TIMMONSVILLE, SC (October 17) – Former NASCAR Truck Series winner Joey Coulter made his Modified debut Saturday night at Florence Motor Speedway setting a new track record and taking the Southern Modified Auto Racing Teams (SMART) win in the Smart Chevrolet 99.
“I told Randy [Renfrow] to tell me what pace to go and when to go and then I’ll give you what I’ve got,” said Coulter afterwards. “When he turned me loose I knew it was the right time to go. What an awesome car, awesome night, awesome weekend.”
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Coulter set a new track record in qualifying with a fast lap of 16.956 seconds, but would start ninth after the redraw. That put Caraway winner, Brian Loftin, on the pole, alongside two-time SMRS Modified champion, Jeremy Gerstner.
Gerstner would get the lead at the start of the race, but would be bypassed early on by NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race winner, James Civali. The two would set a torrid early pace, putting several cars a lap down, including 10-time Bowman Gray Speedway champion, Tim Brown, who spun on lap 18 to bring out the night’s first caution.
Gerstner would go back out front on the restart, but Civali again would move by to take the lead on lap 25. Former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion, Jamie Tomaino, ran as high as third, but spun exiting turn four on lap 26. Following a competition caution on lap 30, Gerstner would again go back out front and would lead until being passed by Tom Buzze on lap 52. Unfortunately for Gerstner, his chances at winning ended a lap later when the lapped machine of Carlos Gray spun in turn three and collected him and Jason Myers.
Tire strategy was now coming into play as Burt Myers assumed the lead from Buzze on the restart. Now back on the lead lap, Tim Brown and B. Myers ran side-by-side for several laps as they battled for the lead, until the caution waved with 31 laps to go for a spin by Civali on the backstretch. B. Myers and several lead lap cars pitted, putting Brown into the lead until Coulter moved by with 25 laps to go. Coulter led the rest of the way to take his first career SMART Modified win over B. Myers, Brian Loftin, John Smith, and Brown.
Averitt Lucas took the lead from Perry Patino on lap 6 and never looked back to take his second straight Limited Late Model win at Florence. Polesitter Casey Kelley dropped back to fifth in the early going, but was making his way back to the front before tangling with Robert Powell for second with 15 laps to go. Following Lucas at the checkered flag were Isabella Robusto, Clay Thomas, Anthony Miller, and Kevin Parsons.
Veterans Strom Altman and Jody Measamer had a heated battle for the lead throughout the night before Altman was able to take command with 8 laps to go and get the win in SuperTrucks. Willie Grainger took a wild ride off the back straightaway with 26 laps to go, which would eventually lead to the end of his night. Behind Altman at the finish were Cody Kelley, Measamer, Adam McCumbee, and Jacob Lewis.
Brandon Johnson passed Matt Briggs with 7 laps to go to take the Mini Stock win. Rounding out the top five were Connor Lee, Will Bruorton, and Drake Williamson.
The next event at Florence Motor Speedway will be the Charlie Powell Memorial weekends in November. The South Carolina 250 will be on Saturday, November 14 for the Limited Late Models, SuperTrucks, and Mini Stocks. The following weekend will be the South Carolina 400 featuring Late Model Stocks and Tour-Type Modifieds.