George Brunnhoelzl III Dominates Season Opener
NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour Season Off To Heated Start


ASHEBORO, N.C. – Independence Day may still be a few months away, but the fireworks were at Caraway Speedway on Saturday night.

A restart shortly after the halfway break set up a battle at the front of the field, one that left Andy Seuss' car both out of contention and destroyed. Contact with L.W. Miller's machine as the two tried to make advances on eventual winner George Brunnhoelzl III, left both crews fuming with one another and plenty of hot tempers on a warm spring night.

And it was only the first of two consecutive races at Caraway to open the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour season.

“We are really, really fortunate to be teamed up with Ideal Racing and Eddie Harvey, to be able to come back with another car next week,” said Seuss, who won a pair of races at Caraway last season in the No. 11. “I don't know if we'll fix this car. I don't know if it will ever be another car again. I don't know what the future is (for it), but we'll be back with a red No. 11 next week and we're going to be even better.”

Brunnhoelzl was on the inside of the front row, with Seuss to his outside and Miller behind them in third as the field raced through Turns 1 and 2 on the Lap 95 restart. Contact sent sparks flying, and Seuss' car hit the outside wall hard with the right front.

In Seuss' mind, it was clear what had happened.

“I just got hit a ton from behind,” Seuss said. “From everybody I've spoken to, (Miller's) wheels were turned right. Not shocking. You know, he used to be good, and he's hanging on now. That's fine. It's just a shame for this car. It's such a good car here.”

“Every restart, he was on the inside of me,” said Miller, who ended up third. “(Seuss) drove into me and ran me up the racetrack. So I told my guys, 'I'm going to hold my ground.' I didn't drive up into him and run into him – when he went to chop me off, my right front was in his left rear and it sent him. I mean, he wrecked himself.

“I don't know how they can be so upset, when every restart before that whenever he was on the inside of me, he would drive into the side of me. Don't really care.”

Seuss exited his car and ran all the way along the track to confront Miller, who was parked on the frontstretch with the field under the red flag following the incident. Crew members from both teams had to be separated by officials in the infield.

Car owner Howard Harvey was emotional in Victory Lane, even as he celebrated the win by Brunnhoelzl.

“It's a shame what happened with Andy tonight,” Harvey said. “With that piece of crap that drives the 88, what do you expect? He's messed with the wrong people.”

Jason Myers had perhaps the best seat in the house, riding along right behind the involved parties, but he was willing to say it was a racing incident.

“I understand why they're mad, because their race car is so torn up so bad,” Myers said of Seuss. “L.W. didn't wreck him. L.W. might have got into him a little bit, but L.W. didn't wreck him. I may be completely wrong. L.W. might have turned the steering wheel hard right, gassed up and wrecked him on purpose – but it didn't look like it from where I was sitting.

“It's so hard to tell. The racetrack is so slick on the bottom and with us switching right side tires, I think everybody's front ends were giving up a little bit. L.W. might have slid up into him a little bit, but L.W. didn't look like wrecked his race car. He slid up into him in the center of the corner. That's just racing.”

Seuss, who holds aspirations of being in the championship hunt come season's end, drove all the way from 12th on the starting grid to challenge for the lead before Lap 100. It made the sting of the lost opportunity hurt worse than any physical pain he may have suffered in the actual crash.

He believes he could have won on Saturday night.

“The car was just that good,” Seuss said. “These guys gave me such a good car that it wasn't going to matter (where I qualified). These races have kind have turned into between us and (Brunnhoelzl). We're Ideal Racing teammates, and that's what it was going to be.

“I don't know that I was better than him, but I know I had a lot more left in the car to try and beat him.”

Race: NWSMT Caraway 1 3/31/12

1 1 9 George Brunnhoelzl, III Phoenix Pre-Owned Chevrolet Chevrolet 150 48 5 Running
2 4 4 Jason Myers Trantham Moorefield/Wendell Edwards Ford Ford 150 42 Running
3 3 88 L W Miller Tax Sleyer/Speedco Chevrolet Chevrolet 150 41 Running
4 6 44 Brandon Ward Clemmons Speed Shop/Hire's Automotive Chev 150 40 Running
5 14 25 John Smith Shady Grady Racing Chevrolet Chevrolet 150 39 Running
6 13 79 Daniel Hemric * Hill Enterprises/Coors Light/LeBleu Water Pont 149 38 Running
7 9 23 Brian Loftin QMF Metal & Electronic Sol/L & K Trans Chevrolet 149 37 Running
8 5 1 Burt Myers Adams Towing/Citrusafe Ford Ford 149 36 Running
9 19 33 Gary Fountain * Andy Petree Racing/Race Car Engineering Chevrolet 149 35 Running
10 18 1 Rich Kuiken Flowmasters Testing & Balancing Chev Chevrolet 148 34 Running
11 10 2 J R Bertuccio, Jr Gershow Recycling Chev Chevrolet 148 33 Running
12 7 65 Danny Bohn * Rifenburg Construction/Rustoleum Chev Chevrolet 146 32 Running
13 2 02 Tim Brown Hayes Jewelers/T&C Motorsports Chev Chevrolet 144 31 Running
14 11 40 Frank Fleming Jerry Hunt Auto & Truck Sales/Adams Towing Ford 142 30 Running
15 17 9 AJ Winstead * Clark American Sanders Chevrolet Chevrolet 124 29 Running
16 23 80 Michael Speeney * UNC Charlotte Motorsports Chevrolet 96 28 Engine
17 12 11 Andy Seuss Phoenix Pre-Owned Chevrolet Chevrolet 94 27 Accident
18 16 48 Jonny Kievman A Best Forklift Chevrolet Chevrolet 94 26 Accident
19 22 37 Joe Scarbrough * Hyperion Stud Chevrolet Chevrolet 87 25 Accident
20 24 12 Mike Norman Auto Solution Mag/Perfection Exhaust Ford Chevrolet 79 24 Accident
21 21 77 Gary Putnam Stock Car Steel Chevrolet Chevrolet 78 23 Suspension
22 20 97 Bryan Dauzat O B Builders Inc Chevrolet Chevrolet 78 22 Radiator
23 15 7 Thomas Stinson Cowardin Jewelers/United Solar Chevrolet Chevrolet 77 21 Accident
24 8 51 Kyle Ebersole * Ebersole Excavating Inc Chevrolet Ford 40 20 Suspension

Fastest Qualifier: George Brunnhoelzl, III, Time: 15.807 Seconds, Speed: 103.625 mph
Time of Race: 1 hrs., 6 mins, 53 secs Average Speed: 61.226 mph Margin of Victory: 0.236 Seconds
Caution Flags: Laps 2-6 (#23 spins); 29-31 (#9 spins); 33-35 (#01 spins); 40-42 (#33 spins); 53-55 (#9 spins); 75-77 (80 spins and half way break); 81-86 (#12 spins); 89-99 (#33 spins  went back to green on lap 94--did not complete a lap--#11, 40, 48 wreck --red flag).  8 for 37 laps.
Lap Leaders: George Brunnhoelzl, III 1-150.
Total Laps Led: George Brunnhoelzl, III 150.  0 changes involving 1 drivers.
Top 10 Driver Points: George Brunnhoelzl, III 48, Jason Myers 42, L W Miller 41, Brandon Ward 40, John Smith 39, Daniel Hemric * 38, Brian Loftin 37, Burt Myers 36, Gary Fountain * 35, Rich Kuiken 34
* Denotes Rookie of the Year Contender

Event Photos / Points Standings

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