WINSTON-SALEM, NC — The Bowman Gray Stadium season is only three official weeks old and already there have been two significant scoring errors that have taken place with the hand scoring that is still done at the Madhouse.
It all started on May 7th with the continuation of the season opener for the Brad’s Golf Cars Modifieds, the Hayes 200. Brandon Ward had spun earlier in the race and was lapped more than once as a result. The team knew this and so did the driver, yet scoring officials showed Ward to still be on the lead lap.
After a lot of the leaders pitted under a late caution for fresh rubber, Ward stayed out and inherited the lead. After a challenge from eventual winner John Smith following a scoring review the next day, Ward held off Smith and others on that Saturday night to claim the Hayes 200 race victory, which is the biggest race of the season for the Modifieds. It wasn’t until after the victory celebration on the frontstretch took place that questions were raised about who the actual winner was.
A day of reviewing the scoring for the race, and each team uses their own hand scorer in long distance races, found that Ward’s scorer wrote down the incorrect information and he was placed in 13th after the review. Ward’s biggest issue is he knew he was not on the lead lap and was trying to get his laps back on the race track and believed he would have had a higher finish if the issue was resolved during the race.
Now we move ahead three weeks to last night’s Sportsman Whelen 100. Again, all the teams use their own hand scorers positioned just behind the flagstand and in view of Tommy Bowman, the head scorer.
On lap 19, there was a multicar accident in turn 1 which involved Zack Clifton, who at the time was in the top five. While Clifton’s car sat idle against the outside barrier the field went past him once before a red flag was displayed to allow safety crews to fix the barrier and remove the other damaged cars.
More confusion became apparent as it was not until lap 91, the final caution flag, that race officials realized their error of Clifton not being on the lead lap. It took five laps of riding around under the caution flag before race officials gave Clifton his lap back, but instead of being in second he was now the last car on the lead lap, which was ninth and a restart that was only one lap instead of five or six.
The track has a scoring loop in place for previous NASCAR K&N Pro Series East races and the annual NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified event held every August. In this time of modern technology, Race Monitor, MyLaps and other electronic scoring, it is time for Bowman Gray to stop the hand scoring and picking where cars lineup and invest in transponders for every car.
We have already seen one win taken away in the top class at the Stadium with Brandon Ward, and if Zack Clifton had made the pass on Tommy Neal to cross the finish line first and celebrate the win last night, there would be another Monday review and results change.
With a hard 11:30pm city curfew, and the time and caution laps trying to get drivers in the correct order, the race fans would be saved time of watching caution laps and instead enjoy racing laps and all divisions get their event in instead of the time wasted with hand scoring the events. The fans should know the correct running order while at the race track, especially to cheer on their favorite. They should not have to find out later that he or she was not where the scoreboard said they were.