WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Danny Bohn moved from New Jersey to North Carolina six years ago, and ventured into Bowman Gray Stadium to watch a Modified race, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.
“I remember sitting there in turn two thinking, ‘Man, I’d like to race here someday,’” Bohn said.
He made his wish a reality, bringing his Modified car to the stadium in 2011. He won on his third attempt.
Now, he is Bowman Gray Stadium champion.
Bohn won last night’s season-ending Carolina Farm Credit 150, and wound up finishing far enough ahead of Lee Jeffreys to claim his first Bowman Gray title.
“When I first came here to race, I wouldn’t have imagined this in a million years,” Bohn said. “This is unbelievable. It’s been a Myers or Brown for years. I honestly still can’t believe it.”
It was also a sweet moment for Bohn’s car owner, Melvin “Puddin’” Swisher. The veteran racer from Kernersville, who won 26 times at Bowman Gray before retiring as a driver, said it was special to see his staple red-and-yellow No. 53 in the winner’s circle.
He had approached Bohn last year to drive for him.
“He’s young, and he’s good,” Swisher said. “He’s a champion now.”
Bohn took the lead in the 80th lap after leader Tim Brown — who returned to race for the first time since being penalized for his part in a July 19 skirmish with Burt Myers — got caught behind a lapped car. Bohn led the rest of the way.
“I just caught lapped cars and went the wrong way,” said Brown, who had started from the pole as result of his division-best fifth qualifying victory of the season. “They checked up, held me up and I got beat. We were faster than Danny there at the end, but he’s racing for a championship. Second’s not what I wanted.”
Bohn had to wait out a 45-minute rain delay to run the race’s final three laps. Just before raindrops began to fall, Jonathan Brown, driving Bohn’s backup car, sent title-contender Jason Myers spinning from the third position to out of the top 10. Burt Myers then spun Jonathan Brown.
Bohn said that it wasn’t planned for Jonathan Brown to dump Jason Myers, and that his victory would have clinched the championship regardless.
“I needed the car (that Jonathan Brown drove) in case mine broke in practice,” Bohn said. “He paid for the tires, he paid for the fuel. It was just another car on the race track.”
Jeffreys, who entered as the points leader and needed to finish no more than three spots behind Jason Myers or Bohn, lost ground early and wound up sixth. But Jeffreys protested the finish, saying that he should have been sixth for the final restart instead of eighth, and that would have resulted in a fourth-place finish, high enough to win his first title.
“(Burt Myers and Jonathan Brown) were turned around on the racetrack and I passed them, but they put them back in front of me,” Jeffreys said. “That’s not right.”
In the end, Bohn celebrated. He won a crate-Modified title in 2006 and ’07 at Wall Stadium in New Jersey, and won a dirt Modified title in 2009 at East Lincoln Speedway.
“This one was huge,” Bohn said. “I never would have imagined.”
Taylor Branch won his first Sportsman Division title, after Ryan Robertson was disqualified when his car failed a post-race technical inspection. Chase Hunt, 17, not only won rookie of the year but also a Street Stock title. Chuck Wall won his second straight Stadium Stock title.
Zack Clifton led all the way in a 40-lap Sportsman race, but had to hold off Michael Tilley in a dash to the finish to register his fourth victory of the season. Branch finished third.
Robertson bumped his way past two cars in the closing laps to secure a sixth-place finish, which would have been good enough to wrap up the Sportsman title. But he was disqualified for an illegal carburetor, bumping Branch to the top of final standings.
David Creed was declared the winner of a 20-lap Street Stock race after first-place finisher Reggie Doub’s car failed a post-race inspection. A.J. Sanders won his sixth Stadium Stock race of the season.