southern Modified Tour and earned the series’ rookie title with a second-place finish in the standings. He also captured a victory at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro and was named the series’ most popular driver.

“Probably, 2012 was my best season racing,” Danny said.

This year, after four point races in the Whelen Southern Modified Series, the third-generation driver is seventh in the standings. He’s also tied with Frank Fleming for seventh in Bowman Gray’s Modified standings.

“My luck has changed for some reason and I don’t know what it is,” Danny said. “It’s been frustrating in a way. At Daytona last year in the Battle at the Beach, I flipped over and caught fire. Then I wrecked in the first points race. It’s just been a struggle since then, but you can’t give up.”

Danny, 25, hopes his current slump ends soon, but having grown up around racing he knows there are a lot of peaks and valleys in the sport. And his career began on the mountain top.

The congenial driver began racing a Bandolero at Wall in 2003 and the following season captured the track championship, winning 13 of 16 races.

Soon after the 2004 season ended, the Bohn family turned to a car Eddie had built in 1991 and raced during that decade. It had sat in a garage for about 10 years, but was resurrected for Danny when Wall created a new division for modifieds with crate engines. Known as the Modified Affordable Division, it marked Danny’s asphalt debut in the high-powered machines.

In Danny’s inaugural modified season, he won the 2006 track championship in Wall’s new division. That same year he traveled to Concord to compete in the North-South Shootout and left victorious in the SK Light Modified Division. He returned home, entered the Turkey Derby, which is a big Thanksgiving weekend race at Wall, and won that event.

“In 2007, I ran the same division (Modified Affordable) and won the track championship again,” Danny said. “I actually ran a couple of races for a guy in a SK Modified at Wall and the third night I drove that guy’s car I won.”

At age 18, Danny decided to move to North Carolina.

“I wanted to try to make a racing career and, obviously, North Carolina is the place to try to do that,” Danny said. “I thought I had the talent to do it. I didn’t have a job. I didn’t have any plans to race. I just wanted to get in the area and, fortunately, it’s worked out pretty well.”

In addition to racing modifieds, Danny works as a mechanic and fabricator at Mooresville-based Ray Evernham Enterprises.

“Modifieds are expensive, but it’s through NASCAR so you’re still getting your name out there, people are still recognizing you,” Danny said. “It’s somewhat affordable. You can still have a full-time job and do it after hours.”

Danny works on his modifieds until about 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. after leaving his job at Evernham. He also drives for Melvin “Puddin’” Swisher at Bowman Gray.

“Ray has been a strong supporter of my racing,” said Danny, who housed his modifieds at Evernham’s facility until recently, when he moved them to a building near the Mooresville Dragway. “If it wasn’t for him and everything he’s done for me, between helping me out with sponsorship and letting me keep my cars at his shop, I wouldn’t have been able to do any of it.”

Danny races Swisher’s modified on Saturday nights at Bowman Gray. His next NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour event is July 4 at Caraway Speedway.

Snider closing in on point leader

Less than a month ago, Belmont resident Myatt Snider and his team were considering sitting out some race weekends. A new car was being prepared and they thought it might be best to wait for it. However, they reconsidered when they looked at the Late Model standings at Southern National Motorsports Park.

Snider hadn’t missed any late model races at the Kenly, N.C., track despite an early season crash and blown engine that sidelined him for several weeks. He decided to keep racing with his old car. The 19-year-old driver’s persistence paid off as after seven races at Southern National he found himself second in the standings, 44 points behind Tommy Lemons.

Suarez leads Mexico Toyota Series

Mooresville resident Daniel Suarez continues to lead the standings in NASCAR’s Mexico Toyota Series. After six of the 15 races scheduled this season, Suarez had a 14-point lead over Antonio Perez.

In NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series East, Suarez is third in the standings, just four points behind second place Gray Gaulding. Ben Rhodes, who won last weekend at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, has a comfortable 49-point lead over Gaulding.

Suarez finished second to Rhodes in that event. The series next race is June 13 at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla.

GoPro begins summer rental league

Mooresville’s GoPro Motorplex has started its five-week summer rental league. The league will run through July 2 with races each Wednesday night.

The series consists of an eight-minute qualifying session and three 10-lap races. The winner of each race receives a $25 Sunoco gas station gift card. Points are awarded with a champion crowned in each division at the series conclusion.