NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series News
Brunnhoelzl Earns Elusive Win At Bowman Gray Whelen Southern Modified Tour Points Leader
Aug 5, 2012 - updated Aug 5th, 2012 8:25pm
Web posted by Tim Southers
Winston Salem, NC --
A winner nearly everywhere he has gone in his distinguished NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour career, two-time champion George Brunnhoelzl III was missing one notable notch on his belt: a win at Bowman Gray Stadium. On Saturday in the Strutmasters.com 199, that notch was carved out.
Brunnhoelzl, from West Babylon, N.Y., took the lead from polesitter and five-time Bowman Gray track champion Burt Myers on Lap 26 and held on through nine restarts – including a green-white-checker finish – for his first win in five tries at the famed quarter mile.
Tim Brown crossed the finish line second and Cole Powell joined him on the podium in third. Jason Myers and Andy Seuss completed the top five.
Kyle Ebersole, Frank Fleming, Mike Norman, Burt Myers and Danny Bohn brought home the top 10.
The victory was the fourth in six races this year for Brunnhoelzl, the 2009 and 2011 titlist in the Whelen Southern Modified Tour. He also extended his own record for career tour wins to 15.
The win did not come easy for Brunnhoelzl, however. Not only did he have to weather those restarts, but he had to hold off Burt Myers and Ryan Preece, who waged a battle throughout the event for the second position.
Preece and Myers tangled on Lap 194 to bring out the final caution of the night, an event-record 13th yellow. Myers got the worst of it at the time, but Preece later got tied up with Seuss coming toward the checkered flag.
Before Preece and Myers got together, Brunnhoelzl and Preece put on a spirited battle for the lead.
“We definitely had a good car and I kept my eye on Preece because he is always good where ever he goes,” Burnnhoelzl said. “We got together and beat and banged a little, but from what I hear that is Bowman Gray racing, and I hope we put on a good show for the fans because that is what we are here to do.”
The win was also emotional for Brunnhoelzl, who celebrated the birth of his daughter Riley a month ago. He and his wife Heather were finally able to bring her home earlier this week.
“Don’t get me wrong, wins are great, but to be able to bring my daughter home, that takes the cake,” Brunnhoelzl said. “Hands down that is better than anything I could ever ask for [right now].”
The final restart of the race set up the two lap dash to the finish, and after Preece and Seuss got together in Turn 3 on the final lap, it allowed Brown to pick up a runner-up finish despite not having his best night.
“That [last-lap accident] helped me because we had a fourth or fifth-place car tonight,” Brown said. “Thank God I can get around this place even when the car is not good because we just missed it tonight.”
Following Brown through the carnage in Turn 4 was rookie Cole Powell, who picked up his first top-five finish in just his second start on the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour.
The Mt. Brydges, Ontario, Canada driver made the 17-hour commute with his family to the historic track and he enjoyed every minute of it despite having to start the race from the rear of the field.
“I am still blown away from this,” said Powell. “I went a lap down and my crew kept telling me to not give up and kept digging. I just can’t thank my sponsors enough, Tricar and Copp’s Build All. Without them I wouldn’t be here.”
With his fourth win of the season, and third in a row since April 21, Brunnhoelzl was able to add to his lead and now sits in first place by 45 points over place Jason Myers (267-222) who moved into second place by one point over L.W. Miller.
“I can’t believe we came home fourth after the trouble we had tonight with a penalty leaving the pits and falling back on a restart,” said Myers. “We will keep digging and see what happens the second half of the season.”
The race was slowed a series record 13 times by caution for 84 laps – also a series record in a points event since the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour began operating under NASCAR sanction in 2005.
The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour will return to action with the fourth annual UNOH Perfect Storm 150 combination event with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway on Aug. 22.