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Brunnhoelzl dominates Modified field

George Brunnhoelzl III has come close but not won in four career starts at South Boston Speedway in the Whelen Southern Modified Tour, but the West Babylon, N.Y., driver and three-time Southern Modified Tour champion can now add a South Boston win to his 17 series wins after a dominating performance in the 150-lap Modified race at South Boston Speedway on Saturday.

Unofficial results had Brunnhoelzl, who was fastest qualifier with a time of 14.658 seconds, lead every one of 150 laps to win by 1.094 seconds over Lexington, N.C., driver Brian Loftin.

Kyle Ebersole of Hummelstown, Pa., finished third, and John Smith of Mount Airy, N.C., and Tim Brown of Rural Hall, N.C., rounded out the top-five finishers in a race that took slightly more than one hour to run and was interrupted by five caution flags for a total of 31 laps.

The cars of Brunnhoelzl, Loftin and Brown appeared to be the class of the field in the early going, until Ebersole passed Brown for third place on the restart following the race’s competition caution at the halfway mark.

Brunnhoelzl was stout on every restart, and he also was equally strong on long runs to come away with his first Southern Modified win at South Boston and his first Southern Modified win of the season.

Brunnhoelzl, who finished second in Southern Modified races at South Boston in 2009 and 2011, added to his lead in the series points standings he held by five points coming into Saturday night.

“It’s great to finally win here,” said Brunnhoelzl, who was wrecked on the backstretch while leading the race with 20 laps to go at South Boston last year.

“It makes the win that much sweeter.  Last year, we had an amazing car and got wrecked at the end.

“This year, we just made it a goal to get the car as good as we can and try to get away from everybody so that doesn’t happen.”

Loftin didn’t think he had enough to catch the race winner on the restart following the race’s final caution.

“I knew he was a little better than us, and it was going to take him slipping or having a little mishap for us to get around him at the end.”

“I thought I was a little better than him at the beginning,” added Loftin.

“He changed his line and started running the same line I was running.  When he did that, he was a tick better than us all night from that point on.”

The race winner knew his closest challenger had a good car and had to hit his marks on the restarts.

“I knew if we could get some laps in we could get away from him,” remarked Brunnhoelzl.

“I just focused on hitting my marks on the restarts and set sail from there.”