The SMART Modified Tour (Presente by Pace-O-Matic) came down to 99 laps at Motor Mile Speedway. This race was supposed to be leading up to the championship as originally scheduled on October 1st. Weather issues forced a call to postpone so the “Radford 99” became the SMART season finale.
The namesake of the race, Paul Radford (winner, driver, modified “legend”) was on hand with one of his cars. He earned the nickname “Ferrum Flash” with a string of wins and races around the region.
Coming into the weekend, the top three in SMART Tour points were Caleb Heady, Bobby Labonte and Brandon Ward. However, it would take a stack of situations to take the championship from Heady. Oddly enough, that almost came into play.
Qualifying put Brandon Ward on the pole. Brian Loftin and Burt Myers qualified into the top three. The drama for Heady was put off a bit as Burt Myers appealed off a one race suspension. That could come back to bite him in the 2023 season as he was allowed in at Motor Mile. That just added to competition for Heady.
It went further off the mark as Heady’s car lost the drive shaft early on and put him in the infield for the remainder of the race. Points were still being counted as race positions changed and the race went forward. Brandon Ward took advantage of team strategy and drove to a repeat series win at Motor Mile. Bobby Labonte drove to fourth but the points still fell in Heady’s favor for the championship. Ward and Labonte finished the season in the second and third slots.
The owner points fell much the same with Caleb Heady’s car owner, Tommy Baldwin Jr, taking the overall. Randy Renfrow (Ward) and Terry Hall (Labonte) shared the same slots as the drivers.
Racing on the modified circuit is not over with the SMART Tour finale. This week, the Whelen Modifieds are in the national spotlight from Martinsville Speedway. The Virginia is for Racing Lovers 200 is set for Thursday evening (Oct 27) as part of the “Final 4” NASCAR Cup elimination weekend at Martinsville.
Radford 99 / SMART Modified Tour Championship – Motor Mile Speedway (Oct 22, 2022)
Photos: Mike Paris / DoS Images