French Teen Holds His Own at Bowman Gray
Thomas Ferrando relaxes in the pits while awaiting the Hayes Jewelers 200 to start. photo by Eric Hylton Photography
(Bowman Gray Stadium, Winston-Salem, NC) A lot of eyes were on the #37 Modified on Saturday at Bowman Gray Stadium.
It was piloted by the youngest driver ever to compete in the Brad’s Golf Cars Modified Series – 14-year-old Thomas Ferrando from Rians, France who flew to America to compete in the opening night Hayes Jewelers 200.
Not only was Saturday Ferrando’s first time to drive in a Modifed – the first time he ever sat behind the wheel of a Modified was just a few days earlier. And he fared amazingly well against the Stadium’s veteran Modified drivers.
Ferrando’s plan was to play it safe and to earn a little experience. There will be other opportunities in the future to make a mad dash for the checkered flag – for right now, the young driver wanted to gain some seat time and bring the car back in one piece.
A few wrecks happened right in front of Ferrando, but he was able to quickly maneuver his way around them. And by avoiding incidents, the #37 began to make his way through the field.
The most challenging moment for Ferrando came when Noah Triplett of Lexington and Joseph “Bobo” Brown of Winston-Salem were on his tail. Brown was applying the pressure to Triplett, who in turn began nudging the rear bumper of Ferrando.
Noah Triplett (70) nudges Thomas Ferrando (37) into the infield. Ferrando was able to recover quickly. photo by Eric Hylton Photography
As they came out of turn four, Triplett shoved Ferrando into the infield. While many Modified drivers would spin and head to the rear of the field, Ferrando maintained his control and momentum. “I tried to go faster, and it was really tough,” said Ferrando.
Ferrando was forced to pit briefly when a side bar began rubbing against his tires, but he was out and back to racing quickly. Many wondered if the grueling 200-lap race was taking its toll on Ferrando – but when asked, he responded, “I thought the race was really short.”
At the end of 200 laps, Ferrando finished 18th out of 27 competitors. “Everything was really good. I gained a lot of experience, and it was very interesting,” said Ferrando. “I hope to come back to America in the future. I enjoyed racing here.”
This Saturday night the action will continue at the Stadium – it’s $1 Ladies’ Night. All women get in for only one buck to see racing for the Modifieds, Sportsman, Street Stock, and Stadium Stock Divisions. And there will be the sliding thrills of the first ever 109 U-Pull-It Skid Race.
Gates open at 6:00 for practice, qualifying begins at 7:10, and the first race begins at 8:00 PM – this Saturday night. Ticket prices, directions, and more information can be found online at www.bowmangrayracing.com or by calling (336) 723-1819.