Modified Driver Burt Myers Relives Milestone Charlotte Victory
Winning the UNOH Southern Slam 150 at Charlotte Motor Speedway one year ago was a life-changing moment for veteran modified racer Burt Myers. Myers is among the drivers expected to enter the second annual NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour UNOH Southern Slam 150 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Oct. 13 to defend his win.
Myers was a distant fourth in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour championship standings entering the season finale with only an outside chance of claiming the title.
"We went into that last race with no pressure, no worries, no anything," Myers recalled. "Our goal was to just go win the race. We knew so many different things had to happen for us to be able to capture the championship that it wasn't even a part of our equation when we were getting ready to go race at Charlotte."
As it turned out, the numerous scenarios played out perfectly. Myers won the 150-lap race and captured the championship that had eluded him since NASCAR began sanctioning the Whelen Southern Modified Tour in 2005.
"It was the one that I wanted," Myers said about winning the 2010 title. "I've won the Bowman Gray championship, I've won ASA championships and I've won track championships, but that NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour championship was the one that had eluded me. So it was the feather in my cap. It was the one that made me feel like I've accomplished about all I can accomplish at the level that I'm at."
Myers, 35, and his brother, Jason, are carrying on a family racing tradition that spans more than 50 years. Their grandfather, Billy Myers, and great uncle, Bobby Myers, were stars during the formative years of NASCAR and their father, Gary Myers, won 38 modified features at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C., during his years behind the wheel.
In an earlier era, the success Myers has enjoyed on the Carolina short tracks would have led him to the upper divisions of NASCAR. But while he has occasionally raced in divisions other than the modifieds, Myers has never had the opportunity to truly showcase his ability on a larger stage.
"When I was younger and building my résumé, all of the Cup owners were looking for experienced drivers who had seat time and were maybe around 30 years old," said Myers. "Then when I got some seat time, got my experience and got to be around 30 years old, they all wanted the 15- and 16-year-old drivers who were just getting started. I kind of got skipped over in that aspect.
"I love NASCAR racing but at the upper levels it's a business. The level that I'm at now, there is a lot more passion and there's a lot more appreciation for the racing end of it because we have to work so hard for what we've got.
"It's about guys sacrificing time with their families to be able to come down here and make sure the race car is in the shape it needs to be so we can go chase that trophy that weekend. It's not so much about pleasing a sponsor and making sure it's handled in professional manner as it is about just the enjoyment of going out and trying to get that trophy."
Myers and his family are synonymous with modified racing at Bowman Gray Stadium. Like the frontstretch oval at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the Bowman Gray track is a flat quarter-mile oval. But that's where the similarities end.
"Even though they are both flat quarter-miles, they are considerably different," Myers noted. "But I think the mentality of the short-track, close-quarters racing is the same. The guys that run Bowman Gray and have experience on short, flat tracks probably have a small advantage when it comes to racing at Charlotte. But the tracks themselves and the set ups are so different that you can't compare the two."
Myers says it is a privilege for the modifieds to run the UNOH Southern Slam 150 during Bojangles' Pole Night at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
"I told somebody, whether it was a Cup race, a truck race or a Southern Modified race, we got to celebrate in Charlotte's Victory Lane. It was an added bonus to win the championship as the champagne was flying and that kind of stuff, but it is a privilege to be able to go to that type of venue and race in front of all those people," Myers said.
"When you are out there racing and you win the race, you know Rick Hendrick, Jeff Gordon, Dale Jr. and all of those guys, along all of our friends with Roush Yates where we get our engines, are paying attention. That makes it a little bit more special."
Tickets for the UNOH Southern Slam 150, part of Bojangles' Pole Night during Bank of America 500 Race Week, are just $12 in advance and $20 at the gate. Kids ages 5 and under are admitted free, while kids ages 6 to 12 are admitted for just $1.
Tickets for all October races at Charlotte Motor Speedway can be purchased online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or by calling the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267).
For more information on the October races and other events, connect with Charlotte Motor Speedway on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CLTMotorSpdwy or become a Facebook fan at www.facebook.com/charlottemotorspeedway.