George Brunnhoelzl III has first NWSMT Career win By Denise Dupont
Scores His First Pole and First Win on First Trip to Lanier National Speedway
George Brunnhoelzl III won his first career race in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour at Lanier National Speedway (GA) on Saturday, August 31st.  The young Brunnhoelzl was all smiles in victory lane as he accepted the first place trophy.
“We had a great day…No…It was an awesome day and the track was good,” said Brunnhoelzl. 

This was the first visit for the Southern Tour to Lanier and the race teams had mixed emotions as they came to the track. Some drivers were excited and ready for the new challenge as they scoped out the track during practice.

The Brunnhoelzl racecar broke during practice laps, which made the car preparation for the main feature real tough.

“We had some problems in practice and broke another transmission,” said Brunnhoelzl.  “The guys really worked hard. I cannot thank them enough. They changed the tranny, the clutch and driveshaft to get us ready to go again.”

His team did an excellent job of getting the car back on the track since Brunnhoelzl took both fast time and the pole. 

“We went out there and sat on the pole which was awesome in itself. Then we redrew sixth and came to the front. We were able to hold it the whole race. The car was unbelievably good. It was just on rails tonight.”

After the win it was time to thank the sponsors and folks that helped Brunnhoelzl get to victory lane.

“I cannot thank everybody enough. Oval Speed, Performance Technologies for an awesome
engine and Brunnhoelzl racing, I mean my dad. I owe it all to my dad without him I would not even be here. I am just speechless I do not know what else to say. It is awesome.” Brunnhoelzl said as he dad proudly watched from the sidelines.

Having his father at the race when he got his first win was a special time for the young Brunnhoelzl as he carries forward the family's racing legacy.

“I cannot describe how special that this win is. We have been racing together for all of my life. This is our first actual racecar win. We have won go-kart championships left and right, but this is our first actual race win and I cannot describe how great it feels to be here with my dad.”

Frank Fleming's car was not as strong as George Brunnhoelzl's so he had to settle for a second place finish.  He started the race from fifth and made his way to the front of the pack to lead the race.

“He (George Brunnhoelzl) had a little bit better car then we did here tonight,” said Fleming.  “I am proud of my team. We started practice and I was probably about an eighth to tenth place car. We worked on our car and made some headway. We made some right decisions and really got the car working good tonight.”
George Brunnhoelzl hoists the hadrware high in victory lane.   (Jim Dupont Photos)
Brunnhoelzl takes the checkers at Lanier. 

“Everybody practiced all day and ended up pretty even. The qualifying times I think were all within three tenths of a second or so. So I think that was a pretty tight field. It made for some pretty good racing because everybody really did not know what to expect.”

“Hat's off to Georgie he has been good all year long and finally chalked up a win. Hat's off to those guys. We will be back in victory lane just have to our act together a little bit better.”  Said Miller about fellow competitor Brunnhoelzl.

Brian Loftin who had won the last three Southern Mod Tour races came to Lanier to make it four in a row. But he had to settle for fourth because his car was not quite there as he tried a charge to the front. 

“At the beginning was where we really struggled. It rained and washed the rubber off the top of the race track. Their local cars only run on the bottom. Our car was so tight that we really needed to get up on the top. About the first fifty laps really killed us after that we could get up through the field when we could get up a groove.
It may have been the rain or finding the right setup for the car but there was definitely something not there for Loftin to make it three for three.

“I think that we had a race car that could have won had circumstances changed a little bit. We definitely had a good race car.”

Even though the Loftin #23 team did not win, they had a fun time and learned a lot. “I think all of us are definitely ecstatic, we have a great bunch of guys here and excellent equipment and so far the results are coming.” 

The top five finish of the race was rounded off by Tim Brown. Brown charged hard, led in the beginning but then with limited practice the #82 team like others just did not find the right setup for their cars.

“We just missed the setup here a little bit. We were just too tight and the car got a little bit tighter as the race went on. Those guys could rotate though the middle and get off just beat us at the end.”
Brown started on the pole and led fin the beginning laps before he was passed.

“We led some laps and had a good run. We got a top five in this feels real good. By no means am I happy with it. We need to be winning races.”

It was not a win but the #83 had a great run at Lanier that they can be proud of. Brown qualified well, redrew to start the race as the leader and led the race for a part of the race.  “It was good though tonight. We got to lead a little bit. We had fun and we will be bringing the car home in one piece.”

The next NWSMT will next race at Caraway Speedway on Saturday, September 6th.

Notes - Lanier National Speedway, Saturday, August 31, 2008

Thoughts on a New Track
Since this was the Whelen Southern Modified Tour's first time at the Lanier National Speedway track what were the driver's comments about the 3/8 mile oval track:

George Brunnhoelzl, III

“The track is a fun track. I had never seen it before today. A lot of people said that it would be hard to pass and it would be follow the leader type racing. It was not that at all. There was plenty of room out there to pass. If you had a good car you could definitely pass the guy in front of you.

“I always love going to a new track that no body has been to in this series and file of cars. It just evens the playing field out. It separates the driver out. Some guys adapt to the new track. I always thought that I did and I just love going to new tracks.”

LW Miller

“I like to see tracks do not get paved. I like to see a place where you have to save your tires. This place in particular is a little unique. You have to run fast and you have to save your tires. You have to be like George Brunnhoelzl. He had the perfect setup tonight. I think that if you are a hair off, you are going to be far off.

“I like to see the tracks that are a challenge and tracks that are different. This one is a little slick more than worn out I think if anything tonight.

“It is a fun little race track. I think that it definitely is a change of pace for us. Not like anything we are use to going to. I enjoyed it, it was fun.”

Brian Loftin

“I definitely like the track. I thought that it was a great racetrack. It was a lot of fun.
There seemed to be two grooves. It seemed that there were people running side by
side most of the night. It was a lot of fun. I definitely hope that we get to come back.

“If anyone had the advantage of being on the track before now it did not show a whole
lot. I think that it was a pretty good race all the way through. We fell back and came
back to the front but I think that it was a pretty even playing field.”

Tim Brown

“I have been to this track before. I raced here a couple of times before. It is not an
advantage though because the track is just wore out. They need to pave this place. It
is a nice facility with beautiful grandstands. It has nice bathrooms and all that they just
need to pave the race track then they will have a wonderful place to race. Regardless of
the rain that took the rubber off the track it still needs paving.”

To Pit or Not to Pit?

Some teams made the decision to pit for adjustments or tires and made it back through the pack while others were not so lucky. Did the #36 team of LW Miller think that a pit stop would have been a good strategy for this race?

“No, the car was good enough,” said Miller.  “The car was good until the last twenty-five laps. And that was because I had to drive it so hard to get up through. It was just so hard to pass. I do not think that it would have helped us at all.”

Tim Brown - New Race Car Still Tweaking It

The #83 team of Tim Brown came to Lanier with a new race car that they are still fine tuning.

“It is a new car and we are still tweaking the car. We will be better. We just have to work on or car and get better. If we come back here next year we will be a little better.

“I could not maintain the lead once I got up front. Everybody's car gave up a little bit. If you have the car setup right you can pass here. It is not easy to pass here but once you get the car setup right you can pass here. You definitely want to start out front and stay there. Unfortunately I started up front and led and then I got passed. That is not what I wanted. You want to run and finish up there.  We will work on it and get better. Things will come around. We will be fine.”

Frankk Freming (#07) leads LW Miller's #36.

Brian Loftin's #23.