Loftin Ready To Begin Title Defense At Caraway
By Tim Southers, NASCAR
March 11, 2009
Some of the best drivers in the country are ready to help kick off the fifth season of the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modifieds this weekend at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C.
The oldest touring series in NASCAR decided in 2005 to create a southern division of the popular cars that have been a fixture in the Northeast for over fifty years and the popularity of the NWSMT continues to grow every year.
In fact, the popularity has grown to the point that the NWSMT will feature a 16-race schedule in 2009 that is the most ambitious yet and largest of any NASCAR Touring Series. The Tour will visit a total of nine tracks in five states during the season with Caraway hosting the most events seven.
Lexington, N.C., driver Brian Loftin will attempt to become the first repeat champion since veteran Junior Miller won the first two titles in 2005 & 2006 with a follow-up to his 2008 championship.
Loftin, who won four races en route to his championship last season, has won at Caraway Speedway and feels getting a good start and hitting the right setup there could be the key to another championship.
I think every driver in the NWSMT loves Caraway Speedway, said Loftin. We know the track so well from running there so much, and if you can hit the right setup and find the fast way around that track, it can really help you in the point standings since we race there several times. I know it helped me get my title last year.
In the six races held at Caraway last season Loftin didn't finish lower than third, capturing two wins and two second-place finishes. Loftin also holds the track qualifying record at Caraway and looks forward to getting a good start in defending his crown.
The level of competition has really improved in the NWSMT since 2005 and on any given night there are probably 12-15 drivers who can win at Caraway, so we have to be ready when we get there (this weekend).
Some of the other drivers Loftin feels are ready to contend for a win at Caraway include Tim Brown and L.W. Miller.
Brown won two races last year and Miller shares the record for most wins at the track with Loftin at six with a win in last year's season-opener at the track.
The event will be a two-day show with practice and qualifying scheduled for this Saturday afternoon, March 14, and the Spring Classic 150 for the NWSMT set to take the green flag Sunday afternoon, March 15 at 2 p.m. For more information on the race, please contact Caraway Speedway at (336) 629-5803.
The Race: Spring Classic 150
The Place: Caraway Speedway, Asheboro, N.C.
The Date: Sunday, March 15, 2009
The Time: 2 p.m. ET
Track Layout: .455-mile paved
Race Purse: $24,806
2008 Winner: L.W. Miller
2008 Pole: Tim Brown
Schedule: Saturday, March 14: Practice 1-1:45 p.m. Time Trials 4:30 p.m.
Track Contact: Renee Hackett , (336) 629-5803 firstname.lastname@example.org
NASCAR Contact: Tim Southers , (386) 235-3634 email@example.com
News & Notes
The race The Spring Classic 150 is the first race of a 16-event schedule on the 2009 NASCAR schedule. It is the first of seven series visits to the Asheboro, N.C., oval.
The procedure The starting field is 26 cars, including provisionals. The first 24 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials. The remaining four spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 150 laps (68.25 miles).
The track Caraway Speedway is a 455-mile paved oval and is considered the Home track of the southern division of the modifieds. The track has hosted 23 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour events, dating back to March of 2005.
The records Qualifying: Brian Loftin, Sept. 22, 2007, 103.783 mph, 15.783 seconds; Race: Junior Miller, Sept. 9, 2006, 90.977 mph, 44 minutes 30 seconds.
Caraway winners Brian Loftin and L.W. Miller lead all winners at Caraway Speedway with six victories, respectively.
Other Caraway winners NASCAR veteran Junior Miller has won five times at Caraway while Tim Brown has won twice at Caraway. Defending NASCAR Whelen Modified champion Ted Christopher has won twice at Caraway in 2005 and 2006.
Ragan To Make Modified Debut During Sprint Cup Open Weekend
While some of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers are taking this weekend off to rest and relax, David Ragan is going to keep racing.
Ragan, driver of the No. 6 UPS Ford for Roush Fenway Racing, has entered to run the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour season opener Sunday, March 15 at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C. Ragan will drive for Darrel Krentz's No. 15 in the Spring Classic 150.
The opportunity to race this weekend at Caraway came up and with a rare off-weekend for both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series, I decided it would be a lot of fun, Ragan said. I've never driven a Modified, so I figured it would certainly be something interesting and fun to go do.
For Ragan, who grew up racing stock cars, this is a unique opportunity to race an open-wheel car.
I've run several late model races at Caraway Speedway over the years, but never a Modified race, Ragan said. It's the first race of the season there, so it should be a fun event.. Ragan is currently 22nd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings. The 23-year-old enjoyed a breakout year in 2008, finishing 13th and nearly qualifying for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Brown Looks To Pick Up Where He Finished Off
Tim Brown, from Winston-Salem, N.C., has finished second in the season-ending points standings for the past three years. Brown has five career wins in the NWSMT and has won twice at Caraway Speedway. Brown has also won the Coors Light Pole five times at Caraway Speedway.
Brown won back-to-back races at Caraway Speedway in September of last season and finished just 30 points behind Brian Loftin for the 2008 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour championship. Brown is second only to Burt Myers in career Coors Light Pole Awards won in competition. Brown has collected eight career pole awards.
NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Drivers Reach Out To Fans Before Race Events
Fans of the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour will have an opportunity to meet the stars of the popular touring series.
Fans will be encouraged to come out prior to every NWSMT race this season to have an opportunity to meet the competitors of the Tour and get an autograph or picture taken prior to most of the races on the 16-event schedule in 2009.
Drivers will be available before the start of the race to meet the fans and sign autographs. This weekend at Caraway Speedway, drivers will meet the fans at 1 p.m. for the autograph session prior to the Spring Classic 150 NWSMT race that is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.
One of the things I enjoy most about our series is the fact that we have the opportunity to get so close to our fans and meet many of them during the year, said 2008 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion Brian Loftin.
We have a great series and we appreciate all the fans who spend their hard-earned money to come out and watch us compete and I know we, as drivers, work hard to give them a great show every time we get on the track. This weekend should be no exception.
The Spring Classic 150 also will be a unique show for the Modifieds as it will be one of the few two-day shows on the 2009 schedule. Practice and qualifying will take place on Saturday afternoon and the race will take place on Sunday. The schedule gives drivers more time to spend with their fans, according to Loftin.
Most of our races are one-day shows and we will have a little more time to spend with the fans since we only race on Sunday, Loftin said. I look forward to meeting all the great NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour fans this weekend.