SOPHIA, N.C. – By Tim Southers, NASCAR — Brenda Meserve/Speed51.com photo — One of baseball legend Yogi Berra’s famous quotes is, “It ain’t over ‘till it’s over.”
Burt Myers just might start using that quote to describe the outcome of his last two NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour races.
Myers was able to take the lead late in a race for the second straight week and it paid dividends once again.
The Walnut Cove, North Carolina, native took the lead from points leader Andy Seuss on the restart of a green-white-checkered finish attempt and held on to take the Southern Pride 150 at Caraway Speedway for his second consecutive win of the season and 13th career victory.
It was Myers’ first victory at the .455-mile banked asphalt oval since the series’ second event there in April 2005. One week ago Myers led only the final lap in scoring his first win of the season and he led only four laps in his most recent win at Caraway.
Seuss, who entered the event looking for his fifth consecutive win at Caraway dating back to last season and 11th of his career, was forced to settle for a runner-up finish. He was followed by Kyle Ebersole, David Calabrese and Danny Bohn.
Luke Fleming, J.R. Bertuccio, Bryan Dauzat, Daniel Speeney and Gary Putnam completed the top 10.
For Myers, who last won back-to-back races in 2010 (Tri-County Motor Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway), he couldn’t believe how things turned out for him at a track where he hadn’t had much success since the inaugural season of the tour.
“I told my guys (this week) I was really excited about coming to Caraway,” Myers said. “We have run this car about three or four times now and it was a winning car every time and circumstances kept us out of Victory Lane and that is all you can ask for is a car that is competitive.”
While Myers had a fast car he was stuck in traffic numerous times behind Seuss and later Calabrese and could not get by the cars on the outside like he was able to do a week before at Langley.
“I kept telling my spotter to help me work down on the inside because I just couldn’t get by on the outside,” Myers said. “Oddly enough, it was my restart on the outside on the green-white-checkered that allowed me to get a good run on Andy going into Turn 1 and I was able to make it stick and hold on for the win.”
George Brunnhoelzl III, the four-time defending champion, was quick in practice earlier in the day and won his 22nd career pole prior to the event and led for the majority of the first 140 laps.
For the second consecutive week, Brunnhoelzl III appeared to have a win in hand for most of the night, until he suffered a problem late in the race.
While leading with less than 10 laps remaining, Brunnhoelzl III suddenly slowed coming out of Turn 4 and eventually came to a stop on the backstretch to bring out the fourth and final caution of the race and set up the green-white-checkered finish.
A broken rear end eliminated Brunnhoelzl’s chances of capturing his first win since April 22 at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Virginia, and his 11th career victory at Caraway. He finished 12th in the race for his first finish outside the top 10 at Caraway since April 11, 2009.
That opened the door for Seuss to pick up his fifth consecutive win at Caraway – but that outcome wasn’t in the cards.
“I just used up my tires late in the race and Burt was in the cat bird’s seat there at the end and congratulations to him for his win.” Seuss said. “We just didn’t have the same car that we have had in our other four (wins) here at Caraway and we are still trying to figure out our pit stop strategy.”
Ebersole was consistent throughout the race and happy to come home with a third-place finish – his best since he finished second at Southern National Speedway in March.
“My pit crew did a great job getting me out of the pits and picked up some track position on our pit stop,” Ebersole said. “The car got a little better and we were able to get past Calabrese for a top-three finish without a very good car there at the end of the race.”
Seuss was able to build his lead to 23 points over Brunnhoelzl (386-363) in the season championship standings. Myers is now tied in third position with J.R. Bertuccio with 351 points with Bertuccio owning the tiebreaker. Danny Bohn completes the top five with 343 points.
The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour next heads to South Boston Speedway on Sept. 13th for the 10th of 14 events on the 2014 calendar. Seuss won at the track in April to score his first of three wins so far this season.