Brown's Bad Luck Opens Door
Fortune Favors Myers In Southern Mod Opener At Caraway
By Travis Barrett, Special To NASCAR Home Tracks
March 16, 2013 - 11:04pm
ASHEBORO, N.C. There wasn't anybody at Caraway Speedway Saturday who didn't come to the same conclusion: Tim Brown had the best car in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour field.
Brown was fastest in final practice, won the Coors Light Pole Award by nearly a full tenth of a second, and led the season-opening Charles Kepley Memorial 150 on two different occasions for a total of 96 laps. But with six laps to go, the entire complexion of the night changed, as Brown's car slowed to a halt of of Turn 4 on the .455-mile oval.
The reigning Bowman Gray Stadium Modified champion was clearly agitated after the race when asked what had happened to such a stout machine.
I'd like to know myself, said Brown, who had to look on as Jason Myers bested George Brunnhoelzl III on a green-white-checkered restart for his first career Caraway victory. Fuel pump, ran out of gas, something.
Did the car give him any indication over the closing laps that was something was amiss?
Nope, he said.
It opened the door for either Myers or Brunnhoelzl who had been racing fiercely for second-place a half-straightaway behind Brown. And finally, at least for Myers, the luck finally played into his favor in a tour race. Not only did Brown retire early, but Brunnhoelzl hadn't enough tires left to hold him off on the final restart.
They really did. I can't complain about that tonight, Myers said of finally having the pieces fall into place late in the going. I really didn't want to see the caution (at the end), because I thought I could get around Georgie there. My spotter came on the radio and said, 'This is for the win Get him, get him, get him.' I saw (Brown) slowing to the bottom and I knew it was between me and Georgie.
What he didn't know and could only suspect was how little Brunnhoelzl had left under him.
Scattered raindrops started falling about a third of the way through the race, and Brunnhoelzl made a fateful decision to race Brown for the lead as Lap 75 approached.
We conserved as much as we could at the beginning of the race, and then the rain started to come, said Brunnhoelzl, who has eight career wins at Caraway. We wanted to try and get out front before that halfway (break), just in case the rain really came (harder). We might have used up a little bit there trying to get the lead, but it was a chance we had to take.
We got the lead, but running that hard before the 10-minute break hurt the tires.
Especially when the rain went away as quickly as it arrived.
Though he started on the inside on the green-white-checkered, he spun the tires on the restart and couldn't rally to challenge Myers.
I knew Georgie was going to have to have a problem in order for us to get by him, Myers said. I was really wanting to race it out without that caution. Like I said, I was a little upset when the caution came out. But it actually ended up working out in our favor. Georgie lit the tires up on that restart, and he just never could recover from that. It opened up plenty of race track to go on and run.
Of course, nobody would have had anything for Brown.
(Brown) definitely had, hands-down, the best car tonight on the long run, Brunnhoelzl said. I hate that whatever happened to him happened to him, because we've all been in that position and it (stinks). At that point, I'm kind of sitting there thinking, 'Man, this one could fall into my lap here.' But we just had no rear tire left on that last restart. We just lit them up.
TROUBLE FOR BROTHER BURT: Brown wasn't the only top-five car to run into issues in the closing laps. Only a few laps before Brown ran out of gas, Burt Myers pulled onto pit road and called it a night with a blown engine.
It appears to be the same thing that happened to Jason's motor in Florida (at the UNOH Battle At The Beach), Burt said. There's dents in the oil pan. Imagine putting a bag of marbles in your dryer at home that's kind of what you end up with.
And, like Brown, Myers had no inclination it was coming.
It just quit, he said. I think it was when I accelerated, it just went flat. It's kind of odd what's happening to these motors, because we've still got oil pressure. The oil pan on the bottom end of the engine is starving for oil, which doesn't make sense, because we still have oil pressure.
Burt Myers' disappointment was curtailed somewhat by his brother's win. Burt was one of the first people to Victory Lane to congratulate Jason.
I'm tickled for Jason. He deserved it, Burt said. We've finally got a car that can run competitive at the end of the races. Today was the first time this car has hit a race track, and I was really happy with it.
The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour will be back in action for the KOMA Unwind Relaxation Drink 150 on Saturday, March 23 at Southern National Motorsports Park in Kenly, N.C.
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NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour-Charles Kepley Memorial 150 Unofficial Results
At Caraway Speedway
Lap length: 0.455 miles
(Start position in parentheses)
1. (5) #4 Jason Myers, Walnut Cove, N.C., Ford, 153 laps, 60.991 mph
2. (2) #28 George Brunnhoelzl, III, West Babylon, N.Y., Chevrolet, 153
3. (11) #5 Kyle Ebersole, Hummelstown, Pa., Ford, 153
4. (15) #00 Ted Christopher, Plainville, Conn., Chevrolet, 153
5. (3) #11 Andy Seuss, Hampstead, N.H., Dodge, 153
6. (14) #77 Gary Putnam, Concord, N.C., Chevrolet, 153
7. (13) #73 Cole Powell, Mt. Brydges, Ontario, Canada, Chevrolet, 153
8. (19) #7 Thomas Stinson, Chester, Va., Chevrolet, 153
9. (4) #25 John Smith, Mount Airy, N.C., Chevrolet, 153
10. (12) #97 Bryan Dauzat, Alexandria, La., Chevrolet, 153
11. (7) #23 Brian Loftin, Lexington, N.C., Chevrolet, 153
12. (17) #12 Mike Norman, Lewisville, N.C., Ford, 150
13. (1) #02 Tim Brown, Rural Hall, N.C., Chevrolet, 145, gas
14. (10) #2 J.R. Bertuccio, Jr., Centereach, N.Y., Chevrolet, 140
15. (8) #40 Luke Fleming, Mt. Airy, N.C., Chevrolet, 129, engine
16. (20)#80 Michael Speeney, Newtown, Pa., Chevrolet, 122, engine
17. (6) #1 Burt Myers, Walnut Cove, N.C., Ford, 117, engine
18. (18) #70 Jeremy Gerstner, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Chevrolet, 90
19. (16)#04 David Calabrese, Thoms River, N.J., Chevrolet, 56, engine
20. (9) #65 Danny Bohn, Freehold, N.J., Chevrolet, 53, accident
Time of Race: 1 hour 8 minutes 29 seconds
Margin of Victory: .479 seconds
Fastest Qualifier: Tim Brown (104.033 mph, 15.745 seconds)
Caution Flags: 7 for 43 laps.
Lead Changes: 4 among 3 drivers.
Lap Leaders: T.Brown 1-66; G.Brunnhoelzl III, 67-114; T.Brown 115-144; G.Brunnhoelzl III, 145-150; J.Myers 151-153.
Standings: 1. J.Myers, 46; 2. G.Brunnhoelzl,III, 43; 3. K.Ebersole, 41; 4. T.Christopher, 40; 5. A.Seuss, 39; 6. G.Putnam, 38; 7. C.Powell, 37; 8. T.Stinson, 36; 9. J.Smith, 35; 10. B.Dauzat, 34.