George Brunnhoelzl, III’s racecar and chances for the 2014 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour championship both took hard hits Saturday at Caraway Speedway (NC), but the four-time series champion does not want to end his season on that bad note.
Brunnhoelzl remains sore following the last-lap crash in the Prestoria Farms 150 that sent him to a local hospital for a few hours for observation, but he will be back behind the wheel of his No. 28 Modified when the NWSMT season comes to an end Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway (NC).
“I’ve still got some lower back pain and swelling, but I’m ready to go racing, that’s for sure,” Brunnhoelzl told Speed51.com powered by JEGS Wednesday. “Once I sit in the seat and get comfortable and get on the racetrack, I probably won’t even think about my back until it’s time to get out.”
Brunnhoelzl will race his family team’s backup car after Saturday’s crash tore up most of the front-end of the primary. The New York native-turned-North Carolinian entered the Caraway race just nine points behind Andy Seuss, but the crash and 12th-place finish left him 17 points behind Seuss going into the Charlotte finale.
It was a hard hit in more ways than one and was one that Brunnhoelzl remembers vividly.
“I had a good idea in my head what happened and then when I saw the replay it just solidified what I was remembering,” said Brunnhoelzl. It was a green-white-checkered and the 51 (Bobby Measmer, Jr.) was battling with the 40 (Luke Fleming). (Fleming) cleared the 51 and I was underneath Bobby when the 79 (Spencer Davis) just bonzaied it into (turn) three and made it three wide. At that point he slid up into me and I slid up into Bobby. Me and Bobby were just holding on at that point.
“I tried to drive through the center of the whole deal and Bobby got loose on the outside. When he came down across the track, he just clipped me in the right rear. From that point it happened so quick I didn’t even have a chance to take my foot off the gas before I hit the wall.”
Brunnhoelzl listed the impact as high atop the list of hits he has taken during his racing career.
“It was a hard hit. Four years ago, I wrecked at Loudon and more or less went straight in similar to that. This one felt just as hard as when I hit up there.”
Brunnhoelzl, who will be undergoing surgery for an unrelated shoulder injury later this month, will get back into one of his No. 28 Modifieds Thursday with the same goal in mind that he had all season, even if there may be an uphill climb for a fifth NWSMT title.
“The goal remains the same – I want to get that cool trophy Charlotte gives to the winner. Unfortunately the long term goal is an unlikely deal, but we set out to win as many races as we can and that’s still the same. We’re going to go there and win that trophy.”
Speed51.com will power the NASCAR Home Tracks Race Central Live coverage of the Southern Slam 150 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour season finale Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway beginning at 10am ET.
– By Matt Kentfield, Speed51.com Executive Director – Twitter: @MattKentfield