SEUSS DOMINATES RACE
ASHEBORO , N.C. - Brian Loftin's early-season success allowed him to cruise to the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour championship Saturday night at Caraway Speedway.
Loftin finished third in the Whelen 150, the final race of the season, to clinch his first NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Championship. Loftin, who had collected a tour-high four wins, needed only to finish seventh or better to hold off challengers Tim Brown and L.W. Miller.
“This is awesome even though it hasn't sunk in yet,” Loftin said. “This is all kind of surreal right now. I kind of doubted if we could seal the deal and pull this championship off. So many thoughts ran through my head all week even tho I tried not to think about it. This is awesome and the biggest night of my racing career. I just have to thank all the guys on my team because they're the ones that made this all happen.”
Andy Seuss won the race for his second NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour career victory. Brown finished second and Miller in sixth.
“It seems like it's been a long time since I won one of these Whelen Southern Modified Tour races,” Seuss said. “It's been a long time since Riggs Racing has won a race so I'm just happy to win for them. They earned their money today because they worked hard from the start of the race all through qualifying. It was kind of like throwing calculated darts at the board.
“I'm just glad to get these guys back to victory lane because (team patriarch) David Riggs had a stroke earlier in the week so hopefully this will make him feel a little bit better.”
Loftin ended up winning the championship title by 30 points over Brown and 82 over defending champion Miller. Those three were the only drivers to enter the final race with a chance at the title.
The 31-year-old Loftin, from Lexington , N.C. , is the third different champion in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour's four-year history. Junior Miller - no relation to L.W. - won the first two titles. It is the third straight year Brown has finished second in points.
Brown won the Coors Light Pole Award and started third following the post-qualifying redraw, while Loftin started seventh and L.W. Miller 12th.
Jason Myers led the first eight laps before Seuss was able to take advantage of Brown pressuring Myers to go around both for the lead.
On lap 67, Loftin moved up to fifth. Loftin avoided a major disaster when Junior Miller spun in front of him in Turn 4 to bring out the race's first caution. Loftin was able to dodge Junior Miller's car and avoid any contact. During the extended opening-race, green-flag run, Seuss put all but six cars a lap down. L.W. Miller was among those to lose a lap, but he was able to get it back as the benificiary car from that first caution.
Loftin closed out the race - and his championship season - by picking up spots where he could and keeping Brown in his sights. Loftin's previous best points finish was third in 2005, when he also won four races. He won the final two races in 2007 and finished 12th in points, running in nine of the season's 12 races.
As the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour Champion, Loftin earned a secure spot in the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown. The Showdown, competed in NASCAR Camping World Series cars, will be Jan. 23-24, 2009 at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale ( Calif. ).
Seuss, 21, first NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour win came in April of 2007 at the Music City Motorplex in Nashville , Tenn.
NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour-The Whelen 150 Results
Saturday At Caraway (N.C.) Speedway Asheboro , N.C.
Lap length: 0.455 miles
(Start position in parentheses)
1. (4) #47 Andy Seuss, Hampstead , N.H. , Dodge, 150 laps, 69.075 mph, $2,000.
2. (3) #83 Tim Brown, Cana , VA. , Chevrolet, 150, $1,800.
3. (7) #23 Brian Loftin, Lexington , N.C. , Chevrolet, 150, $1,125.
4. (2) #4 Jason Myers, Walnut Cove, N.C., Ford, 150, $1,250.
5. (9) #28 George Brunnhoelzl, Babylon , N.Y. , Ford, 150, $1,000.
6. (12) #36 L.W. Miller, Mooresville , N.C. , Pontiac, 150, $850.
7. (5) #07 Frank Fleming, Mount Airy, N.C., Pontiac , 149, $750.
8. (19) #25 John Smith, Mount Airy, N.C., Chevrolet, 149, $990.
9. (20) #31 Gene Pack, Myrtle Beach , S.C. , Chevrolet, 149, $590.
10. (1) #8 Jay Mize, Clemmons , N.C. , Chevrolet, 149, $550.
11. (17) #69 Junior Miller, Pine Hall , N.C. , Chevrolet, 149, $525.
12. (22) #99 Jamie Tomaino, Jr., Howell , N.J. , Chevrolet, 147, $500.
13. (18) #98 Rich Kuiken, Jr., Staffordville , N.J. , Chevrolet, 147, $585.
14. (10) #93 Brandon Ward, Winston-Salem , N.C. , Chevrolet, 137, engine, $460.
15. (15) #18 Zach Brewer, Winston-Salem , N.C. , Pontiac , 137, accident, $445.
16. (14) #02 Buddy Emory, Petersburg , VA. , Chevrolet, 136, accident, $430.
17. (16) #7 Thomas Stinson, Chester , VA. , Chevrolet, 128, accident, $420.
18. (6) #14 Bobby Hutchens, Lexington , N.C. , Chevrolet, 120, ignition, $410.
19. (8) #76 Jason Trinchere, Sherrills Ford , N.C. , Chevrolet, 100, accident, $400.
20. (13) #15 Mike Herman Jr., Kannapolis , N.C. , Chevrolet, 92, suspension, $390.
21. (11) #71 Dean Ward, Winston-Salem , N.C. , Chevrolet, 63, power steering, $380.
22. (21) #01 Jay Foley, Stuart , VA. , Chevrolet, 54, handling, $360.
Time of Race: 0 hours 59 minutes 17 seconds
Margin of Victory: .619 seconds
Fastest Qualifier: T.Brown (102.825 mph, 15.930 seconds)
Caution Flags: 5 for 35 laps.
Lead Changes: 1 among 2 drivers.
Lap Leaders: J.Myers 1-8; A.Seuss 9-150.
Standings: 1. B.Loftin, 1780; 2. T.Brown, 1750; 3. L.Miller, 1698; 4. A.Seuss, 1617; 5. J.Myers, 1562; 6. F.Fleming, 1552; 7. G.Brunnhoelzl, 1540; 8. J.Smith, 1398; 9. B.Myers, 1355; 10. R.Kuiken,Jr., 1256.