* Brunnhoelzl Heads To Caraway In Hope Of First Win * Brian Loftin Has Momentum On His Side Following Victory * Andy Seuss Battles Ace Adversity To Solid Caraway Effort Brunnhoelzl Follows Family Path To The Race Track ASHEBORO, N.C. -- If...
* Brunnhoelzl Heads To Caraway In Hope Of First Win
* Brian Loftin Has Momentum On His Side Following Victory
* Andy Seuss Battles Ace Adversity To Solid Caraway Effort
Brunnhoelzl Follows Family Path To The Race Track
ASHEBORO, N.C. -- If you walk up and down pit road at any NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour event and ask the drivers and crews about who they think is going to be the next future star on the horizon, more than a few people will point towards George Brunnhoelzl III as the driver to watch.
Racing isn't just a hobby for Brunnhoelzl -- it's the only way of life the 25 year-old resident of Mooresville, N.C. has ever known.
"My family has always been in racing and now I'm a third generation driver," Brunnhoelzl explained. "My grandfather and my dad raced Modifieds, so I grew up watching them and wanting to do what they were doing. I'd say I was going to races before I was even born with my mother going to watch my dad race. I got addicted to racing at an early age and I still love it.
"There really wasn't ever any question of what I wanted to do with my life. Once you're around racing long enough, you either love it or you hate it. I love it."
Brunnhoelzl (No. 28 Oval Blue Ford) followed in the Modified path that was paved by his dad, George Jr., and seemingly every other member of his family over three generations. Brunnhoelzl would work on his family's Modifieds while living on Long Island, New York, helping the family at the track at places like Riverhead Raceway before getting behind the wheel of a 600-horsepower Modified for himself in 1999.
"I ran my first Modified race at my hometown track in Riverhead when I was 16 years old," Brunnhoelzl said. "After I moved down here to Mooresville (N.C.) I ran the Modifieds for a while before I started racing in the Hooters Pro Cup Series. I ran that series for a couple of years before I came back to the Modifieds and it's been a lot more fun."
Once Brunnhoelzl graduated high school, he moved to North Carolina to further his racing career and help out the family business of building jacks and other pit equipment as the vice-president of Brunnhoelzl Racing Inc.
Most of the top NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series teams use the jacks that Brunnhoelzl Racing builds.
"The whole deal with the jack business started with my dad who wanted a jack that was lighter because he didn't have a lot of people helping him out in the shop so he needed to move the car around by himself," Brunnhoelzl said. "One night he decided to make his own jack, and he came up with a very crude aluminum jack. Before long, a lot of the other teams wanted one for themselves and from there it's just evolved into a very successful business.
"I guess that was about 25 years ago and dad was the first one to come out with an aluminum jack. I believe we have a very good reputation, and our company prides themselves because each jack is hand-tailored so we can accommodate each jackman and their special needs."
All Brunnhoelzl Racing products are made in the United States.
Business is good for Brunnhoelzl and family, but for right now the focus is on him scoring his first career Whelen Southern Modified Tour victory. His next chance will be this Saturday night in the Whelen Southern Modified Tour 150 at Caraway Speedway.
Brunnhoelzl came painfully close to ending his winless skid last Friday night at Ace (N.C.) Speedway, running on leader L.W. Miller's rear bumper until just past the halfway point when he experienced mechanical problems.
Brunnhoelzl would finish the Ace race with a disappointing 15th-place finish but rebounded in a rare Whelen Southern Modified Tour doubleheader the next night at Caraway with a fourth-place finish which moved him to 10th in points.
"It's kind of aggravating to come so close to winning my first race on the Whelen Southern Modified Tour," Brunnhoelzl said. "It's hard to accept that we were so close to winning at Ace because we had one of the cars to beat. It's aggravating but it's also exciting because I know I can win one of these races pretty soon. I know I can do this."
Miller, the defending NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion, admits that the young Brunnhoelzl is taking all the right steps in his goal to pursue a career in the NASCAR world.
"George and that whole team have done a great job so far this season after they struggled a little bit last year," Miller said. "They regrouped over the winter and built a new car, and it's obviously paying off for them so far this season.
"George is a guy that's going to be tough to beat everywhere we go this season. I have a lot of respect for not only George but his whole family. His shop is only two doors down from my shop, so we've always got along and worked together very well."
Brunnhoelzl jokes that he might be too respectful of his fellow drivers a little more than he should.
"I try to race people clean and a lot of the time I probably race a little too clean," Brunnhoelzl said. "I just want people to race me the same way I race them and be respectful. The biggest thing for me is that the Whelen Southern Modified Tour is a lot of fun. The crowd in the grandstands gets to see one of the best shows in all of racing. It's NASCAR's oldest division, and that says a lot about this kind of racing.
"It's a very laid-back but professional series where everybody is very courteous to one another. It's like one big family when you really think about it. The Whelen Southern Modified Tour has got just a great atmosphere and it's really fun to be a small part of it."
