LW Miller is Southern Mod Ace at Ace By Matthew Dillner
Controversial First-Lap Wreck Clears the Way for Miller Win
The DMC Auto Exchange 150 at Ace Speedway (NC) was originally scheduled to be the fourth race of the season for the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour. But after Mother Nature put a damper on races two-and-three of the season, the Southern Mod Squad was anxious to get fired up again when they hit Ace. After Ace, some were fired up for other reasons though.
The race got off to a ruckus start. Andy Seuss, who re-drew the number-one starting spot, led the 21-car field to the green-flag. In the course of that first lap, the look of the race took a dramatic turn. LW Miller, who won the pole award for fast time in qualifying, got into the back of Seuss' #47 Advance Auto Parts ride. The Seuss ride spun in-front of an entire field of double file racecars. Needless to say, it wasn't a pretty sight as Bobby Hutchens and Bud Emory couldn't avoid the Seuss' machine as it sat coming out of turn four. Emory slammed violently into the driver's side of the #47 bringing out a lengthy yellow flag. Emory was shaken from the incident while Seuss and Hutchens walked away.
Seuss was not happy with the contact and told Speed51.com that he felt that it was un-called for.
“From my seat, my spotter told me clear into turn-three and to keep it on the bottom,” said Seuss. “Then all of the sudden… smack! It was a hard hit and it wasn't a tap or anything like that. He lifted the back of the car right up off the ground. It was the first lap
of the race and it really wasn't needed. I talked to LW before the race and I told him that I hadn't had a race with my setup and I wasn't going to go hard and if he was faster than me and he could get next to me that I was going to give him the spot. There was no reason to do that.
“I don't race like that and will never race like that. I have never raced him like that so I don't know why he did it. We have a junk racecar because of it and he went on to win the race. The Riggs team makes a lot of their own pars and don't have that much money. We can't just roll a backup car out of the stacker. We had to stay up all night.”
LW Miller (foreground) and #47 team (over his shoulder) weren't getting too near to each other after the race at Ace. (51 Photos)
“I know he (Andy) had a good car in practice,” said Miller, “But I don't know whether he didn't have enough heat in the tires or his tire temps hadn't come up, but he was pretty out of control in turns one and two. When we got down into turn-three he went down in the corner, got loose going in and slid up in the middle chasing the car. At that point he left the bottom open where I could drive up under him. As I started to look down under him he came across and hit the bump coming off the transition of the corner and turned sideways again. At that point I had pretty much committed to turn under him and I clipped him with the bumper on his left rear. It turned him around. I hate that it happened but I couldn't have done anything different to avoid that happening short of if I had not looked under him I would have then hit him square in the ass and turned him around instead of in the side.
“He was out of control and almost crashed in one or two on his own and he did in crash in three and four on his own I just happened to be under him when he came back across.
I'm sure they are mad at me but there is nothing I could have done different about it.”
“We didn't even make three-quarters of a lap,” added Seuss. “Some people think they have to win the race on the first lap and I guess it worked for him.”
The next 149-laps of the race went pretty well for LW Miller although he did not always have the fastest car on the track. Georgie Brunnhoelzl was on rails at Ace and applied the pressure on Miller for much of the race. Unfortunately for Georgie, his throttle stuck causing him a shot at Miller and the win.
“We had a throttle hang up,” explained George after a 15th place finish. “Thankfully for the Tiger-switch, which you can get at Brunnhoelzl Racing…good deal, it saved the car. Without that switch we wouldn't have made it to Caraway the next night. The throttle hung up and I hit the switch and saved it. We came down pit road and had to fix it and went a few laps down. Went back out, right with the leaders behind LW again and rode there for the rest of the night. I think we were the car to beat.”
Miller stretched out his lead for the rest of the race and enjoyed having the lapped car of Brunnhoelzl, who rejoined the field and blended in behind LW, as padding between him and the rest of the field. But just when it looked like LW had the win in the bag, a yellow flag set up a green-white-checker finish.
“When that caution came out,” admitted LW, “I said to myself 'oh man.' With the new restart rule where you can pass to the left and to the right I know it would be interesting. I did a good job protecting the bottom on the restart and pulled a little bit on them. I just went into defense the last few laps. It was a blast.”
LW Miller's unique looking #36 on the track and in victory lane.
For LW it was two-wins in two-races for 2008. A season start enough to make anyone jealous.
“We've won the last two races but haven't exactly been the best car. The first race Ted Christopher was better than me at the end and I held him off. Tonight Georgie Brunnhoelzl was better than me. Everyone knows that you have to know how to use all of the racetrack when it comes down to it. I put myself into the mindset that when I get into the front that they are going to have to take it because I sure won't give it.”
Stay tuned to Speed51.com for more on the big NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour Doubleheader weekend in our “Leftovers” section.
Andy Seuss' #47 car wasn't looking too good after its early contact with Miller.