Posted: Monday, March 17th 2014 at 12:11pm
Bertuccio grabs first NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified win at SNMP
By NASCAR Media
J.R. Bertuccio poses with his trophy after scoring his first career NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour victory Saturday at Southern National Motorsports Park. / Photo: Brenda Meserve/Speed51.com
KENLY, NC - J.R. Bertuccio earned his first trip to victory lane the hard way.
The 32-year-old from Centerrach, NY, had to hold off four-time NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion George Brunnhoelzl III on a green-white-checkered finish to win Saturday's Southern National 150 at Southern National Motorsports Park in Kenly, NC.
The win came in Bertuccio's 28th career start. He had three previous top fives with his best finish coming at Caraway Speedway with a third-place run in the 2014 season opener.
“This is a new car to us,” Bertuccio said, “We’ve always run a different kind of chassis, but we’ve just got a good combination going. My guys are paying attention and they’re working hard. I just can’t wait to see what the season brings.”
Bertuccio took the lead from Brunnhoelzl III, who started from the pole, on lap 11 and held on for the remainder of the evening. He survived five restarts, including the final one which set up the green-white-checkered finish.
Saturday night’s victory moves Bertuccio one point ahead of Andy Seuss, 89 to 88, in the championship standings. The tour heads back to Caraway in Asheboro, NC in two weeks, with Bertuccio confident that he can improve on his third-place finish from a week ago.
“We were great at Caraway,” Bertuccio said. “Believe it or not, we actually found some things wrong with the car. We can’t believe we finished third (there) and I think we’ll be even better than the last time we were at Caraway. I can’t wait for two weeks.”
While Bertuccio held on to the top spot for the better part of the evening, the second through fifth-place spots remained an open game for a handful of drivers.
On the final restart, Kyle Ebersole managed to slip past Brunnhoelzl to take second, forcing the defending tour champion to settle for a third-place finish. An unfortunate turn of events for Brunnhoelzl III, who seemed on his way to seriously challenge Bertuccio for the lead.
“The third place finish is really tough,” said Brunnhoelzl III. “The guys worked really hard and, we had the lead right there if that last caution hadn’t come out. That’s tough, but I’m glad to see J.R. in victory lane. I wish it were me, but I’m glad it’s him.”
The green-white-checkered finish extended the race to 155 laps. Overall, there were five cautions for a total of 20 laps.
Andy Seuss and Jason Myers crossed the line fourth and fifth respectively. They were followed by Luke Fleming, Gary Putnam, rookies Joe Ryan Osborne and Dawsonville, GA’s Spencer Davis, and Bryan Dauzat to round out the top 10.
The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour will be off next weekend before running at Caraway Speedway on Saturday, March 29.
NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour
Southern National Motorsports Park - Kenly, NC
Southern National 150 – March 15, 2014
Fin Str Car Driver Team Laps Points B/Points Status
1 3 2 JR Bertuccio Gershow Recycling/Hagerman Systems Chevrolet 155 48 5 Running
2 2 5 Kyle Ebersole Ebersole Excavating Ford 155 42 Running
3 1 28 George Brunnhoelzl, III Composite Tech./Performance Tech. Chevrolet 155 42 1 Running
4 7 11 Andy Seuss Ideal Finance/Phoenix Motors Chevrolet 155 40 Running
5 10 1 Burt Myers Citrusafe/Spdwy Auto Auction/Adam's Ford 155 39 Running
7 13 77 Gary Putnam Curb Records/Stock Car Steel Chevrolet 155 37 Running
8 11 15 Joe Ryan Osborne * Cycle Max/Joie of Seating Chevrolet 155 36 Running
9 9 79 Spencer Davis * Hillbilly Racing/Coors 21 Means 21 Pontiac 155 35 Running
10 12 97 Bryan Dauzat O.B. Builders Chevrolet 155 34 Running
11 6 4 Jason Myers Adam's Towing/Corks Caps & Taps Ford 155 33 Running
12 4 65 Danny Bohn Rustoleum/Cedar Peaks Enterprises Chevrolet 155 32 Running
13 18 12 Mike Norman GoAero Nationwide by Stormie Speaks Chevrolet 154 31 Running
14 5 23 Brian Loftin L&R Transmissions Chevrolet 153 30 Running
15 17 7 Thomas Stinson Dennis' Towing & Recovery Chevrolet 152 29 Running
16 16 51 Bobby Measmer, Jr. * Powerhouse Recycling/Speed51.com Chevrolet 150 28 Running
17 8 99 A.J. Winstead * Health Diagnostic Laboratory Chevrolet 123 27 Running
18 15 43 David Calabrese DiamondBack Towing Chevrolet 103 26 Mechanical
Fastest Qualifier: George Brunnhoelzl, III, Time: 14.517 Seconds, Speed: 99.194 mph
Time of Race: 0 hrs., 54 mins, 34 secs Average Speed: 68.173 mph Margin of Victory: .346 Seconds
Caution Flags: 5 cautions for 20 laps. Laps 40-43 (Car #99 Stopped (Turn 3 & 4)); 45-49 (Car #7 Spinout (Backstretch)); 76-77 ((Competition Midway Break)); 107-110 (Car #43 Stalls (Turn 2)); 148-152 (Cars #51 Spins (Turn 2), #23 Stalls (Turn 4)).
Lap Leaders: George Brunnhoelzl, III 1-10, JR Bertuccio 11-155.
Total Laps Led: JR Bertuccio 145, George Brunnhoelzl, III 10. 1 changes involving 2 drivers.
Top 10 Driver Points: JR Bertuccio 89, Luke Fleming 74, Jason Myers 72, Andy Seuss 48, George Brunnhoelzl, III 42, Kyle Ebersole 42, George Brunnhoelzl, III 42, Burt Myers 40, Andy Seuss 40, Burt Myers 39
Next Race: March 29, Caraway
* Denotes Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate
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