DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – By Tim Southers, NASCAR — James Price/Getty Images for NASCAR photo — When the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour made its first visit to Southern National Motorsports Park, veteran competitor JR Bertuccio was hoping to just build off of his career-best finish of third at Caraway one week earlier.
Little did Bertuccio or many of his fellow competitors realize what was about to happen. Bertuccio was able to get around pole-sitter and four-time series champion George Brunnhoelzl III on Lap 11 and remained out front the rest of the way for his first career tour victory.
Bertuccio took the momentum from that win in March to enjoy his most successful season to-date, having added another win to his resume after finishing the highest of any southern modified driver at the combination event with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at Bristol Motor Speedway in August. Bertuccio has remained in the top five in the points standings all season and has collected eight top-10 finishes in 10 starts so far.
Bertuccio stands fourth in the standings entering this weekend’s Southern National 150 and will try and go for the season-sweep at the .4-mile track located in eastern North Carolina.
The Race: The Southern National 150 will be the seventh all-time race for the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour at Southern National Motorsports Park, and the second of two in 2014.
The Procedure: The maximum starting field is 26 cars, including provisionals. The first 23 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials. The remaining three spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race is scheduled for 150 laps (60 miles) with teams having an opportunity to pit and change one tire during the event.
The Track: Southern National is a .4-mile high-banked asphalt oval located in Lucama, N.C. The facility features NASCAR Whelen All-American Series-sanctioned events on Saturday nights throughout the racing season, headlined by the late model division.
Race Winners: There have been five different winners across the six previous Whelen Southern Modified Tour events at Southern National. Burt Myers is the only driver to win multiple times at the track.
Pole Winners: As with race winners, there have been five different pole sitters in the six previous Southern National tour races, led by L.W. Miller’s two. Miller also holds the track qualifying record at 14.251 seconds and 101.046 mph, set on Sept. 13, 2008.
Southern National Race Notes
Myers Leads Returning Winners: Burt Myers is the only driver to score multiple NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour victories at Southern National. picking up wins in 2008 and in the spring race last year. Andy Seuss won this event last year with JR Bertuccio the remaining previous winner in the field.
Rookie Battle Getting Closer: While Spencer Davis continues to lead the rookie of the year standings, Joe Ryan Osborne is staying close. Davis won rookie of the race honors last weekend at South Boston Speedway while Osborne took home honors at Caraway Speedway two weeks ago.
Still Looking for a Win: Jason Myers is the only 2013 winner that has yet to make a return trip to Victory Lane this season. The younger brother of Burt Myers has three career wins.
Home Tracks: Lemons Jr. Clinches Track Championship
Tommy Lemons Jr. doesn’t have to wonder about what could have been this year after last season’s runner-up finish at South National Motorsports Park. Lemons easily outdistanced Myatt Snider for the track title, clinching it last Sunday afternoon. Lemons has used his success at Southern National to propel him into the top-10 in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national standings, having scored six wins this season.
Lemons currently sits fourth in the North Carolina state standings with one week remaining in the season. He is also the defending winner of Martinsville Speedway’s famed 300 held every October for Late Model Stock cars.
Last Time Out: South Boston
The 2014 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour schedule returned to South Boston for the second time and the fans were treated to another great finish in the South Boston 150. Kyle Ebersole held off Andy Seuss in the closing laps while maneuvering around lapped traffic to pick up his second career win. Here are some highlights from the South Boston 150:
- After scoring several disappointing finishes recently, George Brunnhoelzl III finished third at South Boston to score his fifth top-five finish in seven starts at the track.
- Burt Myers continued his second-half surge in the 2014 campaign with his fourth straight top-five finish, coming home fourth. Myers was attempting to win his third consecutive tour race.
- JR Bertuccio finished fifth for his fifth top-10 finish in the past six races.
Next Time Out: Caraway
The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour will return to Sophia, North Carolina, for the fourth of five events in 2014 at Caraway Speedway for the Zooland 150 on Saturday, Sept. 27. This will be the first of two visits to the track in consecutive weeks as the tour returns on Saturday, Oct. 4 to hold a postponed race originally scheduled for April.