Tim Brown Wins Tucson 200 at Bowman Gray
A lot of hard work and a little good luck pay off for last year’s champion.
(Bowman Gray Stadium, Winston-Salem, NC) After all the countless hours and the thousands upon thousands of dollars that it takes to get a race car in competitive shape, sometimes the difference between first and last place is just plain old luck.
That was the case on Saturday night at Bowman Gray Stadium. Tim Brown of Cana, Va. took the checkered flag in the Tucson 200 for the Farm Bureau Insurance Modified Series, owing a great deal of his success to simply being in the right place at the right time.
Michael Clifton of Walkertown started on the pole after turning the fastest lap during the Friday night qualifying session. As the race started, Clifton claimed the lead with Burt Myers of Walnut Cove staying on his bumper to take second.
For the first 70 laps of the race, Clifton tried to do the bare minimum of what it took to stay in front of Myers – hoping to conserve his tires for the lengthy 200-lap race. Unfortunately, neither he nor Myers would complete the full 200 laps.
Myers pitted due to mechanical problems on lap 80. He wasn’t alone: Myers’ rival, Junior Miller of Danbury, had been forced to pit before the race even started due to tire problems.
Michael Clifton lost the lead a few laps later after a collision with Brent Elliott of Denton. Elliott was trying to settle into second place behind Clifton when his accelerator hung, causing him to ram Clifton’s car into the wall. Clifton would still finish the race but would lose laps after making a pit stop.
Randy Butner of Pfafftown took over the lead with Tim Brown shooting up to second after making good use of the double-file restart rule. On a double-file restart just a few short laps later, Brown would again take the outside – this time beating Butner into turn one and taking the lead.
It was clear that the new double-file restarts changed the complexion of the Tucson 200. The race was an endurance challenge for competitors as it always has been, but now the double-file restart rule gave drivers a tremendous chance to strategically choose their lane and potentially gain several positions.
“It can help you or it can hurt you,” said Brown about the double-file restart. “You’ve got to be smart and use your head there. That’s what we did, and everything went our way tonight.”
Jonathan Brown of Winston-Salem and Jason Myers of Walnut Cove took advantage of the double-file restart rule to choose the outside and challenge Brown for the lead. Chris Fleming of Mount Airy, who chose the outside six out of eight times, also gave Brown some competition.
But Brown was able to stay up front and take the checkered flag. “I’m just elated,” said Brown. “That’s the best race car I’ve ever sat my butt in at Bowman Gray. It was awesome.”
Chris Fleming took second with Alfred Hill of Jonesville finishing in third.
In the 40-lap race for the Webb Heating & A/C Co. Sportsman Series, Robbie Brewer of Winston-Salem took the win. Brewer took the lead away from Keith McMichael of Belews Creek after several laps of hard racing between the two competitors. Barry Edwards of Pinnacle finished second, with Scott Hall of Walkertown finishing the race in third.
John McNeal of Winston-Salem took the checkered in the 20-lap race for the 104.1 WTQR Series. McNeal had claimed the lead from Joseph “Bobo” Brown of Winston-Salem – and Brown fought back, almost reclaiming the lead. McNeal was able to keep his position. Brown finished in second. Matt Cotner of Rural Hall took third.
In the Time Warner Cable Stadium Stock Series, former champions Michael Wells of Yadkinville and A.J. Sanders of Mocksville split victories in the two 15-lap events.