Andy Seuss’ title defense got off to a rocky start when he crashed hard in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour season opener at Caraway Speedway (NC). Two weeks later Seuss came back to Caraway and rebounded in the best way possible. Seuss held off Eric Goodale on a green-white-checkered finish to score the win in the second race of the season, putting his title defense back on track.
“It’s tough when you’ve got a green-white-checkered,” said Seuss in victory lane. “I was a little bit concerned with the heavy-hitters behind me but this car did all the work and made it easy for me tonight.”
Seuss ran in the top five much of the race, but it was clear that he didn’t have the fastest car. That belonged to J.R. Bertuccio who led much of the race after taking the lead from polesitter Ryan Preece on the seventh lap.
Bertuccio had a lead of over seven seconds on Seuss with 25 laps to go, but that lead was erased when Kyle Ebersole spun out while running in fifth with 23 laps to go.
That caution proved to be the turning point of the race as all the leaders came to pit road. Seuss’ crew got him out ahead of Bertuccio who came out in fifth, which was last among the lead lap cars.
“We were second and I figured we weren’t going to catch (Bertuccio) so we were just going to finish second,” said Seuss. “When the caution came out the guys nailed the pit stop and gave me the lead.”
Goodale, the winner of the season opener two weeks ago, came off pit road in second after being a non-factor much of the race.
He lined up alongside Seuss for the remaining restarts and came incredible close to scoring his second straight win.
Goodale got by Seuss on the restart with five laps to go, but three cars crashed behind them to bring the caution back out before Goodale completed the lap. That gave the lead back to Seuss.
“After about 50 laps this thing came to life,” said Goodale. “We came into the pits running fifth and came out second and that was the race right there. Andy just beat us out of the pits. I got a really good restart and he spun the tires. I had him beat but they wrecked behind us and we had to do it again. He got the better of me on the next restart. He ran a real good race.”
Goodale put the bumper to Suess in turn four on the final lap but wasn’t able to move Seuss enough to get underneath him off the corner.
“I wasn’t all that excited about the restart but I knew what I had to do,” said Seuss. “I knew I was good. I knew I had a second chance and I knew I couldn’t screw it up again.”
The win is the 11th for Seuss at Caraway, which ties him with George Brunnhoelzl III for the most wins here. It is also Seuss’ 19th overall NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour victory.
A replay of Race Central Live powered by Speed51.com can be found here: http://hometracks.nascar.com/nwsmt_caraway_032815_race-central
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Northeast Editor -Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Brenda Meserve/NASCAR
NWSMT Unofficial Results:
|11||28||George Brunnhoelzl II|