Southern series competitor Bobby Hutchins was quite intrigued with the Bristol concrete. "This is going to be quite a show," stated the accomplished NASCAR engineer. "With these new tires on the car it will be trial and error. However, we will get a scuff session for our tires. This is all new to me, in the South series we do not get scuff sessions, so we will see. The biggest thing is how the Camping World Trucks' tire rubber will affect our Hoosiers, it could make a difference."
Even 10-time NASCAR race winner Kasey Kahne weighed in, "It's going to get pretty wild. I will just have to watch what is going on and figure out how to get up in the field. This is definitely a little bit different, but it is a pretty fun car to drive, I mean I really enjoy it but I have no idea how things are going to go."
150 wild laps at Bristol What some looked at as being a possible crash fest turned out to be a great, fast-paced event right down to the checkered flag. With edge-of-the-seat speeds, these rockets on wheels thundered through 150 white-knuckle laps, with a halfway break, in just over one hour and three minutes. Only four caution flags would fly on this event including one from laps 131-137 for light rain. It was just the kind of clean competitive race you love to see.
At the drop of the green flag, Ted Christopher took off from the pole in his Al-Lee Installations Chevrolet and led the entire first half of the race. He got to the halfway break with Todd Szegedy and the UNOH/Wisk/Snuggle Ford right on his back bumper.
During the break virtually every car took on four tires and fuel as well as other assorted adjustments. When the green dropped for the money half of the race Christopher once again shot out to the point from the double-file restart. And again Szegedy was right there in second.
Erick Rudolph, the youngest winner in NASCAR Modified history at the age of 17, straps in
"Showtime" Jimmy Blewett, a regular on the northern modified tour is ready for action. Sta
The hard tire compound brought by Hoosier required NASCAR to schedule a halfway break for
A caution flew on lap 88 that set a chain of events in motion. This time on the restart Szegedy stayed right with Christopher running the top groove. The pair ran side by side for a handful of laps until Szegedy gave up the charge and dropped back in line. While those two where battling it out, Donny Lia in his Mystic Missile Dodge was gaining ground from the seventh starting position.
Shortly after Szegedy gave up the charge for the point, Lia moved in and dusted him off setting his sights on his old adversary Christopher. At lap 108 Lia mounted a charge and took the front spot away from TC for the next 31 laps, including the rain slowed caution laps. After the rain delay, Lia suffered a slight setback when he jumped the restart and was ordered by NASCAR officials to give the position back to the red No. 36 of Christopher.
That didn't stop Lia though. Just three laps after a clean restart, he blasted past Christopher and opened up a big lead, winning the race by 3.126 seconds.
After leading 110 laps of the event Christopher was relegated to Second followed by Ryan Preece in Third, top Southern Whelen Modified finisher George Brunnhoelzl III was Fourth, and Woody Pitkat rounded out the Top 5.
Szegedy faded to Sixth followed by Rowan Pennink, Ed Flemke Jr., and Burt Myers. Youngster Erick Rudolph rounded out the Top 10 after starting in the 21st spot. The race speed averaged just over 75 mph. Lia led 40 laps on his way to the big win and his share of the posted $91,575 purse.
"It was pretty intense, just an awesome race with Teddy there, we had such a good race car," said the race winner. "I just couldn't believe how good we were. They said I jumped the restart there, I guess I might have so I let him back by. Fortunately, I was able to get back by him."
Pre-race tire worries turned out to be a non-factor in the outcome of the race. "The tires where awesome," said Lia. "Hats off to Hoosier, we did not beat any tires up, and times did not fall off that much."