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Bowman Gray Stadium 7-13

JonBoy Holds Off The Taliban

Bowman Gray Stadium

Bowman Gray Stadium JonBoy Holds Off The Taliban
Jonathan Brown celebrating his victory in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 100 at Bowman Gray Stadium

Billy Weatherman/Oval Track News

First things first, we have to thank Bowman Gray Stadium for their outstanding hospitality. From management, officials, track crew and staff, right down to the competitors at this legendary track, they were nothing but professional, accommodating, and helpful in every way possible. They know how to put on a show, and they know how to show their guest a great time.

Bowman Gray Stadium for their outstanding hospitality. From management, officials, track crew and staff

That being acknowledged, as always, it was a great night of racing at The Madhouse. In the end, there were three first time Bowman Gray winners, with a first time this season winner, who had his own certain first, that is a huge, emotional career milestone. It was ladies night, with $2 dollar admission for all the females, and a double points night. It was a hot one, in the air, and on the track, so racing conditions were a bit slippery to say the least, made worse by a mechanical issue in Sportsman practice on the 55 machine of Zack Ore, who let loose a huge trail of oil around the track. The track crew worked diligently to clean up the mess, but qualifying for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 100 feature for the Brad’s Golf Cars modified series was found to be a bit troubling for quite a few competitors. Qualifying lap times for the majority of the field were much slower than usual. But Lee Jeffreys from Wallburg, NC, still managed a time of 13.495, fast enough to get the pole award, for the O’reilly Auto parts 100.

first time Bowman Gray winners
Lee Jeffreys wins the pole award for the O’Reilly Auto parts 100

I asked Lee about the track conditions for qualifying, and he smiled and said, “It was fine for me. But you know, we’ve been on the front row for the last five weeks with two poles, and 3 second place starts. The car’s been really fast. And we just hope for a good finish tonight.”

Then Lee did something some might find surprising. He accepted the Fans Challenge. The challenge is offered to the top four qualifiers, and it is to finish fourth or better in any given 100 lap feature for the mods. $3,000 is at stake, and if the challenge is taken and is not achieved, the money rolls over to the next 100 lap feature. And to get from the rear to somewhere in the top four, is as you can imagine, quite a hefty feat, so the purse can easily build to a sizable sum. But as it turns out in this case, Jonathan Brown had won the last challenge by finishing fourth, and Burt Myers won the first challenge of the season, coming from the tail end of the field to the front to take all the bounty. But $3,000 is still a great takeaway for a top four, and since Lee has won the challenge before, and had the fastest car in qualifying, he couldn’t resist another chance at the money.

None of the other top four qualifiers took the challenge. Jonathan Brown qualified with the second fastest lap at 13.593, Tim Brown third with 13.594, and fourth fastest in qualifying was Burt Myers with a lap of 13.621. To note, the record fastest lap at Bowman Gray was qualifying lap taken by Tim Brown in 2016 at 12.965.

The field was not lined up by qualifying however, as the feature race was a full field redraw, which means that your starting position depends on a random draw, so sometimes, not taking the challenge can be as big a gamble as taking it. It literally comes down to the luck of the draw. But for the fans in the stands, it adds another element of excitement. As the mods lined up for the 100 lap feature, Jason Myers drew the pole, with Danny Bohn to his outside. Jonathan Brown lined up fourth, Tim Brown lined up fifth, with Burt Myers lining up thirteenth, and Lee Jeffreys dropping to the rear for the challenge.

 the record fastest lap at Bowman Gray was qualifying lap taken by Tim Brown in 2016 at 12.965

As the green flag falls on the field, Danny Bohn pressures Jason Myers for the lead on the outside, but Jason holds him off. Just a few laps in, the 16 of Chris Fleming goes around and it brings out the first caution of the race, and that brings out the next challenge for the drivers, the infamous orange cone. As the race is a double file restart race, the cone is placed in the middle of the start finish line, to offer the driver a choice. take the inside and play it safe, or for those who would dare, to start on the outside, hoping most won’t try it so you can try to gain a position or two. It’s a risky gamble, but the best drivers can use the cone to make their presence felt up front, and to challenge the current leaders. Getting in line however to gain position, again, is not an easy thing to do. So again, for the fans, the restarts are high adrenaline excitement, as the drivers jockey and fight for position.

