After having time off since late April, many of the teams have spent the off weekends racing at their local short track or testing to improve their cars for the second half of the season.
One of those drivers that has been working to get his car better is L.W. Miller. Miller drives the No. 88Taxslayer.com/Speedco Chevrolet and enters this weekend in second place in the standings, just six points behind leader George Brunnhoelzl III (171-165).
"We have spent this time off working hard to get our car better," Miller said. "We had a good start to the season but have got to get better if we expect to contend for the title."
Miller has enjoyed a consistent start to the season as he, Brunnhoelzl and Burt Myers are the only drivers to finish in the top 10 in all four races so far this season. While Miller is pleased with his performance through the first four races, the Dushore, Pa., native knows it's going to takes more than top-10s finishes to win his second championship.
"I think we have made our team and car better during the break, but we really don't know the results until we are in race conditions at the track," Miller added. "We have to perform better on the track if we are going to catch George [Brunnhoelzl]."
While Miller has his sights set on taking over the points lead from Brunnhoelzl, he adds that the competition is improved and stronger this year throughout the field.
"You can't just worry about one driver in our series," Miller said. "George is the one everyone is going after to catch in the points, but we have some great competition as usual in the field and our rookies, especially Danny Bohn and Kyle Ebersole, have shown that they know how to run up front. It ought to be a great second half season for the fans to watch how this all plays out."
Positions 3-5 in the standings are quite tight following the break. Bohn enters this week third with 145 while Jason Myers sits in fourth, just two points behind at 143. Burt Myers completes the top five with 142 points.
Going for No. 3: George Brunnhoelzl III begins the second half of the season in search of his second-consecutive NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour title, and third overall. Brunnhoelzl finished second in the Firecracker 150 last season at Caraway Speedway.
Rookies Continue To Impress: A pair of rookies begin the second half of the season in the top 10 of the standings with Danny Bohn leading the way in third place with 145 points and Kyle Ebersole sits eighth with 132 points. Ebersole picked up his second-consecutive top-five finish in the Parking Lot Maintenance Headquarters 150 on April 21.
Car Count Promising: For the first four races of the season, the car count has been strong with the starting field averaging 23 cars, highlighted by the event at South Boston 150 which featured a season-high 27 cars. The first three events at Caraway featured 24, 22 and 22 cars, respectively.
Drivers Work To Win Ticket For To Daytona: Through the first four races of the season three drivers have already earned a spot in the inaugural UNOH Battle at the Beach at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in February 2013. After winning the South Boston 150, Brandon Ward joined Brian Loftin and George Brunnhoelzl III, who each picked up wins at Caraway in the spring, in becoming the third NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour competitor locked into the special event. Each eligible race winner throughout the season from the Whelen Modified and Whelen Southern Modified Tours will earn guaranteed starting positions for the combined Whelen Modified exhibition feature on the short track at Daytona.
Last Time Out: Parking Lot Maintenance Headquarters 150
* George Brunnhoelzl III broke the two-week old track record in qualifying and became the first repeat winner on the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour when he held off L.W. Miller to earn his 13th career win, which tied him for the record for all-time mark with L.W. Miller.
* Sunoco Rookie of the Year competitor Michael Speeney picked up his first career top-five finish in the race, coming home fifth.
* Speeney used his top-five finish to win Coca-Cola Move of the Race honors, and he also moved up 20 positions from his finish at the South Boston 150 to win Featherlite Most Improved Driver honors. Kyle Ebersole used his fourth-place finish to win the Sunoco Rookie of the Race award.
Up Next: Bowman Gray
Following the Firecracker 150 at Caraway Speedway, the Southern Modified drivers will head to Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C., for the Strutmasters.com 199 on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2012.
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