Charlotte Motor Speedway may not have a well-known nickname like “The Madhouse,” but Burt Myers has made Charlotte’s quarter-mile oval his house.
The multiple-time Modified champion at Bowman Gray Stadium, aka “The Madhouse,” picked up his third win in the five NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour events to date Thursday night in the season-ending Southern Slam 150.
Myers switched to an LFR chassis with the NASCAR Spec engine at the season’s halfway point, which invigorated the 2010 NWSMT champion’s effort. He won four out of the final eight races after debuting the package at Bristol Motor Speedway (TN), giving him a career-high single-season win total.
“There’s no magic pill,” said Myers after his Charlotte victory. “People can say, ‘What did you find? What did you do?’ I think it’s a combination of a great motor, a great package and a great car that fits my driving style. God has blessed us tremendously. He blesses us all the time. To end the season on a victory and the hot streak we’ve been on, it’s a great feeling.”
Myers grabbed the lead from George Brunnhoelzl, III on lap 86 and led a race-high 70 laps. Pole winner Ryan Preece led the first 64 before giving up the lead to Brunnhoelzl upon falling out with a brake problem. Once Myers took over, he was in command as he had been twice in the past at the Charlotte quarter-mile.
Charlotte is a flat quarter mile just like his home track of Bowman Gray, which could be Myers’ secret to success.
“Twenty years of racing Bowman Gray doesn’t hurt,” said Myers. “I don’t know what it is. Some tracks just suit different people different ways. I took to the place automatically when we first came here. Even though it’s a flat quarter mile, the tight racing here is what I grew up doing. The setup and the way you drive the track is nothing like Bowman Gray. We tweaked and adjusted on the car all day long.
“I don’t know, maybe Charlotte Motor Speedway just likes me.”
While Brunnhoelzl was not able to mount a challenge to Myers down the stretch, even on a final green-white-checkered restart, he was able to clinch second the final NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour standings.
The championship went to 27-year-old Hampstead, New Hampshire native Andy Seuss, who used a conservative fifth-place finish to clinch his first NWSMT title.
“Beyond words amazing. Really a dream come true,” said Seuss of his championship. “I really never thought it would be possible, from the time i was running go karts leading up to this. This is just surreal. We were going to run conservatively and the guys gave me a great car early on and I’ve got to do them justice too and I’m glad we got another top five.”
Seuss won three races and scored 12 top five finishes to lock up the title.
“It was such a team effort,” added Seuss. “Everybody on this team can’t be replaced and plays a part. Some of the guys have been with me for other teams and up north. We teamed up with Ideal three and a half years ago. We had some bad luck through the years, but finally we can say we sealed the deal.”
For Myers, the mid-season engine and chassis switch allowed him to finish third in points, 23 behind Seuss. Had he switched earlier in the season, could that have meant a second title for the Walnut Cove, North Carolina driver?
“I wish I would’ve made this combination of an LFR chassis and the spec motor at the beginning of the season. I really thought we might have had a shot at this championship as hot as we’ve been. A mechanical failure last week at Caraway pretty much knocked us out of that. I told somebody several weeks ago, if we can win out the rest of the year, I would be a happy person. We almost did that.”
JR Bertuccio slipped past Brunnhoelzl on the final green-white-checkered restart to finish second at Charlotte. Kyle Ebersole and Seuss rounded out the top five.
Seuss’ unofficial point gap was 14 to Brunnhoelzl.
Speed51.com will have more on Seuss’ championship run, including details on his proposal to his longtime girlfriend Jenn in championship victory lane, in the coming days.
– By Matt Kentfield, Speed51.com Executive Director – Twitter: @Matt Kentfield
– Photo credits: Brenda Meserve/Speed51.com