On the restart, Danny Bohn again goes to the outside of Jason Myers, and just like on the initial start of the race, begins to apply the pressure from the outside, but Jason comes out wide in turn two and forcibly clears himself and shuts off the outside lane as Danny gets into his rear. Jonathan Brown tries to take advantage of the situation, but Danny holds him off. Shortly after, another caution comes out for the 18 of Daniel Yates as he spins. On the restart, again, the same scenario plays out for Jason, Danny, and Jonathan, but this time, Jonathan Brown gets by Danny Bohn, as Jason and Danny have more substantial contact , causing Bohn to get loose and allowing the 22 room to get by. As they’re racing for the lead, James Civali and Burt Myers are closing in. On lap 37, the caution comes out again as the 83 of Tim Brown gets into Brian Lortin, trying to get to the lead pack, and it sends him around.

As they get ready to go green, the cone is out and Jonathan takes it, and lines up outside Jason Myers. And on the start again, Jonathan starts applying the pressure. As it appears Jonathan starts to get an advantage, they get together, and it sends Brown loose on the outside. But as he drives through it, Jason ends up going around instead. In the chaos, Jason gets a flat tire, and somehow, Jonathan retains the lead as the field is stacked up behind them, and sits in the middle of three and four trying to sort themselves out. When they do, the 79 of James Civali is sitting second, with the 3 of Danny Propst third, and the 78 of Bradley McCaskill sitting fourth. And getting caught up in the fray is the 75 of Lee Jeffreys, and the 83 of Tim Brown, and they find themselves where they started the race, in the back of the field.

79 of James Civali is sitting second
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Close to halfway, the restart sees Civali take the cone for the start, and he lines up outside of Brown. Civali puts the pressure outside but Brown holds him off while Burt Myers moves into third behind them. As they run nose to tail, they separate themselves, while a battle in the middle of the field erupts. The 40 of Frank Fleming finds himself under extreme pressure from the 78 of Bradley McCaskill and the rest of the field as they try to make ground. On lap 57, the pressure builds on the 40, and he stacks up the field causing another caution. The 40 and 78 come out okay, but Tim Brown gets caught up again, and all the ground he gains on the last short run turns out for naught, as he again finds himself in the back with Lee Jeffreys who has not managed to make any substantial ground in his bid to win the Fans challenge. After the caution, the lineup is the 22 of Jonathan Brown, followed by Civali, Burt, and the 40 of Frank Fleming. As they come to take the green, Civali lines up on the inside behind Brown allowing Burt to take the cone. He can now see daylight on the front row. At the Madhouse, we have seen this before. It appears that Burt may have put himself in position to take another win. But Jonathan is fast. Fast enough that he made the 79 of Civali think twice about challenging on the restart, and he lets Myers have his shot at it. When they go back green, Jonathan shows his strength, and Burt gets caught out on the outside losing ground to the leader, Civali closes the door, and secures his second place position.

