Modified’s on the front stretch at Caraway Speedway. (Photo: NASCAR Hometracks)
The RGS Products 125 this Sunday at Caraway Speedway will officially kick off the 2018 season for the Southern Modified Racing Series, 602 Tour Super Limiteds and 602 Modifieds. The race will also feature a Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South Super Late Model feature as well as the local Caraway Speedway Limited Late Models for what will be one of the biggest tickets of the 2018 season at any track.
Clifton Ready to Tour
Michael Clifton’s name isn’t new to Southern Modified racing fans but his name will roll off the tongue of Southern Modified Racing Series fans for the first time as part of the tour in 2018. Clifton has been racing Modifieds since 1990 at Bowman Gray Stadium with appearances on the now-defunct NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified tour and SMART (SMRT) Modified tours over the years but this season he’ll embark on his first foray into the Southern Modified Racing Series.
Clifton isn’t coming in looking to log laps either, he’s looking to win races and be competitive with the best that the Southern Modified Racing Series has to offer. Clifton has 21 wins in Modifieds at Bowman Gray Stadium and he has a lone win at Caraway Speedway on the SMART Modified tour in 2004. Entering his 31st year of Modified racing, Clifton isn’t looking to fill any fields.
“We’re going to give it a shot this year,” Clifton stated. “I’ve always ran good in the past and we’ve got as good of equipment as anyone. We’ll be in contention but we might get off to a slower start than we want but we’ll be in contention.”
One reason Clifton is running the Southern Modified Racing Series this season is the opportunity to be freed up on the weekends more than when he was full time at Bowman Gray.
“Honestly, we didn’t want to tie up our whole summer at the stadium. Running the tour frees up our summer. We don’t have to race every week. If we want to go out on a boat or go camping or whatever, we can do that and not have to worry about missing a race. They have a good schedule and it’s spread out and gives us our summer back.”
Clifton is also excited about the tire change the tour will have this year moving to a harder compound tire to help save teams money and give them something they race more on.
“We ran these tires at Martinsville in 2005 I believe,” commented Clifton. “They’re a real good tire. My only concern will be the softer compound on the left rear and burning it off but I think we’ll be ok.”
Kodie Conner will be a busy young man this coming weekend as he attempts to do double duty. Conner will compete in the Kodie Conner Racing #45 Super Late Model in the PASS South race and will also run the #78 for Hillbilly Racing in the Southern Modified Racing Series feature. Conner is no stranger to either car as he competes regularly in the Super Late Model and has a few starts in the Modified.
Super Late Model Debut
Fletcher Whaley, who competes part-time in the 602 Tour Super Limiteds and at Bowman Gray Stadium, will make his Super Late Model debut in the PASS South feature. Whaley will be driving a car for Rudy Roberts. The car will be setup by Jay Hedgecock and they hope to have a strong performance right out of the gate this weekend.
602 Modifieds Take Flight
After a couple of exhibition races last year for the 602 Modifieds the series is ready to take flight this season. The brainchild of former 602 Tour owner David Sell, the 602 Tour Modifieds is expected to grow significantly over the years as an introductory series for those wanting to compete in Modifieds but they’re not quite ready for a full-blown tour car. Brian Loftin, Cody Norman, Dean Lowder and Brad Robbins are among the drivers expected to compete this weekend.
Precision Built Spindles and New Day Motorsports have posted $900 in Pole Award money for this weekends festivities at Caraway Speedway. $500 of that money goes to the pole winner in the Southern Modified Racing Series with $300 to the fastest Super Late Model in PASS South qualifying. $50 each will go to the 602 Tour’s fastest qualifiers in both the Super Limiteds and the Modifieds.
Like a Rock
Veteran Late Model Stock Car driver Rock Harris won the championship last year in the 602 Tour Super Limiteds and this year he’s going to be gunning for his second straight title. Harris will be looking to fend off younger challengers for the championship trophy as well as chasing wins. His son Austin Harris will be one of those younger challengers and he’s coming fresh off a victory in the Charger division at Caraway Speedway two weeks ago.
When the green flag drops on the 602 Tour Super Limiteds two brothers will be looking to see who can outrun who. Ryan Robertson, who over the years has competed in the UARA-STARS Series and has won Sportsman races at Bowman Gray Stadium will be looking to keep his younger brother Chase Robertson behind him as they both compete in the Super Limited series.
With four touring series and the feature division for Caraway Speedway, the ticket for this Sunday’s RGS Products 125 is an exceptional value at $20 for adults, $5 for kids 6-12 and five and under free. Where else could you see the PASS South, Southern Modified Racing Series, 602 Tour Super Limiteds and Modifieds and the local contingent of Limited Late Models in one race for just $20?
For more information on Caraway Speedway, visit their newly redesigned website at www.CarawaySpeedway.com or visit them on Facebook at @caraway.speedway. You can also call the track office at 336.629.5803