Bohn Edges Past Brown During Season Opener at Bowman Gray

It was the moment many had anticipated for months – the start of the 74 th season of Bowman Gray Stadium Racing.

Danny Bohn dominated the featured Hayes Jewelers 200 in the Brad’s Golf Cars Modified Series by leading the final 194 laps to pick up his 16 th win.

“I sold it (Friday in qualifying),” said Bohn, who was the 2014 Modified champion. “The thing just rolled the corners with no tire wear. Like I said, we put this thing together to come over here and win.”

Bohn defeated runner-up Brandon Ward, Jason Myers, Chris Fleming, and John Smith. Burt Myers finished sixth, followed by Tim Brown, Lee Jeffreys, Randy Butner, and Jeremy Gerstner.

“We got spun there early in the race running second and that hurt the rear tires, definitely,” Ward said. “…Honestly, we just got a little tight as the race went on. I felt like we had a second-place car. I felt like Danny was the best car.”

Bohn didn’t have the honor of sitting on the pole. That went to Tim Brown, the 11-time and defending champion. Jonathan Brown turned the second fastest lap and started on the outside of the front row. Bohn started third, on the inside of the second row.

Tim Brown shot out into the lead for the start of the race, but Bohn was able to dart to the inside of the 11-time champ to steal the lead away in the opening laps of the race. Brown was caught on the outside row and fell back through the field.

“It’s not often that you see the perfect car,” Bohn said. “(Friday), from the first lap, I said, man, this thing is good. You know, you try not to be cocky. Sometimes it bites you in the butt, but the thing’s just been fast all weekend. You know, you can be fast, but you have a little bit of luck, too.”

To get the win, Bohn had to survive 12 cautions, plus two competition cautions on laps 92 and 150. That didn’t deter Bohn. To sweeten the night for Bohn, he won an extra $2,000 in bonus money from Hayes Jewelers for leading when the competition cautions came out.

“I was able to win the 199 a couple times, but I controlled the race,” Bohn said. “That’s what I wanted to do tonight. I didn’t think tires would win me the race because track position was important. Tire wear didn’t seem to be bad on my car, so I felt like if I could control the race and keep it on the bottom we’d have a really good shot at it.”

On one of the restarts on lap 161, Ward tried to get to the front. Ward, who was third at the time, squeezed past Chris Fleming for second, but he couldn’t overtake Bohn.

“I got (Bohn) on the outside there a couple times, but I felt like that was my only shot to get the lead,” Ward said. “Once I tried it a couple times and couldn’t get him I kind of realized we just had a second-place car, and then we’ve got to bank on him making a mistake to win. Congratulations to him. He does a good job. He didn’t make a mistake and he won the race.”

Bohn was nearly perfect, especially on the restarts. Even if Fleming or Ward inched closer to Bohn, he pulled ahead around turn 1 and extended his lead down the backstretch.

“That motor runs really good,” Bohn said. “We had good forward bite. I was able to get a pretty good straight shot up off the corners. You have a little wheel in it, you pick up the nose and shove the nose a little bit. You’ve got to roll out of it. I was able to roll the corner hard. I could shoot straight off.”

Despite finishing runner-up Ward is happy with the result.

“You look at it like this, it’s over with. It’s a good points night,” Ward said. “It’s a good way to start the year. The car’s in one piece. We regroup and come back next week and try to win that first 25-lapper.”

As for Bohn, Bowman Gray Stadium has been good to him.

“This place is really special to me,” he said. “It’s what got my NASCAR career going.”

Tommy Neal continued his momentum from last year’s championship in the McDowell Heating & Air Sportsman Series with a win in Saturday’s season-opening 40-lap race.

Neal led wire-to-wire and picked up the 52 nd win of his career, just six short of Ronnie Clifton. Neal defeated runner-up Sterling Plemmons, followed by Zack Ore, who climbed all the way up from 19th, Justin Taylor, and Wesley Thompson.

“I know a lot of these people come to see the Modifieds, but this racing right here is the best competition that you’ve got.”

It wasn’t easy for Neal, who started on the pole. Neal and all the other drivers qualified on Friday to determine who made the field, and then there was a full-field redraw Saturday night, giving Neal the pole. Neal was able to remain unscathed in a race that had seven cautions, including one on the first lap. Of those seven cautions, there were six involving the Traffic Control Safety Services, Inc. double-file restart cone. The final caution occurred with five laps left, and it finished with a single-file restart.

Neal pulled away from Plemmons on the final restart and cruised to the win.

Bryan Sykes was able to overcome three cautions to win the 20-lap race in the Law Offices of John Barrow Street Stock Series.

Brad Lewis started on the pole, but after a restart on lap 3, Cale Martin took the lead. There was another caution on lap 7, but Martin maintained his lead.

The final caution was on lap 10, and Sykes went inside on the restart. Sykes led the final 10 laps to defeat Nate Gregg, Zack Staley, and Christian Joyce.

In the first 15-lap race in the Q104.1 Stadium Stock Series, Tyler McDonald picked up his second career win. AJ. Sanders stole the show in the second 15-lap Q104.1 Stadium Stock Series race. Sanders took a late lead and won his 50 th race, defeating Luke Smith.

“Fifty wins means a lot, but I’m going to tell you, that’s some racing right there,” Sanders said.

Next week’s schedule is highlighted by twin 25-lap races in the Brad’s Golf Carts Modified Series, plus twin 20-lappers in the McDowell Heating & Air Sportsman Series, a 20-lap race in the John Barrow Street Series, and one or two 15-lap races in the Q104.1 Stadium Stock Series. And the night will end with the wild and crazy Midway Mobile Storage Chain Race for teams of two cars chained together.

BGS Racing PR