As they continue to run nose to tail up front, Frank Fleming again finds himself under pressure from the 78 of McCaskill. Something has to give as the field again is stacking up behind them. Sure enough, on lap 77, they lock together and end up in the turn one fence. Frank gets his car rolling first, and in frustration, backs his car into McCaskill before he pulls back onto the racing surface to rejoin the field. The 78 however is unable to continue, and his night is over. With just 19 to go, Tim Brown and Lee Jeffreys have only made their way to mid field, with Lee running eighth, and Tim eleventh. They’re running out of time on finishing in the front. And so as the race is getting down to the end, on what could be the final restart, Civali again takes the cone to challenge Brown for the lead. If Jonathan wants to win, he can’t make any mistakes. He has the “One Man Taliban” to his outside, and the nine time champion Burt Myers on his rear. It is said that Civali’s nickname came from someone who gave it to him because he said, “you never know when he’s gonna strike.” And if you’ve seen him race, you know it’s true. But tonight, this maybe the last chance to get it done. And Burt? Well, nine championships doesn’t come from a lack of great talent. The green falls, and Jonathan again gets a great start and retains the lead, and leaves Civali having to scramble to clear Burt. Again they are nose to tail. But before Civali can apply adequate pressure on the leader, he comes under attack from an eager Burt Myers, who is determined to make Civali make a mistake. And as Brown pulls away, Myers continues to send a message to Civali that he has the faster car, but try as he may, he can’t get Civali to relinquish the spot. And at the finish, it’s the 22 of Jonathan Brown for the win, with Civali second, and Burt third.

Jonathan Brown getting interviewed by Randy Pettitt after his emotional win in the 2019 O’Reilly Auto Parts 100 at Bowman Gray Stadium

Jonathan was emotional in victory lane, and so I caught up with him later and asked him how big it was to get the win in the double points race marking the halfway point of the season. He said, “Double points are huge, no doubt. We’ve run good all year, and in three different cars, and to get this win now is big. At one point I think we were 30 points back or so, and so we needed to get us a win. But to win in this car, is extra special. It’s our first win this year, and my first as a car owner ever. But really, to do it in this car, everybody over here knows where I got this car from…I got this hat I’m wearing from a fan. He cleared it with Jimmy (Jimmy Blewett) first…and this hat is the hat that John Blewett wore the last time he sit in his race car for the very last time. I feel like I took this hat to victory lane for John. We’ve got now over 16 wins here, but I’ve never felt as great and emotional after a win as I am after this one.”

I also caught up with James Civali, and asked about his good finish~ “Well, we really needed a good finish tonight. Early in the season, we were in the top three, but we’ve kinda fallen behind a bit. We got up to the front behind Jon, and we could run up there, but Jon was just strong…he was fast tonight. So I just tried to dig in and get what I could get. I kind of wore my car out there running with Jon, and I knew I was probably holding up Burt at the end…But I was hoping he was point racing and he wouldn’t turn me. He was giving me some good shots there, but I’m glad he didn’t turn me.”

The Twin 20 lappers for the McDowell Heating and Air Sportsman series

In the first Sportsman race, two rookies start on the front row. On the pole is the 2017 & 2018 Stadium Stock champion Wesley Thompson (22), and the 03 of Sterling Plemmons. It doesn’t take long for the first caution, as Terry Thompson get’s pushed down into the grass, after he seemingly has a mechanical issue to bring out the first yellow. As they line back up for the single file start, Wesley Thompson is your leader with the 55 of Zack Ore in tow. But shortly after the restart, the 2 of Mike Staley (subbing for Amber Lynn), get’s spun by the 19 of Michael Adams as Staley tries to clear himself. As the race goes back green, it’s still the 22 of Wesley Thompson and The 55 of Zack Ore up front, but now starting to put the pressure is your point leader Justin Taylor (12), who has 9 top 5’s in eleven races, with three of those being wins, and the 7 of Dylan Ward. They maneuver around the now smoking 55 of Ore, and Justin sets his sights on Thompson up front. Justin dives in and get’s his nose under Thompson’s quarter, but Wesley is blocking and then Justin starts giving him shots to let him know he was holding him up. Justin is getting pressured by Ward, and so it doesn’t take long before he gives Wesley Thompson a shove out of the lead that leads to the third caution. But after they throw the green again, Dylan starts to apply the bumper to Justin, letting him know he has a faster car tonight, and Justin slips up a bit, and has to let Dylan by. A few more cautions later, sees the 03 of Sterling Plemmons getting spun out of fourth, and later ending his night in the fence. He was on his way to his best ever finish, but lady luck is saving that for another night. Also, the 55 of Zack Ore get’s black flagged for smoke, showing that in spite of their hard work effort, they had not resolved their earlier issues that manifested in practice earlier. Your 2018 Street Stock champion and Sportsman rookie Spencer Martin get’s spun out of fourth with one to go to being out the final caution. They get the green/white checkers, but nobody’s got anything for Dylan Ward tonight, and he get’s the win in the first race of two.

