Having the right game plan was the key for southern Modified ace George Brunnhoelzl, III during Saturday’s UNOH Battle at the Beach at Myrtle Beach Speedway. Knowing when to take tires, as well as when to save, was part of the high speed chess match during the 125-lap Tour-Type Modified feature, and at the end of the day it was Brunnhoelzl proclaiming, “checkmate.”
The victory for Brunnhoelzl, whose strategy was to pit twice for tires in the latter half of the race, was his first outside the NASCAR sanction as the event at Myrtle Beach was an independent Modified race.
“I had a lot of faith in our car and I know we could pull it off,” said Brunnhoelzl. “I think we were sitting good on our two stop strategy, but when the caution came out again we said we came here to win, lets come in and make another change and make sure we have the best rubber.”
The late pit stops put Brunnhoelzl back to 16th and 10th, respectively, and he was able to charge forward each time. The final lead change took place on lap 116.
“The crew never really knew how much I was riding,” added Brunnhoelzl. “I held back a lot because I wanted to be able to blow through the field if I needed to late in the race. We had the cautions work in our favor and we got the win.”
Brunnhoelzl also set fast time in the race that featured more riding then all out racing as the majority of drivers made an attempt to save tires.
Brunnhoelzl passed Matt “Big Money” Hirschman for the win in the closing 10 laps. Hirschman never had been to Myrtle Beach and had a strategy to save tires and put fresh rubber on late.
“I really had no idea what we needed to do to be in contention,” said Hirschman. “We figured it out and we learned a lot and I would come back for sure again.”
At the finish Brunnhoelzl was the winner as Burt Myers got to second by passing Hirschman with two laps to go. John Smith and Chris Pasteryak rounded out the top five.
“The strategy we had would have worked, but the car was not where it needed to be,” said Myers. “I was thinking inside the car that we might have waited too long as we started fading late in the race, but we were able to come in and add tires and charge back to the front.”
Over the course of the race several drivers took their turns out front as the leader. Jamie “The Jet” Tomaino actually pulled away so far that it looked as if he was lapping the field. He wound up 10th.
-By Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent – Twitter: @ElginTraylor
-Photo credit: Speed51.com