WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A full moon hovered over Bowman Gray Stadium, and that meant plenty of unpredictable happenings in the 100-lap Modified Division race on Saturday night, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.
As Dean Ward climbed out of his No. 71 car after getting his first win in nearly two years, he was a little shell-shocked. “I’m really not sure how that happened,” Ward, 48, said. “I’m old and fat and I’m usually at 95 percent out here — but tonight, we got it done.”
Dean, who started third, had to endure six caution flags and the double-file restarts but held on to beat the hard-charging Jason Myers and Tim Brown, who finished third and overtook Burt Myers for the points lead.
Burt Myers, who started way back of the field in 19th place because of the blind draw to determine the starting order, was making a big run to the front, running fifth on lap 95, when Junior Miller came calling. Perhaps it was the full moon — or, more likely the grudge Burt Myers and Miller have carried over from previous races — but the two drivers soon tangled.
Miller said afterward he had brake problems, but Myers saw it differently.
“The only way No. 69 (Miller) can catch me is if he waits on me and that’s what he did,” Myers said. “So I put an end to it before he could do something about it.”
Miller said: “I just had a brake problem and I was running slow and he wrecked me. I just tried to wreck him back.”
After their initial wreck, the two drivers played a game of cat-and-mouse all over the infield before Miller ducked into the pits; he didn’t return to the race. Myers also went to the pits to get a flat tire fixed and he came back out to finish the race.
Miller said: “It’s not over. This will carry over.”
Meanwhile, Ward said he didn’t really pay attention to what was going on behind him, other than Jason Myers and Brown, along with Danny Bohn, breathing down his neck.
Ward said there’s only one thing he had to worry about in a 100-lapper.
“I just have to worry about me being old,” he joked.
Ward wasn’t worried about the full moon because he’s felt like he’s been snake-bitten all year.
“We’ve really had some bad luck with a blown motor (two weeks ago) that put us $30,000 in the hole but we got it back together with a lot of help by the people who love me,” Ward said. “So to come back like this is very gratifying.”
After the second caution, Ward took the lead and never gave it up, even when he was tapped from behind in turn four on lap 56. Ward nearly lost it coming out of the turn but held it together and continued in front.
“As far as I’m concerned, I was happy,” Ward said when asked about the Myers-Miller feud. “I don’t like it when guys get tore up so I don’t wish that on anybody.”
Jason Myers said the key to his second-place finish was making the right choices on the double-file restarts.
“You have to do your passing on those and we found the right spaces,” Jason Myers said.
Jason Myers said Ward had a good racecar and did what he had to do to stay in front.
“I thought we might have been a little faster but the fastest car doesn’t always win,” Jason Myers said. “Once I got to third I thought if we could get two more restarts but we didn’t get those. I wasn’t going to wreck him and he’s a class act so I wasn’t going to wreck him to win.”
When Burt Myers came back on the track he had to dodge plenty of thrown bottles and cans from fans, who were warned not to throw anything on the track.
Burt Myers said he wasn’t concerned about giving up the points lead. He made a great run to get back up into contention.
“That’s what real racers do, they pass people to get to the front,” Burt Myers said. “I don’t care about points right now. I just took care of business tonight and we have however more weeks to go to worry about the points.”
Winning the 20-lap Street Stock division race was Darren Cotner, who started on the front row with Austin Edwards. Cotner took the lead early and held on through five caution flags. It was Cotner’s first victory of the season.
John Holleman, who was on the front row for the first 20-lap Sportsman Division, won easily with Zach Ore finishing second. Michael Tilley won the second Sportsman Division race.
Jason Keaton got his first win of the season in the first 15-lap Stadium Stock race, with Andy Southern winning the second race in that division.