The second race for the Sportsman for the twin 20’s, is a Madhouse scramble, the winner of the first race draws a number, and that’s where he starts the second race. Dylan drew the worst scenario as he pulled out the number 16. The rest of the field is inverted accordingly. That puts the 71 of D.J. Moore on the pole, and rookie Spencer Martin (05) to his outside. D.J. get’s spun into the grass but continues with no caution, as the 05 takes the lead with the 50 of Ross Dalton on his heels looking for his first Bowman Gray Stadium win. And after a little contact between the two, Ross finds his way to the front, and he never looks back. It’s hard racing through the field, but Dalton ends up the newest first time winner in the Sportsman. I talked to him about getting his first victory at Bowman Gray~ “This is a big win just because the history of the place. To be on the list of winners here is huge…one of our best wins for sure. But we’ll be back, and we hope this is the first of many more.”

Law Offices of John Barrow Street Stock series

Corey Rose (19), get’s his first win ever in the Bowman Gray street Stock class from the pole, leading all the way. Brad Lewis in the 16 machine started on his outside of the front row, but he had no challenge for Corey, and after a bit of trouble, found himself near the back of the field. In a caution filled race that saw six cautions in the 20 lapper that was shortened due to the division time limit, your points leader Jeremy Warren (97), found himself finishing fourth, with his nearest competitor in the points race Jacob Creed (08) finishing third, leaving a tie for the points lead after the finish. Second place went to the 02 of David Creed, providing a great night for the Creed racing family. I talked to Corey about his emotions on getting the win~ “This is just huge. we’ve been fast all year, but due to circumstances, we just haven’t had the luck to go our way to get us out front. But it’s just amazing. With the week we had…I lost my grandmother this last Sunday, and my mother had surgery this Tuesday…but we worked so hard to get here, and we needed this win tonight. It couldn’t have come at a better time for us.”

Q 100.1 New Country Stadium Stock Series

The stadium stocks ran two hotly contested 15 lap races. In the B division, Joel Stewart (7), get’s his first Bowman Gray Stadium win. Jeffrey Burrow in the 70 starts on the point, with Justin Whitiker in the 44 to his outside. The first caution was the 39 of Patrick Mullin getting into the wall and going airborne for a moment, a spectacular moment that unfortunately ended his night. Johnny Baker (35), made his way through the field, and had a big lead with about two to go, seemingly on his way to a dominate win. But just when it looked like he had it all wrapped up, he found himself in the tire and water barrier at the entrance to pit road, giving the win to Stewart.

The second 15 lapper for the A group found the 54 of Justin Owens starting on the pole, with 47 of Tyler McDonald on the outside. Justin would get caught up in a heated battle and went spinning to bring out the second caution. That put Brendle in the 43 up toward the front, but coming through the field was his fellow points leaders, A.J. sanders (24), Chuck wall in the (81), with Grayson Keaton in the 1 car not far behind. Grayson would find himself getting by wall at the very end, but Brendle wins and moves to second in the standings.

