HAMPTON — Much of Saturday night belonged to James Civali at Langley Speedway; after all, he dominated the
Whelen Southern Modified Tour's 150-lap feature, leading 116 laps.
But he didn't lead the last one.
Tim Brown did, picking up his first win since 2008 after pushing his way past Civali on lap 132. Brown went low in Turns 3 and 4 to pull alongside Civali for a few laps before getting by and pulling away to a 3.329-second win.
While not a factor most of the night, Brown found speed in the end, thanks to a combination of in-car strategy and a lower line that took Brown onto the access road entering pit lane in Turns 3 and 4.
"I had a game plan in my mind tonight," Brown said. "Every time (Civali) went into the turn, I saw two little haze marks from the tires. I was grinning every time. All I had to do was pace myself, not spin my tires and I had something for him."
Not only did Brown's win snap his lengthy drought, it also gave the evening an emotional touch. He donated the trophy to a 6-year-old girl in attendance named Allie, who's fighting a rare form of cancer. Brown met her before the race and promised that he'd give her the trophy if he won.
After Brown led the first four laps, Civali blew past on the outside in Turn 1 to take command. He would lead the next 70 laps, before a caution on lap 76 for a huge wreck in Turn 2 slowed the field.
Andy Seuss, second in the point standings heading into the race, and Civali traded the lead on a pair of restarts. Seuss slipped past Civali on the lap 76 restart before Civali returned the favor on lap 86. Civali then built a substantial lead and appeared to be running away for the win.
Until, as Brown planned, his tires went away.
"We weren't quite tight enough on the long runs," Civali, who took over the points lead, said. "The tires just went away there at the end and I couldn't keep the car on the bottom."
Saturday's race, which was the Whelen Southern Modified Tour's first trip to Langley Speedway, will be televised via tape delay on Wednesday at 7 p.m. on Versus (Cox digital cable channel 34), and again at 11 p.m. Sunday.
Burt Myers praised the track, which saw its largest crowd of the season, after coming in third following a spirited last-lap battle with Zach Brewer. Both drivers were sideways crossing the finish line.
"This is a real fun race track," Myers said. "As fun as it was for me, it had to be fun for the fans. If you don't like this, there's something wrong with you."
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