After floating around and driving for multiple car owners in 2017, one of the biggest names in southern modified racing, George Brunnhoelzl III, has joined up with one the biggest team names in the south. Brunnhoelzl will race for the DSHR Team, for the 2018 season. Brunnhoelzl and the Westfield, NC based team are tackling the toughest track in the Mid-Atlantic region, they’ll be competing at the legendary Bowman Gray Stadium for the full season in 2018.
“We closed in the deal about a month ago now,” said Brunnhoelzl. “We started talking at the end of last year about the possibility of me racing for them next year, they knew I primarily had been interested in racing the tour stuff and I knew they ran good with James last year at the stadium, so we had to just go through all the avenues to make sure everything worked out and we solidified it then.”
After becoming a well-known tour driver down here in the south for more than 10 years, Brunnhoelzl has accomplished what no other southern driver has done, but this will be Brunnhoelzl’s first time competing in the south at the longest running NASCAR sanctioned track. After much success on the now-defunct southern tour, George is ready to face this new challenge ahead of him.
“I’m really looking forward to it, it’s a new challenge for me,” said West Babylon, NY native. “I’ve won four Southern Modified Tour championships (including three in a row) and won a ton of races down here (28 wins to be exact). I won at Bowman Gray once on the Tour in 2012, but running over there every week is something I haven’t done yet. It would be pretty good to win some races at the Madhouse and hopefully run for a championship along the way.”
George’s past experience at Bowman Gray Stadium is very few compared to others, but in the 9 years he ran with the tour, it’s either been feast or famine. He has quite a track record of qualifying pretty good as his average qualifying position is 4.6, his ending result isn’t what he wanted. “It’s Bowman Gray, I’ve either ran really good or really bad and the last race it was an unfortunate end.” What he’s talking about is a crash in 2016 left him with a fourth broken right shoulder. He had been running really well until a restart forced him to hit the outside wall after a wrong move, but the impact didn’t hurt him, it was the steering wheel being jerked out of his is what caused it.
Brunnhoelzl’s experience goes deeper than running and finishing good and bad, he has sat on the pole twice and he won the 2012 edition where he led a race-high 179 laps. He’s led 441 laps total and he thinks his tour experience could translate into some success and maybe a historical landmark of competing for a championship and rookie of the year honors in the same season.
“I don’t see why I can’t do good in a car that’s nearly the same as the tour cars.” When asked if he thinks he could contend for the title what his chances are with the likes of Tim Brown, Burt Myers, Jason Myers and Danny Bohn, Brunnhoelzl simply replied “I don’t know, we’ll have to wait until after the first week, but I don’t go to a track if I don’t have, I feel like I can week every race I’ve ever raced in.”
While Brunnhoelzl has teamed up with one of the best and longest running operations in the region, he doesn’t have to worry about he and the team gelling together as family patriarch Roger Hill helped “GB3” get his start on the old ASA Modified Series. Brunnhoelzl also knows that running at Bowman Gray, he knows that the long season ahead will require some alterations and a different approach to how he competes at the tight quarter-mile bullring in Winston-Salem.
“You definitely have to go into Bowman Gray with a different mindset. It’s a different type of racing obviously, I’m used to the Tour Mods and we could just conserve and race at the end, but over there you have to be aggressive and patient and let them get around you, but you still have to go show you won’t get lapped over there. You can run hard and fast, but you have to be “passionately aggressive” and if you do that you could win.”
The Bowman Gray schedule is the duo’s number one thing to do in 2018, the new sleek looking No. 79 Walkertown Mill local sponsored team doesn’t plan to just race exclusively there during the season, there’s a good chance they could be running on the Southern Modified Racing Series and an outside possibility they could travel with the companion Whelen Modified Tour too.
“We are still thinking about what other races were going to do. We will play everything by ear and go from there. The team is one of the oldest teams and names from the south that have run both down here and up north. My family name goes back up north to Riverhead where my dad, uncle, and cousin have all raced there, so it’d be nice to go to the Stadium and win a weekly race to connect one bullring to another and a great family heritage to a southern track.”
The 70th season of racing at Bowman Gray Stadium begins on Saturday, April 21 with the Hayes Jewelers 200 for the BGS Modified division.