Three-time defending NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion George Brunnhoelzl III nabbed his first victory of the season, thanks to a great late restart in the Courtyard by Marriott/Pepsi 150 at Langley Speedway.
The victory was the first for Brunnhoelzl at Langley, making Southern National Motorsports Park near Kenley, N.C., the only track scheduled to hold a Southern Modified race this season at which he has not won.
Brunnhoelzl held off points leader Andy Seuss for the win after getting a significant jump when the race resumed on lap 150 following a caution flag for a green-white-checkered finish.
Seuss had been warned by officials for jumping the restart and passing race leader Brunnhoelzl on lap 140. So, to avoid a penalty, Seuss slowed and allowed Brunnhoezl to retake the lead.
Following the race, Seuss, who won two of the first three tour races this season, indicated he felt there was no difference between his earlier restart and Brunnhoelzl’s. Brunnhoelzl’s victory margin of 0.210-of-a-second stood, capping a compelling duel between the two.
"NASCAR said what I did was wrong, but I (saw) it again and it was OK," said Seuss, who won a week earlier at South Boston. "They've got to get their act together.
"We got something pulled on us last week in South Boston, but we were able to overcome."
Brunnhoelzl said, "It's great to finally end up in Victory Lane here. It was fun. It's fun when you're mixing it up, and hopefully we put on a good show for the fans."
Seuss led laps 62-83 before Brunnhoelzl dove underneath him on the backstretch of lap 84 to take the lead. Brunnhoelzl led from there, but they were rarely separated by more than a car-length. David Calabrese, Luke Fleming and Ryan Preece rounded out the final top five.
Practice proved eventful as Kyle Ebersole, the 2013 Southern Modified winner at Langley, broke a right front spring and crashed into the wall off of Turn 2. He packed up his vehicle and headed back home to Hummelstown, Pa.
Shortly thereafter, another Northerner, Preece of Berlin, Conn., made his presence felt in the South by winning the pole. His lap of 97.147 mph is a Southern Modified qualifying record at Langley.
It was the fourth pole in the last four tries on the Southern tour over the past two seasons for Preece, a regular on NASCAR’s Northern-based Whelen Modified Tour. He led the first 61 laps before being passed by this season’s dominant drivers on the Southern tour: New Yorker Seuss and New Hampshire native Brunnhoelzl, who led at the mandatory break after 75 laps.
By that time the tour’s two most recognizable names, brothers Burt and Jason Myers, had experienced trouble. Burt pitted multiple times early with handling problems, before Jason spun into the Turn 2 wall on the 64th lap. Burt would finish sixth and Jason ninth.
CHAMP KART 15
Brandon Lorah captured the pole and led all 15 laps in winning the Winged Champ Kart season opener.
Lorah got drafting help from brother Charlie-Ray Lorah to keep the lead, then held off a last-lap bid from runner-up Tommy Jackson Jr. to secure the win.
Following Brandon Lorah and Jackson to the line were Josh Ayer, Charlie-Ray Lorah and Ryan Hudgins.
GRAND STOCK 40
The Grand Stocks lived up to their reputation for beating and banging with five cautions in their opener.
Suspense was in short supply, however, as Mark Frye won the pole and handled the multiple restarts nicely in leading all 40 laps for his first-ever victory.