DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – official series release — Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images North America photo —
After competing full-time on the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour since 2008, Andy Seuss finally captured his first championship last fall. He just hopes his second title doesn’t take as long to win.
Seuss will begin his title defense this Saturday with the season-opening Spring Classic 150 at Caraway Speedway. The usual cast of competition will include four-time tour champion George Brunnhoelzl III, JR Bertuccio and Burt Myers, among others.
“I am excited to get back to racing and racing for wins,” Seuss said. “At the end of last year we were watching the points and now with a new season, we can get back going for the wins. Point racing was just different for me.”
Seuss, from Hampstead, New Hampshire, enjoys racing at the .455-mile track, where he has scored 10 of his 18 career tours wins. He’ll have some tough competition as he looks to defend his win in the Spring Classic 150 from one year ago.
Brunnhoelzl has done even better than Seuss at Caraway with 11 of his 22 career wins at the track. After finishing second to Seuss last year, the West Babylon, New York, native is also hungry for a fifth championship.
In addition to the regular southern tour competition, Seuss will also have to square off against some of the best drivers from the northeastern-based NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour as a trio is expected to make the trip South to run the opener. Leading that group will be the 2014 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby along with Ryan Preece and Eric Goodale. Preece raced three times in the southern tour last season with three poles, one top five and a pair of top-10s.
“This is going to be a great season opener and it is great for the fans, Caraway Speedway and NASCAR when you have the talented field of drivers we are expecting for the Spring Classic 150,” Seuss added. “It’s going to be a great race. We hope to see a great crowd come out and watch some intense and competitive NASCAR Whelen Modified racing.”
The Race: The Spring Classic 150 at Caraway Speedway will open the 2015 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour championship season as the first of 11 scheduled events. This is the tour’s 54th visit to the historic oval, and the first of three this year.
The Procedure: The starting field is 26 cars, including provisionals. The first 23 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials while the remaining three starting spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race is scheduled for 150 laps (68.25 miles) and teams have an opportunity to pit and change one tire during the event.
The Track: Caraway is a .455-mile banked asphalt oval located in rural Sophia, North Carolina. The facility opened in 1966 with a dirt racing surface and was paved in 1972. Caraway, which features NASCAR Whelen All-American Series-sanctioned events on Saturday nights throughout the racing season, has played host more NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour events than any other track in the tour’s history.
The Records: George Brunnhoelzl III owns the qualifying record when he took his Chevrolet on a qualifying lap of 15.648 seconds (104.678 mph) on April 21, 2012.
Spring Fling 150 Notes
Myers Looks to Pick Up Where He Left Off: Burt Myers showed a newfound strength in the second half of the season and it will be interesting to see if the 2010 champion can keep that momentum going to start the new campaign. The 2010 southern tour titlist finished the 2014 season as probably the hottest driver on the tour with four wins in the final seven races.
Others Prepared to Challenge: Last year JR Bertuccio crossed the hurdle of getting his first win in his career and was a consistent performer throughout the season. If the Centereach, New York, driver improves even more this season, he could become the second native New Yorker to win a southern modified crown. Bertuccio will also be joined by veterans Jason Myers, Kyle Ebersole and reigning rookie of the year Spencer Davis as drivers expected to contend for the title as all four finished in the top-10 last season.
New Faces & Partnerships Lined Up: In the expected field of 24 or more cars are a couple of new teams and drivers making debuts this Saturday. Veteran team Jeffreys Racing, led by Grady Jeffreys Sr., is teaming up with driver Jeremy Gerstner to compete full-time. Also making his first start on the tour will be Trey Hutchens II. He is the son of Bobby Hutchens who has made 44 southern tour starts in his career.
NASCAR Home Tracks
Swaim Opens Season With Win: Caraway Speedway opened its 2015 season in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and Travis Swaim picked up where he left off the 2014 campaign. Swaim, who won in his last start in November at Myrtle Beach Speedway, took the lead from Peyton Sellers on the first lap and led the rest of the way to pick up the season-opening win at Caraway in Late Model Stock competition. Sellers, who won the pole award in qualifying, rebounded from an early accident to finish second. Mike Darne, Kyle Dudley and Gene Kepley rounded out the top five. The race was slowed just three times for caution.
CREDIT: Tim Southers / NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications