Brunnhoelzl South Boston Winner

George Brunnhoelzl III

George Brunnhoelzl III led wire to wire on Saturday to pick up his first NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour win of 2013. (Photo: Jason Smith/pixelcrisp for NASCAR)

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George Brunnhoelzl III led wire-to-wire to score his 18th career victory in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour on Saturday - winning the South Boston 150 at South Boston Speedway.

The No. 28 Epox-Z/Oval Speed Chevrolet of Brunnhoelzl seemed as if it was on rails throughout the day. Earlier in the day, he won his 19th career Coors Light Pole Award in qualifying.

“Couldn’t ask for much better,” Brunnhoelzl said. “We were fastest in first practice, won the pole and sitting here in Victory Lane. South Boston is an amazing track and it was a good win.”

The race victor was shadowed throughout the 150-lap event by Brian Loftin, but it never evolved much beyond that. Brunnhoelzl always had enough car to escape when Loftin got close.

“Early on I was looking for a comfortable pace,” said Brunnhoelzl. “I’d back out of it a little and he’d get close, so I’d run a little harder. At the end, though, I had saved enough and took off.”

The runner-up Loftin, who logged his best finish of the young season, stayed within striking distance throughout the race, but never could mount much of challenge and he conceded that Brunnhoelzl was the class of the field.

“We had a pretty good race car tonight, but (Brunnhoelzl’s) was better,” said Loftin. “He could turn through the center of the corner better which let him get back to the throttle sooner. That’s how it was all night. He was the class of the field.”

Third-place finisher Kyle Ebersole posted his third straight top-10 finish to start the season after starting in the eighth position. He, too, acknowledged it was Brunnhoelzl’s night, but it didn’t diminish his satisfaction with the performance.

“We got to third after the break, but just didn’t have enough there at the end,” he stated. “We’re pretty happy with the third-place finish.”

John Smith and Tim Brown finished fourth and fifth, respectively, and were followed by Burt Myers, Jason Myers, Gary Putnam, Jeremy Gerstner and Renee Dupuis to complete the top 10.

In four previous starts at South Boston, Brunnhoelzl had finished second on two occasions, in 2009 and 2011. He has led a tour high 311 laps at the .4-mile oval. The Southern Modified Tour has had five different winners in five visits to the Virginia track.

Brunnhoelzl, the three-time tour champion from West Babylon, N.Y., became the third different winner in three races this season and extended his lead in the championship standings. After bringing a five-point lead into the event, he left with a 12-point advantage over Ebersole. Brunnhoelzl also recorded the most recent wire-to-wire win in the tour, at Charlotte last October.

The race was slowed due to caution five times for 31 laps.

Prior to the race the 2013 inductees to the Virginia Motorsports Hall of Fame were introduced. This year’s class consists of Runt Harris, Rick Hendrick and Jimmy Hensley.

The next event on the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified schedule will be at Caraway Speedway near Asheboro, N.C., on Saturday, April 20.

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