ANDY SEUSS TAKES DOMINATING LANIER WIN
Andy Seuss had meticulously made his way forward from his seventh place starting spot to take the win at Lanier. The win was the young Hampstead, New Hampshire driver’s second of the season.
“I’m absolutely pumped, this car was unreal,” said an elated Seuss. I am just happy, this crew worked so hard and we worked harder than anyone else in practice, we ran over 100 laps in practice. We changed everything over and back up until the last minute and I think that is what it’s going to take this year with the competition level where it’s at. I just can’t think everyone enough; they make it possible for me to come down from New Hampshire to all of these races. I am just living the dream right now.”
Seuss had to overcome two major obstacles to get the win. First, he had to take the lead from the driver who has won the other two Southern Mod Tour races, Ted Christopher.
“He (TC) knew I was faster and he pretty much let me by, but it was sweet to pass him after finishing second to him last week,” admitted Seuss. “It has been neat to see our names up on websites and things. When he was coming down to Caraway it was us versus him. The past two races have been a lot of fun racing against him. We have had our differences in the past but we are doing fine now.”
Then, when it looked like the Advance Auto Parts driver had the win in his back pocket, a late race restart put the hard charging Georgie Brunnhoelzl in his mirror.
“I didn’t know what he (George) was thinking. He might have been saving his stuff because he is so good and so good here in particular. He absolutely killed everyone here last year and backed it up with a second place finish. There was no holding back on that restart, I drove as hard as I could because I know how good he is and that is how we are going to have to race him all year long.”
TC DOMINATION COMES TO AN END
Both races that “TC” Ted Christopher has entered with the Joe Brady owned #00 have resulted in a trip to victory lane. TC couldn’t pull off the hat-trick though at Lanier. The defending NASCAR Whelen Mod Tour (northern) Champion led some laps, but an ill-handling car led to a disappointing seventh place finish.
“The stagger just took off,” said TC. “It was unbelievable. We had three and half inches and we should have had three inches. You can’t drive it with a half an inch too much stagger, it just won’t go. I knew the race was going to be that way, where it didn’t have any cautions, and that just killed it even more. It just kept growing the right rear. I would like to win them all but you just can’t win them all.”
When walking out of TC’s trailer, the veteran driver perked up with a smile and jokingly said “Hey, you can say… I beat up on the Rebels enough; it’s time to go home.”
GBIII IS THE MAN ON TOP HEADED INTO THE BREAK
George Brunnhoelzl III has consistently had the best car every race during the first-half of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season. At Lanier, he scored his third consecutive Coors Light Pole award. After the re-draw, Brunnhoelzl started sixth. He got shuffled back at the start but slowly clawed his way to the front and settled for a strong second place run.
“We are real happy with this second place finish, said the defending Lanier race winner. “We always go out there and want to win but anytime you can finish a race in first or second it is a good night. It would have been a fairy-tail story to come here two years in a row and sit on the pole both years and win both races. You can’t win them all and if you aren’t going to win, second place is the best place to be.”
The second-place finish has George up by two-points in the overall standings over race winner Andy Seuss heading into the Summer-break.
“We’re looking forward to the rest of the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour season,” said George. “We will do some testing here during the break and see if we can learn some more to build on so we can go get them at Caraway.”
LW vs. BURT PART 265
It seems like Burt Myers and LW Miller have become a magnet for each other on the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour. Their battles have been well documented. Those battles have often ended in some harsh words and hot tempers.
During the closing laps of what wasn’t the most colorful race, LW and Burt brought the fans out of their sleep and onto their feet with a spectacular side by side duel for the third spot. They touched coming to the white flag and in turn one of the last lap, Burt spun. No hot tempers after this one though, just disappointment from Myers.
“Well we hit in (turns) three and four coming to the white,” said Myers, “and it turned me sideways. I pretty much had it jacked up out of shape all the way down the front stretch. When I got to the corner we both hit and it turned me sideways and my left front hit the flat on the apron and it just turned me right around. With these tires we are on, you are just sliding around at the end of the race and you are going to bounce off of the guys around you. LW and I were racing hard. He probably leaned on me and I probably leaned on him but it was for third place. We were both racing as hard as we could and I just got the bad end of the deal this time.”
"Obviously Burt got to me on the last few laps and ran me real hard," said Miller. "We had some good racing going on. He was inside of me for about three laps and they were counting down laps. With two to go, he ran me up the track a little bit. They said one to go, and I have been in that position before on the inside and you run the car straight up the track and try to run the guy into the marble. He ran me up and I ran him down and we got together and he spun out and I almost spun out. It was hard racing, I expected him to run me up the track and he did. I am sure he expected me to hold him down and I did. I think it was a matter of nobody was going to give on the last lap. It was fun and it was good racing.
Both drivers have not had the results they had hoped for in the first part of the Mod Tour season. Only one of the two were happy at the night’s end.
“Typically I wouldn’t be happy with third place,” added LW, “but the way our season has been going I will take a third because it means we are heading in the right direction.”
