Kyle Ebersole may not have had the fastest car in the final laps of Saturday’s NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour event at South Boston Speedway, but he had the winning strategy.
Ebersole was the only driver to take a new right-rear tire on a lap-40 caution and rode just outside the top 10 for the laps following. While the other drivers ahead of him raced hard on their original four tires, Ebersole rode patiently.
When the yellow flew again on lap 94, the leaders all pitted. Ebersole was 10th at the time and watched on as leader Andy Seuss led the top nine lead-lap cars to pit road for their tire change. Ebersole inherited the lead on the ensuing restart at the .4-mile Virginia oval on his older right-rear tire.
With drivers on fresh rubber surrounding him, Ebersole hung on to the lead while Seuss offered many challenges. Seuss even went three wide in the closing laps as the leaders maneuvered through lapped traffic, but Ebersole’s early-pitting strategy put him in the right position to earn his second career NWSMT victory.
“We had a different strategy going into the race,” said Ebersole in victory lane. “We didn’t have the qualifying run we wanted. We got a pretty early caution around lap 50. We had a pretty good car and no one else came in ahead of us, so we decided to do something different and just kind of save the whole race until 50 to go when everyone else pitted. From there, it was balls out. I had a good car and I was used up by the end.”
Even as the leaders went three wide with traffic cars in the closing laps, Ebersole had just enough rubber left on the older right-rear tire to hold off Seuss.
“(The crew was) saying, ‘Just go, go. Keep the car low and go.’ I saw Andy get under me twice with those lapped cars. One car is nerve wracking enough, but when you’ve got three or four ahead of you, it’s real nuts. There was like three different classes of cars there. I was just hoping they were going to give me a lane.
“It got pretty hairy there for a little bit. Andy ran me clean and I was just happy we were able to have a good, clean race for the win.”
Seuss admitted that the traffic may have hindered his chances at a victory in the closing laps, but he was quick to point out that Ebersole’s strategy was the winning move.
“I’ve got to give the (Ebersole) crew credit,” said Seuss. “It was a gutsy move to pit early, stay out and they were just free enough to keep up momentum. I couldn’t really get up on him up off. It was a lot of fun racing with Kyle. The lapped traffic may have hurt us a little bit. But I’ll tell you, when you can race that hard and have that much fun, it’s awesome.”
Seuss maintained his NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour point lead with a second-place finish.
“I want to win so bad, but that was a heck of a race,” added Seuss. “It’s a blast racing against Kyle Ebersole. I think everybody knows we had the best car. They won on strategy. We were showing that before the pit stop and the car wasn’t giving up. I’m just elated to be back competing for wins.”
George Brunnhoelzl, III finished third ahead of Burt Myers and JR Bertuccio.
Earlier in the day, Danny Bohn set fast time in Coors Light Pole Qualifying at South Boston. Bohn led a race high 55 laps, but dropped from second to ninth on the lap 94 pit stop and finished sixth.
The next NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour race is Saturday, September 20 at Southern National Motorsports Park in Kenly, North Carolina.
Click Here to replay the Speed51.com-powered NASCAR Home Tracks Race Central Live coverage from South Boston.
– By Matt Kentfield, Speed51.com Executive Director – Twitter: @MattKentfield. Photo credit: Brenda Meserve/Speed51.com