WINSTON-SALEM — Danny Bohn rolled up at Bowman Gray Stadium on Saturday aiming to leave with the $9,000 Fans’ Challenge prize money. That didn’t pan out for the former champ – so he grabbed the checkered flag instead.
Two years ago, Bohn was the 2014 champion in the Brad’s Golf Cars Modified Series. Due to changing work obligations, he hasn’t had the opportunity to race regularly at the Madhouse. So far this season, Bohn competed in the opening night 200-lapper, where he finished third despite being down two laps at one point.
But Bohn made a special effort to be at Bowman Gray Stadium on Saturday to compete in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 100. Just like each 100-lapper this season, the O’Reilly Auto Parts 100 offered daring drivers the chance to take on the Fans’ Challenge and start in the rear for a chance to win a large prize pool. With the challenge not having been completed so far this season, the prize pool was up to a healthy $9,000.
Only the top four qualifiers have the option of taking on the challenge, and Bohn qualified a disappointing 11th. “We came over here trying to do the Fans’ Challenge, but we didn’t qualify in the top four. We were just real loose,” said Bohn.
John Smith of Mount Airy and Lee Jeffreys of Winston-Salem elected to take on the challenge and start in the rear. Every other competitor randomly drew for starting position. In a stroke of good luck, Bohn’s night turned around quickly – he drew the pole for his starting position.
The heat was on from the beginning as a first-lap caution flag led to the first of many double-file restarts. Brandon Ward of Winston-Salem took to the outside and tried to muscle ahead of Bohn. Ward couldn’t make the pass stick – at first.
On the third restart, some mind games between Bohn and Ward allowed Ward to rocket into the lead. As they moved into turn one, Bohn gave a stiff shot to Ward’s bumper, sending him spinning out of the lead he held so briefly. Bohn reclaimed the top spot.
“I hate it for Brandon Ward,” said Bohn. “I didn’t want to get into him like that. But he jumped the start and I didn’t know if he was going to come down or stay up high. I just got in too high and got in the back of him.”
Ward’s spin created a huge traffic jam, holding up many competitors but allowing Burt Myers of Walnut Cove to take over second. Myers tried over four double-file restarts to grab the lead away, but the points leader had to settle for second place.
“I think I was a little better than the 65 [of Bohn] in certain spots, and he was better than I was in certain spots. The blue car [of Tim Brown] was right there – we were all pretty close,” said Burt Myers. “A couple weeks ago they accused me of points racing. I’m racing hard. I’m just racing hard and doing what I think is the right thing to do. If I would have been that much better than the 65 I could’ve been more aggressive, but I didn’t feel like it was necessary to overdrive my car and knock him out of the way and maybe crash myself at the same time.”
“I don’t know if he was that much faster,” said Bohn about Myers. “He could get in a little better, but I could pull him off. I knew he was points-racing. I didn’t think he’d try to do anything crazy.”
Bohn held on to grab the checkered with Myers finishing second and Tim Brown taking third.
Jeffreys ended up pulling off what Bohn had initially aimed at – he elected to start in the rear and then finished fourth to earn the $9,000 Fans’ Challenge prize pool. Smith, who also went for the bonus, finished seventh.
Chris Fleming of Mount Airy placed fifth in the race.
In the Yates Grading and Paving Sportsman Series, Zack Ore of Winston-Salem and Dylan Ward of Winston-Salem each won a 20-lapper. Brian Wall of Lexington won in the Q104.1 New Country Street Stock Series. After Brandon Brendle of Winston-Salem was disqualified after post-race technical inspection, Bryan Sykes of Lexington was declared the winner in the McDowell Heating & Air Stadium Stock Series.
Mount Airy driver Blake Shupe finished second to Wall in the Street Stock race.