The Race: Whelen Southern Modified Tour 150 presented by Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet
The Place: Greenville-Pickens (S.C.) Speedway
The Date: Saturday, April 5
The Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Track Layout: 1/2-mile paved oval
Race Purse: $25,920
2007 Winner: Junior Miller
2007 Pole: Burt Myers
Rk Driver Points
1 L.W. Miller 180
2 Ted Christopher 170
3 Brian Loftin 165
4 Tim Brown 160
5 Bobby Grigas 155
6 Ronnie Silk 150
7 Jason Myers 146
8 Matt Hirschman 142
9 Frank Fleming 138
10 Andy Seuss 134
Schedule: Saturday: Practice 1:00-2:30 p.m., Time Trials 6:00 p.m.
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Fleming Hoping 2008 Will Be His Breakthrough Season
GREENVILLE, S.C. – Veteran NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour driver Frank Fleming (No. 07 Patterson Automotive/ProHealth Care Pontiac) has won a lot of races and championships throughout his career, but the popular 48 year-old Mount Airy, N.C., driver is still in search of his first career Whelen Southern Modified Tour victory.
There’s not another team or driver in the garage area that doesn’t think Fleming will snap his winless streak in the very near future, possibly as soon as Saturday night’s 150-lapper at the famed Greenville-Pickens Speedway.
“We’re getting pretty close to finally winning one of these races,” Fleming said. “It really goes back to the way we finished off last season with three second-place finishes in the last four races and the other race, we finished third. We’re starting to lead a lot of laps and that’s very important in this business. If we can lead laps and finish in the top five, like we’ve been doing, we should win a race sooner or later.
“We got the season off to a great start by leading some laps at Caraway a couple weeks ago. I made some changes to the car in the off-season trying to make it better and anytime you make changes like that, you can either get better or worse. I think I made it a little worse so we, as a team, know we need to go back in another direction.”
Fleming admits that coming so close to winning a race only to finish a close second has been somewhat frustrating.
“I’m 48 years old and I’m now in my 28th year of racing so I got kind of a late start,” Fleming said. “I’ve had a great career as being pretty much a Saturday night racer. I’ve won a lot of races in about every kind of racing I’ve ever done except the Whelen Southern Modified Tour. I made the comment several years ago that I was going to race until I turned 50, but I’ll be 49 this summer so I may have to extend that a little bit.
“To finally win a Whelen Southern Modified Tour race really would be the icing on the cake for me.”
In fact, Fleming’s goals are a little bit more than just winning a race.
“Winning the Whelen Southern Modified Tour championship is a possibility if I can get my car running as competitively as we were in the last half of the season last year,” Fleming said. “To have a chance at winning the championship, I’ve got to keep finishing these races and being consistent. I know I’m still competitive and can win one of these races. I’ve just got to keep putting together consistent finishes so I can put myself in the best position. I know I’m going to win one of these races sooner or later. It’s been tough to be so close to winning but not being able to finish off the deal so far. If I don’t win a race this year, I will be disappointed. My time is going to come.”
Would finally winning a Whelen Southern Modified Tour race be the highlight of Fleming’s racing career?
“I don’t know because I’ve won a lot of races and all of them were special to me,” Fleming answered. “It’s been like six or seven years since I’ve won one of these races. If I can win a race here pretty soon, I’d probably act like it was the biggest win of my career. I’d be tickled to death. All the wins I’ve had in my career were special for different reasons. To win a race with it now being NASCAR-sanctioned and with the support that the Tour gets from Whelen, yes, it would be very special to me.”
Mike Herman Jr. to Make Second Start Saturday at GPS
KANNAPOLIS, N.C. – The view out the cockpit will look considerably different to Mike Herman Jr. this racing season.
For the past 16 years, full fenders have been the norm, but Saturday night at Greenville-Pickens (S.C.) Speedway, Herman will see massive 15-inch Hoosier Racing tires through his windshield.
Herman and long-time sponsor Fireside Hearth & Home will make the move to the open-wheeled NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour in 2008. Modifieds are NASCAR’s oldest division and Herman is happy to make the switch.
“My first chance to drive a Modified was in 2006 and I absolutely loved it,” Herman said. “It’s a driver’s car and you have to be aggressive behind the wheel. The stock car has gotten to the point where you have to be easy and finesse the car. You really have to back off the gas early, easy in and hard off, but you can get after it in the Modified.”
For everyone that has witnessed a NASCAR Southern Modified Tour show, you know first hand how Modified drivers “get after it.”
Fans this Saturday night at Greenville-Pickens will see 150 laps of wheel-to-wheel, bumper-to-bumper action.
The race Saturday night will mark Herman’s second start in the Whelen Southern Modified Tour.
The first race came back in August 2006 during the Advance Auto Parts 199 at Bowman-Gray Stadium. It’ll also mark Herman’s first Whelen Southern Modified Tour start away from the famed quarter-mile track at Bowman-Gray.
“I’m looking forward to racing the Modified away from the Stadium,” Herman said. “I really don’t know what to expect but I think I’ll figure it out pretty quick.”
News & Notes
The race: This event is the second of 12 races on the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour schedule. It is the only race in 2008 at Greenville-Pickens (S.C.) Speedway.
The procedure: The starting field is 26 cars, including provisionals. The first 24 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials. The remaining two spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 150 laps (75 miles).
Greenville-Pickens History: There have been two NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour races at Greenville-Pickens Speedway.
The Tour’s first visit to the famed half-mile track came in April 2006 with Junior Miller taking the victory. Qualifying for the first race was canceled due to inclement weather.
In the Tour’s second visit to Greenville-Pickens last April, Burt Myers won the pole and it was Miller scoring the repeat victory in the Whelen Southern Modified Tour 150 presented by Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet.
Down To One: There was one figure noticeably missing from the garage area last Saturday at Southern National Raceway Park in Kenly, N.C., for what turned out to be an event that had to be postponed due to inclement weather.
Two-time Tour champion Junior Miller wasn’t in attendance due to the death of his father-in-law. Miller had said prior to last weekend that he was only going to be running a part-time schedule in 2008.
That leaves Burt Myers as the only driver to start every NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour race since 2005, the first season under the NASCAR banner.
2008 SUNOCO ROOKIE OF THE YEAR STANDINGS
1. Buddy Emory 10
2. Zach Brewer 9
3. Scott Rigney 8
4. Rich Kuiken Jr. 7
NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour Special Awards Standings
COORS LIGHT POLE AWARD
Tim Brown 1
SUNOCO ROOKIE OF THE RACE AWARD
Buddy Emory 1
FEATHERLITE MOST IMPROVED DRIVER
Thomas Stinson 1
POWERADE POWER MOVE OF THE RACE
Andy Seuss 1