George Brunnhoelzl III Caps off Dream Season with Win and Championship; Never Give Up Attitude Results in NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Title CONCORD, NC (October 26, 2009) -- You often hear of athletes who have a "never give up" approach to...
George Brunnhoelzl III Caps off Dream Season with Win and Championship; Never Give Up Attitude Results in NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Title
CONCORD, NC (October 26, 2009) -- You often hear of athletes who have a "never give up" approach to their game. That attitude has lead to some of the greatest triumphs in professional sports. On Saturday night, the never-give-up attitude of George Brunnhoelzl III and his family-operated team paid off with a dominating performance at the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour finale at Caraway Speedway (NC). George won the pole, scored the win in the Fall Classic 150, and captured the 2009 Tour Championship.
"That's the perfect way to cap off the perfect year," said an elated Brunnhoelzl. "I couldn't have asked for anything more all year long, and to come out here in the last race and win it-- it's priceless.
"It's something everyone looks forward to their whole life. It's emotional. To be able to come from ups and downs, and go through it all with my dad, the entire family and crew behind me is great. Nobody ever gave up. They stuck through thick and thin for me and it all paid off. "
In 2009, Brunnhoelzl overcame the demons that have plagued his career in years past to put forth one of the most impressive seasons on record for the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour. His victory in the season-ending race at Caraway gave him a total of five wins to go along with seven pole awards in the 14-race season.
"A couple of years ago, if you would have told me I'd have the kind of year I had with all of this success this season, I would have never believed it," admitted Brunnhoelzl. "It is unbelievable, and I feel very fortunate.
"This season is one of those seasons that everything went perfect. Stuff that happened to me this year, if it would have happened to me in seasons past, I'd be out of the race or something would have happened or I would have crashed. This year, every little thing went our way. This year I couldn't have asked for anything more."
Brunnhoelzl and his family savored the moment together in a champagne filled victory lane. After climbing out of his racecar, the third-generation driver shared a long embrace with his father, George, who is also his crew chief.
"It's special to do it with Dad. I owe all of my racing career and my life to my dad. It's really great that we work so well together as a team. A lot of fathers and sons can't get along like that. It's an honor and it is great to be able to do it. He's taught me a lot and has done a lot for me, so it's really special.
The title also carries on a long-standing legacy of Modified excellence for the Brunnhoelzl family.
"It's awesome to add another championship to the Brunnhoelzl name. Dad and Grandpa, Cousins and Uncles have championships. My Dad had a couple on Long Island. I think this is the first Touring Series Championship, so it is definitely special."
Brunnhoelzl's fifth win of 2009 didn't come without a fight. In the closing stages of the Fall Classic 150, he had to fend off the hard-charging John Smith. The two racers went side-by-side in a dramatic last-lap duel to the checkers.
"I used the car up a little too much early and kind of got a little too free, "said George. "We got together a little bit and he (John Smith) got a wheel on me. I slid up a little bit more. We rubbed nerf bars coming off of turn-four and I held it to the mat as hard as I could. It was fun racing. You had to hang on. He'd get into the corner and we'd bang a little bit, bounce off of each other, but we both come out. It was good, hard racing."
Brunnhoelzl was presented the champion's hardware in victory lane, but he could not take the coveted trophy home. He will get his hands on the trophy for good at the NASCAR Touring Series' Championship Banquet in Concord, NC, on November 14th.
"We have the banquet now, so we get to go to that and finally get to bring the trophy home," said a smiling Brunnhoelzl. "We have some of the other trophies in the living room. This one will definitely be in the living room with the others, probably on the TV. It will definitely have a nice home."
Brunnhoelzl and his Championship team will be on track one more time this season. They plan on running the North-South Shootout at Concord Speedway (NC) on November 7th.