Finishing Orders and Points Standings

  • Mods finishing order/Points standings(top 5)
  • 22- Jonathan Brown=2
  • 79- James Civali=4
  • 1-Burt Myers=1
  • 04-Brandon Ward
  • 18-Daniel Yates
  • 5-Randy Butner
  • 53-John Smith
  • 83-Tim Brown=3
  • 75-Lee Jeffreys
  • 51-Bobby Measmer Jr.
  • 16-Chris Flemming
  • 3-Danny Propst
  • 41-Chris Williams
  • 77-Susan Harwell
  • 4-Jason Myers=5
  • 40-Frank Flemming
  • 78- Bradley McCaskill
  • 81-Zack Clifton
  • 15-Brian Loftin
  • 65-Danny Bohn
  • 66-Ronnie Clifton
  • 24-Andrew Harrah
  • 44-Daniel Beeson
  • Sportsman finishing order/Race1
  • 7-Dylan Ward=5
  • 12-Justin Taylor=1
  • 92-Kyle Southern=2
  • 21-Tommy Neal=4
  • 02-Derek Stoltz
  • 38-Mitch Gayles
  • 4-John Holloman IV
  • 19-Michael Adams=3
  • 31 Chase Robertson
  • 22-Wesley Thompson
  • 50-Ross Dalton
  • 71-D.J. Moore
  • 2-Mike Stayley
  • 56-Dale Fishel
  • 05-Spencer Martin
  • 1-Nick Wall
  • 55-Zack Ore
  • 03- Sterling Plemmons
  • 07-Kevin Neal
  • 30-Blake Shupe
  • 80-Brian Shupe
  • 14-Brandon Flowers
  • 81-Terry Thompson
  • 9-Ryan Dixon
  • Sportsman Race/2
  • 50-Ross Dalton
  • 21-Tommy Neal=4
  • 22-Wesley Thompson
  • 12-Justin Taylor=1
  • 02-Derek Stoltz
  • 92-Kyle Southern=2
  • 19-Michael Adams=3
  • 4-John Hollowman IV
  • 31-Chase Robertson
  • 55-Zack Ore
  • 7-Dylan Ward=5
  • 05-Spencer Martin
  • 38-Mitch Gayles
  • 71-D.J. Moore
  • 30-Blake Shupe
  • 81-Terry Thompson
  • 9-Ryan Dixon
  • Street Stock
  • 19-Corey Rose=5
  • 02-David Creed=4
  • 08-Jacob Creed=1-tie
  • 97-Jeremy Warren=1-tie
  • 98-Billy Gregg=3
  • 1-Christian Joyce
  • 69-Gerald Robertson Jr
  • 6-Austin Powell
  • 40-Taylor Robbins
  • 16-Brad Lewis
  • 99-Bryan Sykes
  • 13-Kevin Gilbert
  • 22-Brian Wall
  • 28-Nate Gregg
  • 2-Willie Wall
  • 33-Dennis Lanier
  • 00-Donnie Martin
  • 29-Bradley Potts
  • Stadium Stock A
  • 43-Brandon Brendle=2
  • 24-A.J. Sanders=1
  • 1-Grayson Keaton=4
  • 81-Chuck Wall=3
  • 47-Tyler McDonald
  • 01-Chris Allison
  • 16-Stephen Sanders=5
  • 51-Junior Snow
  • 27-Austin Cates
  • 3-K.C. Myers
  • 69-Brandon Crotts
  • 80-Luke Smith
  • 54-Justin Owens
  • 60-Brad Mickalowski
  • 10-David Hopkins
  • 68-Tyler Bush
  • 03-Cody Gum
  • Stadium Stock B
  • 7-Joel Stewart
  • 23-Blake Spears
  • 37-Josh Osbourne
  • 4-Jeff Houston
  • 5-Conner Keaton
  • 14-Ken Bridges
  • 11-Chad Hopkins
  • 40-Scott Dixon
  • 34-Stephen Stoneman
  • 44-Justin Whitiker
  • 70-Jeffery Burrow
  • 35-Johnny Baker
  • 28-Robert Mabe
  • 20-Scarlett Dahmer
  • 39-Patrick Mullin