George Brunnhoelzl III Steals the Show in Southern Mod Opener at Concord Speedway; After Starting From The Back, Third-Generation Driver Rockets Up to Third-Place Finish CONCORD, NC (March 23, 2009) -- Bad luck at the track is something ...
George Brunnhoelzl III Steals the Show in Southern Mod Opener at Concord Speedway; After Starting From The Back, Third-Generation Driver Rockets Up to Third-Place Finish
CONCORD, NC (March 23, 2009) -- Bad luck at the track is something every driver wishes they could escape, but it is an inevitable reality that strikes some when they least expect it. Sometimes, though, if struck early enough in a weekend, a driver and team can overcome the obstacles thrown their direction and turn their day from junk to gold.
George Brunnhoelzl III knows exactly what that feels like, as the third-generation racer entered the 2009 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour season opener at Concord Speedway (NC) Saturday. After a few laps of practice, Brunnhoelzl's car experienced a part failure, forcing the team to miss qualifying and the autograph session while they changed the engine. After buttoning it up just before the race started, Brunnhoelzl turned his bad luck around by flying through the field from the back to finish third at the checkered flag.
The smiles on the faces of the Brunnhoelzl crew at the start of the day quickly turned upside down, as the team realized they had issues early with the engine. With the help of another team, the #28 Mod had a swarm of crew members thrashing to take out the old power plant to put in the new.
"We unloaded here, and we struggled a little bit," said Brunnhoelzl. "We were on tires from last year, so we were just trying to shake the car down. We ended up having a part failure and ended up having to get another motor.
"I have to put a big thank you out to Hillbilly Racing. Those guys lent us a motor. It is a PT motor and this thing was awesome. It would haul tail down there. I can't thank those guys enough. They all pitched in to help; everyone worked their butts off trying to get this thing changed around. I have to thank Oval Speed too. Uncle Dennis (Freese) flew all the way down here to watch me, and worked his butt off to change that motor."
While north Modified ace Ted Christopher was ahead of the pack up front, the eyes of the fans were glued on Brunnhoelzl as he zipped around traffic at the start of the race on the outside from his 20th starting spot. By lap 25 of the 150-lap event, he was sixth. By the halfway mark in the race, he moved into second, right behind Christopher. When a caution flew late in the race, it appeared Brunnhoelzl would have a shot at Christopher and the top spot, but contact from another Modified on the restart got the #28 sideways, dropping him back to his eventual finishing spot of third.
"Nobody moves up, and when you have new tires or good tires at the beginning of the race, you can move up," explained Brunnhoelzl. "As the tires get older, you have to take what you can get. We didn't have the practice we needed and we started last on the field. If we would have started up front, we wouldn't have burned up the stuff that bad. All in all it was great."
While the beginning of the day wasn't what he wanted, the end result was very satisfying to Brunnhoelzl, who finished third in the race, but first of the Southern Tour drivers that will be competing for the season championship. The confidence in his team and momentum of a great start to the season has Brunnhoelzl ready to tackle any challenges the rest of the season.
"I am really excited. The car has been awesome, and PT motors are phenomenal. They have all the power in the world. We are looking forward to a real good year. We started this season saying we were going to run for a championship and we have our mind set on the championship from here on out."
Next up for George Brunnhoelzl and the #28 Modified team is a double-header weekend in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour schedule, starting with the Friday, March 27th, event at Ace Speedway (NC), concluding with the Saturday, March 28th, event at Caraway Speedway (NC).