DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 12th season for the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour is ready to take the green flag at Caraway Speedway the list of returning veterans expected to contend for the 2016 championship look very familiar.
Can Andy Seuss join rival George Brunnhoelzl III as the only driver to win three consecutive titles? Can Brunnhoelzl add a fifth championship ring to his already impressive collection? Is this the year Jason Myers puts it all together and wins his first championship?
These are just some of the questions that will be answered as the season transpires, but things will get started when Caraway Speedway will host the tour in Saturday’s Davis Roofing 150 in the first of four events at the historic track located in Sophia, North Carolina just outside of Asheboro.
Last spring NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour regular Eric Goodale made the trek south and became the fourth different winner of the season opener in as many years with a pass of Myers late in the race to score his first win in the division. Goodale won’t be there to defend that victory this week, but Seuss and Brunnhoelzl, who are getting back at it after contesting the closest championship points battle in tour history last October, are expected to lead an impressive field.
Overwhelmingly dominant at Caraway since 2008, Seuss and Brunnhoelzl both have a chance to tie Ted Christopher’s record of three season-opening wins in the southern tour.
Two-time Caraway race winner Burt Myers holds the record for the most poles at Caraway with 13 and he’ll join his brother, Jason, and fellow competitors Danny Bohn, Gary Putnam and Kyle Ebersole as contenders to visit Victory Lane in the opener this Saturday.
Bobby Measmer Jr. and Jeremy Gerstner both enjoyed the best seasons of their career and picked up top-five finishes for the first time in 2015 and continue their quest for their first Sunoco checkered flag on the tour. Defending Sunoco Rookie of the Year Trey Hutchens III will graduate this spring from high school and the president of the senior class hopes to add a race winner’s trophy alongside his diploma in June.
RACE: Davis Roofing 150
PLACE: Caraway Speedway, Sophia, North Carolina
TIME: 7 p.m. ET
TRACK LAYOUT: .455-mile asphalt oval
2015 WINNER: Eric Goodale
2015 POLE SITTER: Jason Myers
EVENT SCHEDULE: Driver/Crew Chief Meeting: 1:30 p.m.; Practice 2-3 p.m.: Qualifying: 4:20 p.m.
TRACK TWITTER: @carawayspeedway
EVENT HASHTAG: #DavisRoofing150
The Race: The Davis Roofing 150 at Caraway Speedway will be the first of 11 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour championship events in 2016. This is the tour’s 57th visit to the historic oval, and the first of four races this year at the track.
The Procedure: The maximum starting field is 26 cars, including provisionals. The first 23 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials while the remaining three starting spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race is scheduled for 150 laps (68.25 miles) and teams have an opportunity to pit and change one tire during the event.
The Track: Caraway is a .455-mile banked asphalt oval located in rural Sophia, North Carolina. The facility opened in 1966 with a dirt racing surface and was paved in 1972. Caraway, which features NASCAR Whelen All-American Series-sanctioned events on Saturday nights throughout the racing season, has played host to more NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour events than any other track in the tour’s history (56).
The Records: Jason Myers set the tour’s track qualifying record on March 15, 2015 with a mark of 15.563 seconds (105.250 mph).
Davis Roofing 150 Notes
Bohn Lands New Ride: Danny Bohn has moved over from his family-owned car to drive for brothers Frank and Chris Fleming this season in their No. 40 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour entry.
Jason Myers Looks to Keep Caraway Streak Alive: Jason Myers is the only driver in the history of the tour to start all 56 previous races held at Caraway Speedway. He has one win, 21 top fives and 42 top 10s at the track.
Bertuccio Returns to Action: After taking the later part of the 2015 season off, JR Bertuccio returns to action this Saturday at Caraway. The Centereach, New York, native has two NWSMT wins in his career.
Empire State Invasion: Several new faces will be competing at Caraway for the first time in Brendon Bock, Jeff Goodale and Richie Pallai Jr., and they all hail from New York. Pallai will pilot the familiar No. 79 Hillbilly Racing Pontiac while Bock will enter his family-owned No. 29 machine. Jeff Goodale, will also drive a family-owned entry as he’ll try and repeat what his cousin Eric Goodale accomplished last season.
Crushing it at Caraway: In recent NASCAR history, no two drivers have combined to dominate one race track more than George Brunnhoelzl III and Andy Seuss at Caraway. The pair has won 23 of the last 34 Whelen Southern Modified tour races at the track with 12 to Brunnhoelzl and 11 to Seuss. The run includes one streak of six in a row and two separate runs of four in a row. During the period no more than two consecutive races have been contested without Brunnhoelzl or Seuss in Victory Lane.
Career Milestones Just Ahead for Pair of Drivers: Jason Myers has started 132 of the 133 races held in the history of the tour to easily hold the record for most starts. He’s also just two top-10 finishes away from joining his brother, Burt, as the only drivers in tour history to hit the century mark in top 10s. George Brunnhoelzl III already holds tour records for championships (4), most wins (25), most laps led (3,530), and most consecutive race wins (4). He enters this season just two shy of tying Burt Myers’ record of 28 Coors Light Pole Awards and one top-five finish away from tying Myers’ record in that category as well.
Home Tracks: Lemons Victorious in Caraway Opener
Despite fighting flu-like symptoms all weekend, Tommy Lemons Jr. was able to overcome his illness and hold-off a strong field of contenders – including last year’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion Lee Pulliam – to score a victory in Caraway Speedway’s season-opening 150-lap late model stock feature on March 6. It was Lemons’ second big win already in 2016 after he took the checkered flag in Myrtle Beach Speedway’s season-opener two weeks ago. Caraway will feature six divisions in action along with the Davis Roofing 150, highlighted by the limited late model 30-lap feature.
-NASCAR Home Tracks Press Release
-Speed51.com/Brenda Meserve Photo