Once teammates, and longtime checkered flag contenders, the ties that bind George Brunnhoelzl III and Andy Seuss seem to become more entangled by the week.
Six of the last eight NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour races have finished with the pair atop the rundown – three of the last four to end 2013 and three of the first four to begin 2014. In all it has happened 14 times since 2009, including this past Saturday at Langley Speedway.
So who has the edge? In those 14 instances of 1-2 finishes, Seuss has the advantage 11-3. When you talk about overall wins, Brunnhoelzl maintains a 21-17 edge. Then there’s the matter of the four championships for Brunnhoelzl, a category Seuss has yet to register a tally, which is the ultimate tiebreaker.
But if you go back to just those last eight races, Seuss has distinct bragging rights. Before last Saturday, Seuss was the winner in the previous five 1-2 finishes between the pair, and he could very easily have won at Langley, but Brunnhoelzl came out just ahead of Seuss in a green-white-checkered flag finish.
As the southern tour returns to Caraway Speedway for this Saturday’s Bunny Hop 150, the Brunnhoelzl-Seuss matchup figures to intensify. The two have combined to win 11 of the last 14 races at the .455-mile oval, including the previous five. Seuss is currently riding a three-race winning streak at Caraway, a feat that even Brunnhoelzl hasn’t accomplished in accumulating a track-record 10 wins. If Seuss is able to keep the streak alive this week, it would be fitting that his Caraway wins tally would then rise to match Brunnhoelzl’s total.
The Race: The Bunny Hop 150 is the fifth race on the 2014 schedule for the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, now in its 10th season. It will be the 50th running of the tour at Caraway Speedway.
The Procedure: The maximum starting field is 26 cars, including provisionals. The first 23 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials. The remaining three spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race is scheduled for 150 laps (68.25 miles) with a 10-minute break at or near the conclusion of Lap 75.
The Track: Caraway Speedway is a .455-mile banked asphalt oval located in rural Sophia, N.C. The facility opened in 1966 with a dirt racing surface and was paved in 1972. Caraway, which features NASCAR Whelen All-American Series-sanctioned events on Saturday nights throughout the racing season, has hosted more NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour events than any other track in the tour’s history.
Race Winners: There have been 11 different winners across the 49 previous Whelen Southern Modified Tour events at Caraway, led by George Brunnhoelzl III with 10.
Pole Winners: Seven different drivers have earned Coors Light Pole Awards at Caraway since the inaugural event in 2005. Burt Myers leads that contingent with 13. George Brunnhoelzl III holds the track qualifying record at 15.648 seconds and 104.678 mph, set on April 21, 2012.
Caraway Race Notes
Caraway Milestone: Saturday’s Bunny Hop 150 will be the 50th NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour event at Caraway Speedway. The Prestoria Farms 150 on March 29 would have been the 50th, but that date was postponed due to rain. In the now 10 years of tour competition, no other track has held more than nine races.
Myers on the Move: Due to varied circumstances, Burt Myers has been well behind is career hallmark as an up-front starter this season, but he’s more than made up for it once the green flag falls. Through 108 career races, Myers maintains an average starting position of 4.9, thanks to a Whelen Southern Modified Tour record 26 Coors Light poles. But in 2014 it’s been a different story as the first four races have seen him saddled with an average starting position of 12.8. The veteran hasn’t let that keep him from running near the front, however, as he’s recorded an average finish of 5.2, which is tied for third best among all competitors.
Credit Doctor On Call: Mike Norman will have Hometown Auto & Credit sponsoring his No. 12 Chevrolet this week at Caraway. Known for their local television commercials, Hometown’s “Credit Doctor” will be on-call at Caraway to support Norman and to meet race fans during the autograph session.
Home Tracks: Caraway
The 2014 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series season is well underway at Caraway Speedway and Robert Tyler is out to the early lead in the headlining late model division. Tyler has a win and 146 points through three races to lead defending track champion Ryan Wilson by 12 tallies. Dillon Bassett and Travis Swaim won the other two features. The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour will be joined on the race card this Saturday by four NWAAS divisions, including a 100-lap late model feature.
Last Time Out: Langley
The fourth race of the 2014 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour season took place on Saturday, April 12 at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va. Here are some highlights from the Courtyard by Marriott/Pepsi 150:
• George Brunnhoelzl III grabbed the lead on Lap 84 and held on through two highly-contested late-race restarts to secure his first victory at the track.
• Ryan Preece earned the Coors Light Pole Award in his fourth-straight Whelen Southern Modified Tour appearance and led 59 laps before a fifth-place result.
• Second-year driver David Calabrese (third) and rookies Bobby Measmer Jr. (seventh) and Joe Ryan Osborne (eighth) all established career-best finishes.
Next Time Out: Caraway
The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour will go on spring break until July 4 when it returns to action at Caraway Speedway. George Brunnhoelzl III is the defending winner of the Independence Day event.