“It was just bad luck and it is getting pretty frustrating,” said a disheartened Myers. “I think I have lost about 50 points on the last lap during the last two weeks. Last week we ended up tenth when we should have been fifth and tonight we ended up eleventh while we were going for third.”
NOT A WALK IN THE PARK FOR BERTUCCIO
The weather during the day at Lanier was near vacation-like conditions. The day for JR Bertuccio and the Bear Motorsports Team was far from a Disney-like experience. Bertuccio crashed in practice and the crew had to thrash to get the car ready for qualifying and the race. In fact, at one point three large crew members were hoping on the car trying to straighten out some of the bent bars.
“It didn’t start off too well and it really didn’t end to well either, they are in one piece though,” said Bertuccio after his eighth place result. We went out in practice and ran about ten laps and blew a radiator hose and I slapped the wall and the left side went around and slapped the driver’s side in. It just cleaned off the left slide suspension and that was about it, it didn’t end up too bad. It took us about three hours to fix everything so we will take the eighth place.”
FLEMING EFFORT A FAMILY AFFAIR
One of the nicest sights any week during a NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour race is to watch the pit area of Frank Fleming. In it you will see a true family affair. Frank’s brother Chris, a Modified racer himself, is Frank’s crew chief. Also helping on the crew is Frank’s nephews, Chris and Luke.
“Chris, Luke and Jordan have always helped me,” said Frank with a smile. “Jordan has been spotting for me since this race at Lanier last year. He is sixteen years old now. It feels great, Chris and I have grown a lot closer in our older years. He has always helped me race.”
Fleming started on the pole at Lanier and faded back to a disappointing 10th place finish. Although he knew it wasn’t his night, he was happy to talk about the family effort that makes coming to the track a great experience, no matter what the result.
“It takes a lot of money to run these cars, so we have always helped each other out. There has been a countless number of late nights they have spent in my shop helping me get one of my cars ready.”
Both nephews are making their own plans to race this year at Bowman Gray Stadium as well as their father, Chris, who will pilot his car in several Stadium shows with a very familiar crew chief… his brother Frank.
SEUSS GETS TO CELEBRATE WIN AT NHRA EVENT IN GEORGIA
“Any day at the races is fun,” said Andy Seuss a day after his Lanier win. Seuss, his father and two team members got to enjoy a fun day at the NHRA Summer Nationals at the Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, GA.
“It was nice to sit back and relax and enjoy all the festivities at the NHRA event. The coolest part was hanging out with Cruz Pedregon (NHRA Funny Car driver) and the whole Advance Auto Parts VIP deal. The meals, raffles and tour of the trailer was great. To have any questions we had about Drag Racing answered by Cruz himself was pretty neat. We had a lot of questions about the chassis design and the engine rules and it was pretty neat to have his personal honest answers like we were hanging out in a garage talking about hot-rods. It was real neat, with all the success he’s had, that he took the time to hang out with us.”
“They caught wind of our win we had on Saturday night and a lot of people were asking us about it. They wanted to know ‘what is a NASCAR Modified?’ Speed51 had some pictures there so we were able to show them. They were all excited about it. We were interested in the Drag Racing stuff and a lot of people were interested in the Oval Track racing we do.”
CLUCKS AND CLACK PROVIDE COMIC RELIEF DURING DOWNTIME
Often times during a dramatic night at a short track you hear someone say “there’s just something in the air.” At Lanier National Speedway what is in the air can often provide a un-pleasant face to go along the racing excitement. When the wind blows, the wonderous odor from a nearby chicken farm flows across the Lanier Landscape. Light-hearted, track owner Donnie Clack joked on the PA System with the crowd about the smell.
“Ya’ll smell that perfume factory over there?" asked Clack. "Raise your hands if you like Zaxby’s or Chick-Fil-A. That’s what it smells like before they cook it. Next time you get a chicken biscuit you’ll know where it came from. That’s the chicken farm over the hill there.”
-Only 14-cars showed up for the Lanier 150. It was the series lowest car count of the season. One of the teams not at the track was the Hillbilly Motorsports Team and Ronnie Silk. A team member told Speed51.com that the purse wasn’t worth the trip. -Jason Myers was one of the top cars all day. He spun during the race and fought his way back up to a respectable 5th place finish. The effort was the Jason’s best of the 2009 Tour season. -Bud Emory stayed smooth all day and showed some poise in a sixth-place run. The run was Emory’s best of the season. -Tim Brown was quickest in practice, but the race was a completely different story. Brown struggled to an 11th place finish. Besides a 4th at Concord, Brown has not had the finishes that he had expected for the 2009 season. -A lot of talk around the Southern Mod pits has been about a new television series that is set to start production soon. “Carolina Nights” will feature several Modified drivers and center on the action at Bowman Gray Stadium (NC). The show has been picked up by The History Channel. -The Tour is now on “Summer Vacation” until July 3rd when they return to action at Caraway Speedway (NC). Bowman Gray Stadium takes over the (NASCAR) Southern Mod scene with weekly racing starting on Saturday night April 25th.