ASHEBORO , N.C. (Sept. 24, 2005) – Brian Loftin won the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified 150 Saturday night at Caraway Speedway, his second win of the season which came in the Whelen Southern Modified Tour's sixth and final 2005 visit to the Asheboro, N.C. track. Junior Miller finished second, followed by Burt Myers, Brian Pack and Jason Myers in fifth place.
“It feels great to be back in victory lane,” Loftin said. “After the last race we were struggling badly; we went back and put our heads together and worked on this car really hard.”
For the fourth time this season, Jay Hedgecock won the Bud Pole award, with a fast qualifying lap of 16.226 seconds (100.949 mph) around the .455-mile track. Hedgecock and the rest of the top six qualifiers re-drew for their starting positions, relegating Hedgecock to a fifth-place starting spot while Miller, the Tour's championship points leader, led the field to the green flag. Miller's closest point challenger, Burt Myers, lined up on the outside of the first row.
Myers quickly dropped back to fifth in the opening laps, to allow Michael Clifton, Hedgecock and Loftin room to battle for the top four spots. Miller would soon relinquish his own up-front position, as Hedgecock passed him for the lead on the 18 th lap.
By the 50 th lap, Hedgecock was still in firm command of the race lead while Miller, Loftin, Clifton and Tim Brown also kept their cars in the top five. The field was slowed for a brief caution period 10 laps later and Hedgecock held off Miller to maintain his lead when the race was restarted.
After another caution period, Hedgecock was still in the lead as the race entered its final 50 laps. Brown had dropped further back after making a pit stop, placing Myers back into the top five. Loftin charged past Miller for the second position, just as the race was brought under its fifth caution period of the night on lap 107.
Things soon took a turn for the worse for Hedgecock, who seemed to be closing in on his first win of the season. When another caution period came out on lap 134, Hedgecock's night was over. The High Point , N.C. driver came into the pits with engine trouble, ending his race prematurely. Hedgecock's bad luck placed Loftin into the lead with Miller, Myers, Brian Pack and Jason Myers trailing.
“I hate for that to happen to Jay,” Loftin said. “I think we were pretty even and I think it would've been a pretty good dogfight. We kind of missed out on that one, but hopefully the fans got a good show anyway.”
Loftin held off a hard-charging Miller over the final laps, to earn the victory and $1,925 in prize money. With his second-place result, Miller extended his points lead, to a 24-point margin (1,612-1,588) over Burt Myers.
The Whelen Southern Modified Tour returns to action Oct. 1 at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford , Va.
NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified 150
Caraway Speedway September 24, 2005
Time of Race: 52 mins, 59 secs
Average Speed: 77.288 mph
Margin of Victory: 0.5 seconds
BUD POLE AWARD: Jay Hedgecock, 41 Kernersville Motorsports Dodge
FEATHERLITE MOST IMPROVED DRIVER AWARD: Brian Loftin, 23 L&R Transmissions Chevrolet
POWERADE POWER MOVE OF THE RACE AWARD: Brian Pack, 81 Mends Graphics Pontiac
Caution Flags: Laps 61-65; 67-70; 82-84; 89-90; 107-108; 135-141. 6 caution for 23 laps.
Lap Leaders: Junior Miller 1-18, Jay Hedgecock 19-133, Brian Loftin 134-150.
Total Laps Led: Jay Hedgecock 115, Junior Miller 18, Brian Loftin 17. 2 lead changes involving 3 drivers.
Top 10 Driver Points: Junior Miller 1612, Burt Myers 1588, Brian Loftin 1494, Tim Brown 1460, Michael Clifton 1454, Jay Foley 1423, Jay Hedgecock 1391, Frank Fleming 1330, Bobby Hutchens 1317, Gene Pack 1306