And winning his first Whelen Southern Modified Tour event would be the biggest moment of his racing career.
"That would be the icing on the cake because I'm trying my best to make it happen and happen soon," Brunnhoelzl said. "I want to end this little streak Saturday night at Caraway. It's hard to say what I'd do if I were to win. Hopefully we'll get to see what happens pretty soon."
News & Notes
The race: This event is the fourth of 12 races on the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour schedule. It is the third of six races in 2008 at Caraway (N.C.) Speedway.
The procedure: The starting field is 26 cars, including provisionals. The first 24 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials. The remaining two spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 150 laps (68.25 miles).
The history: Three Whelen Southern Modified Tour drivers hold a current stranglehold in Victory Lane at Caraway Speedway.
Last weekend's Caraway winner was Loftin, who scored his third win in the last four races at Caraway.
In the last 12 races at the famed .455-mile Caraway short track, L.W. Miller and Junior Miller (no relation), won eight straight races before Loftin ended their skid last Saturday night.
Loftin Heads To Caraway Speedway On Saturday Night Looking To Continue His Hot Streak
Often times drivers will begin to show that they have different tracks figured out.
This has shown true for Brian Loftin (No. 23L&R Transmission/QMF Solutions Chevrolet) after taking his first win of the season last Saturday night at Caraway Speedway in the Whelen Southern Modified Tour 150.
It was Loftin's third win in the last four races at Caraway.
The night started out well for the team after a second-place run in qualifying. After a redraw of the top 10 qualifiers, Loftin had to start eighth. He did not stay that far back for long, as he quickly advanced through the field. With 10 laps to go, he passed Andy Seuss for a lead he would never relinquish.
"We knew we had a winning car," said Loftin. "This race gave us the chance to prove it. We were fast in practice and were able to qualify well, so we knew we had what we needed to win."
Carson Loftin, Brian's first child, who was born on March 28, 2008, was not able to be there for Brian's victory, but Brian was quick to say he won it for his new son.
"I am so thrilled to be able to take my baby boy home his first trophy," Loftin said. "My wife (Melissa) and I have had a lot going on lately with his birth and trying to get ready for the two races in two days. This win really made it worth it."
This win came off of a disappointing night on Friday at Ace Speedway in Altamahaw, NC. Loftin was running well when he was involved in a spin before having alternator problems en route to a 17th-place finish.
Next on the agenda for Loftin and crew is Saturday's race at a track he has a lock on.
"We're ready to get back to Caraway and try to win again," Loftin said. "Our whole team has our eye on the championship this year. I really believe we have what it takes to make it happen. I can't thank my team enough for all the hard work these guys put into it. If we keep running well and winning races, the points will fall into place."
#@Seuss Hopes To Get Season Back On Track With Return To Caraway
At the beginning of the 2008 season, Riggs Racing announced their new driver, Andy Seuss from Hampstead, N.H.
After a successful 10 year run with the "King of the Southern Modifieds" Junior Miller, many folks in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour garage area expected the new combination to struggle. Seuss and his family live 765 miles from the Riggs' Martinsville, Va., shops and the team knew communication would be one of the biggest hurdles to overcome.
A quiet Top-10 finish in their debut race together proved that the combination had plenty of potential.
Surprisingly enough, the teams' biggest asset was rain. Two weeks worth. While most teams loaded up and headed back home to work on their cars for the following weeks' race, Seuss and his family capitalized on the time together to share in fellowship, and work on racing terminology they would share for the rest of the season.
Friday night at Ace Speedway, Seuss qualified in the top five and redrew the top spot for the Whelen Southern Modified Tour 150 presented by DMC Auto Exchange 150. Their night would end before the first lap was even completed, though, due to a multi-car crash on the front stretch.
The team rallied around its driver and headed back to Martinsville determined to show the performance at Ace was a sign of things to come. After working through the night on a backup car that still carried Miller's colors, the team installed a motor, Seuss' driving seat, a rear end, and several other parts to bring a car to life that had not seen action since September of last year.
Again, Seuss qualified near the front as he did the previous night. He redrew a front row starting spot and would lead a majority of the event before losing the lead on a late race restart to eventual race winner, Brian Loftin.
A second-place finish for the Advance Auto Parts/Q Racing Oil/Stuart's Towing/Rockingham Boat team in only their third start has everyone excited for the rest of the 2008 season.
The "Spring Break" will give the team plenty of time to rebuild their primary car lost at Ace, and work with Seuss as he races his own Rockingham Boat sponsored car in select NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races.
The Race: Whelen Southern Modified Tour 150
The Place: Caraway (N.C.)Speedway
The Date: April 19
The Time: 8 p.m. ET
Track Layout: .455-mile paved oval
Race Purse: $25,920
2007 Winner: L.W. Miller
2007 Pole: Burt Myers
Schedule: Saturday: Practice 4:00-4:45 p.m., Time Trials 6:30 p.m.