South Boston, VA(April 5, 2009) — The Whelen Southern Modified tour rolled into South Boston Speedway Saturday night for round 2 of the 2009 season. With two of the three previous races being rained out and many front runners having trouble in the other race at Concord Speedway, the warm weather and sunshine was a welcome sight for the teams in South Boston VA.

16 cars would take the green flag and racing throughout the field was plentiful, but in the end it was the man in a hurry to leave the track that ended up leaving the field. Andy Seuss was also racing in the Whelen Northern Mod Tour event, the “Icebreaker”, in Thompson, Connecticut the next day, and had to catch a flight the first thing in the morning. Andy was on go from the drop of the green flag Saturday night, as he put the most successful team in Southern modified racing history right back were they are most comfortable, in victory lane.

Tight, tight, tight. That was the complaint throughout the day from the majority of drivers, with the exception of Jason Myers. “I can’t get mine tight enough, it’s all I can do to drive it”, said a frustrated Myers going through the tech line. Jason’s brother Burt, Tim Brown, LW Miller, and Brian Loftin all wished they had Jason’s problem, as they were all pushing up the track, a sentiment shared with everyone including the Late-Models on the card also.

Two drivers that weren’t complaining at all were George Brunnhoelzl III and the car of Seuss. Brunnhoelzl won the Coors Light Pole Award after blistering the field with a time of 14.778, and Seuss locked up the 3rd position. Brunnhoelzl said they hadn’t changed anything all day on the car, and Seuss’s car was much of the same, showing what was soon to come. The redraw put Brunnhoelzl back to 6th, with the new top 5 being JR Bertuccio, Buddy Emory, LW Miller, Burt Myers and Frank Fleming.

The stage was set, and as the green waved, Bertuccio and Emory set sail, and tried to run off into the sunset. It didn’t take long for position to start to shuffle, as Frank Fleming and LW Miller found themselves fighting for their lives as the field was bearing down on them. Lap 3 had Tim Brown getting by Fleming for 4th, and the #28 of Brunnhoelzl was right in tow. Miller now had Brown all over him, and Brunnhoelzl didn’t waste ant time with either, taking Brown on the outside and then disposing of Miller setting his sights on the leaders. Meanwhile, the #47 of Seuss was coming hard from his 8th place starting spot after the draw.

Another driver showing his muscle early was the #71 of Dean Ward. Ward is a known wheel-man in these parts, having driven at Bowman Gray Stadium for years and then moving up to the Late-Models ranks, especially here at South Boston. His car is the one Rusty Harpe was slated to drive before he tragically lost his life in early 2007, and has had limited success after running just a few races. At SOBO the black #71 was on go, as Ward looked to have one of the stronger cars in the first portion of the event. After starting 13th, Ward had ran all the way up to 6th by lap 35, when he made a power move to overtake Brown on the outside. He would get closer to the front as the laps clicked off, but mechanical failure late in the going would keep him from a sure top 5, but they certainly knew he was there.

As Ward, Brown, Miller and Burt Myers put on a show, the cars up front were long gone and two more were trying to catch them. Emory, who had lackluster results in his previous Whelen Tour starts, was driving a rocket this night as he blasted by Bertuccio for the lead on lap 27 and drove away. Brunnhoelzl and Seuss were the fastest cars on the track, knocking off positions as they came to them, trying to get to the front before Emory got out of sight. They would have help on that matter though on lap 45, when former Goody’s Dash Series competitor Zack Brewer would loop his machine around in turn 2 bringing out the caution. Berrtucio would pit from second, putting Brunnhoelzl and Seuss in second and third..

After another caution on the initial restart, things would revel the way the race would go from here on out. Brunnhoelzl would jump to the lead, and on lap 65 Seuss, Ward, and Tim Brown would freight train Emory on the inside, putting the early leader back to 5th. Emory was still having his best run ever in the mods, and stayed with the leaders late until he got loose off turn 4 and slammed the outside wall drivers side first. Luckily, the only thing hurt was the car and his pride as the driver walked to the ambulance.

Up front, it was going to be a two car race for the win on this night, and the two Northern transplants of Brunnhoelzl and Seuss were going to settle it. Seuss was all over Brunnhoelzl for the lead, and made a look inside on lap 80 but couldn’t pull it off. It was just a matter of time though, as the laps clicked off, the faster the #47 got. Six laps later he made his move again, and got by the #28 and into the lead. It was smooth sailing from there, or was it?

The race had been extremely clean for the most part, and as the field was getting strung out it looked to be clear path to victory lane for Seuss. The Buddy Emory caution was still to be had, and that came on lap 126, bunching the field up for a double-file restart. Seuss was able to hold off Brunnhoelzl for that one, but again on lap 143 the caution would fly again for debris on the track. One last shot for anybody who wanted it, but it wasn’t going to be had for the lead, as Seuss blasted off on the restart and was never challenged. Behind them some ole’ friends were roughing each other up, as Burt Myers dive-bombed Tim Brown in turn 3 coming to the white flag to pick up the 3rd spot.

The Riggs Racing team was in victory lane once again. For years, the Riggs Team was the staple of the Southern Modifieds, many of those years with Junior Miller behind the wheel. Miller has been named to NASCAR’s “Top 25 Weekly Drivers of All-Time” list, mainly because of the years he drove the Riggs machine. Junior went into semi-retirement after winning the NASCAR Whelen Mod Tour championship with Riggs in 20005 and again in 2006, and he recommended Seuss to the Riggs team. the team won a race last year at Ace Speedway, but didn’t show the dominance it had in years past. Well, the flash of dominance was back at South Boston and Seuss said “It’s the first of many”. If it’s true, second place is going to be a heck of a fight this year.

Drivers quotes:
Andy Seuss: “We knew we had a good car, it was really tight in practice, which is the way we wanted it, we knew it would loosen up for us. It’s just a great feeling putting this car in victory lane, it was good all day and these guys worked their butts off.”

George Brunnhoelzl: “We really wanted to win, but with all the trouble we’ve had, we’re pleased with second place, we had a good car tonight, we just missed it a little bit. I managed tires early on, I probably needed to manage more but couldn’t sacrifice track position for it.”

Burt Myers: “It was a good run for us, we have been just a little bit off all day and could just never get that back. I managed my tires early because this place eats them up, and just tried to come on their at the end”. About the battle with Tim Brown at the finish: “Me and Tim have been racing together for years, we could run around here for 50 laps side-by-side, beating the fire out of each other and never wreck. Tim went up high in turn 3 and I stuck it in there and it worked. I’ll tell you right now we’re fixing to crest this wave, I’m expecting to rail off about 5 wins in a row at any time now.”

Tim Brown: “We struggled in practice here, I’ll be the first to tell you. We threw a bunch of stuff at it and qualified 3rd, we had a 3rd place car, I screwed up there at the end and let the 1 get by me, it shouldn’t of ever happened. I think I was good as the 28, the 47 had us covered, these new tires threw us a curve ball, but it was better than Concord, we’ll be all right”.

Brown, about Burt Myers getting by at the end: “I drove in the corner too hard and got on the brakes and the nose pushed up and he got by. I don’t mind him beating on me, hell, if you can’t take that in a modified you should just stay at home anyway. We’ll continue to work on it and get it better, we’ll be in victory lane before long”.