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SOPHIA, N.C. -- Andy Seuss mounted his challenge to dethrone George Brunnhoelzl III for the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour Sunday in dominating fashion.
The 26-year-old from Hampstead, N.H., was fastest in practice, won the Coors Light Pole Award and led every lap en route to winning the Whelen Season Opener 150 at Caraway Speedway. His No. 11 Ideal Finance/Phoenix Motors Chevrolet finished 1.465 seconds ahead of runner-up Brunnhoelzl.
JR Bertuccio, Burt Myers and Jason Myers rounded out the top five.
Danny Bohn was sixth, followed by Brian Loftin, Luke Fleming, Thomas Stinson and rookie Joe Ryan Osborne.
The win was the 16th of Seuss' career and his ninth at Caraway, including his third straight. He won the tour's last two stops at the .455-mile banked oval last September.
Seuss has won four of the last five Whelen Southern Modified Tour events dating to last year.
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“There was a lot of anticipation going into this race the way we finished last year, and I’m glad it’s behind us,” Seuss said. “We won everything – practice, the pole, led every lap in the race – and with a car like this you should.”
Seuss became just the third driver to win three straight Whelen Southern Modified Tour races at Caraway, joining Junior Miller and L.W. Miller, who won five in a row.
For Brunnhoelzl, who holds the record for Caraway wins with 10 – now just one ahead of Seuss – it was his ninth career runner-up finish at the track. Six of those runner-ups have come to Seuss, including each of the last three visits.
“We know what we need to do, so we’ll be better off when we come back,” Brunnhoelzl said. “That’s the biggest thing – knowing what to do to make it better.”
Bertuccio recorded his third straight top-five finish at Caraway, the only three of his Whelen Southern Modified Tour career overall. Sunday’s effort was his best in 27 southern tour races.
“We’ve been doing some experimenting [on the car] and it’s starting to work out,” Bertuccio said. “We just need a little bit more power, and you’ll see us in Victory Lane by the end of the year.”
The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour will be back on track Saturday, March 15 with the Southern National 150 at Southern National Motorsports Park in Lucama, N.C.
Andy Seuss (11) beat three-time defending NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion George Brunnhoelzl III (28) to win Sunday's Whelen Opener 150 at Caraway Speedway. Grant Halverson/Getty Images for NASCAR