Pepsi 150 Race Report

NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour
& NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
at Langley Speedway – Hampton, VA
Pepsi 150
Race Report
Saturday, April 11, 2015

HAMPTON, Va. (April 11) — Rebounding from an early setback, Burt Myers of Walnut Cove, N.C., moved out front on lap 88 and showed the way to the finish in the Pepsi 150 for the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, the featured event of Saturday evening’s racing program at Langley Speedway.
The victory was the second in a row for Myers at the venerable speedplant, making him the first repeat winner in the tour’s seven visits to Hampton.
Four-time series champion George Brunnhoelzl III set the pace in qualifying, lapping the track at 95.479 mph to claim the pole position.
Defending champ Andy Seuss was second-quickest, only 23-thousandths of a second off Brunnhoelzl’s standard. Burt Myers, Kyle Ebersole and Jason Myers rounded out the top five on the 15-car starting grid.
As the race got under way, Brunnhoelzl leaped ahead of Seuss to take the early lead. Burt Myers rushed to fill the opening to the inside of Seuss and came away with the second spot. Clearing Seuss, he set sail after Brunnhoelzl, who had opened a five-length advantage.
Myers’ charge was short-lived, however. By lap 10, Seuss had closed to within a car-length of his rear bumper. Four laps later, the two were nose-to-tail.
With Brunnhoelzl threatening to disappear in the distance, Seuss finally pulled the trigger on lap 26, ducking underneath Myers at the end of the backstretch. He grabbed the second spot off Turn 4. The exchange allowed Brunnhoelzl to pad his lead to half a straightaway.
As Seuss set off in search of the leader, Myers began to fall into the clutches of fourth-place Ebersole. Myers gave up the third spot on lap 31.
The first caution flag waved on lap 38 when Jeremy Gerstner spun in Turn 2. Gerstner and Trey Hutchens were the only drivers to visit the pit lane during the ensuing caution period.
On the double-file restart, Brunnhoelzl scooted ahead of Seuss as they reached the flagstand. Ebersole drove to the inside of Seuss and nosed into second place at the end of lap 43. Seuss rallied on the following circuit, though, and regained firm command of the runner-up position.
The second yellow flag flew on lap 45 for John Smith’s spin in Turn 1.
When the pits opened, Myers made the hard left turn, joined by Smith and Gary Putnam. Myers’ crew focused their attention on the right-rear of his machine, returning him to the track ahead of the pace truck. He came back in before the next green flag and his team swapped out the right-rear tire, which was going slack. He lined up 14th for the restart.
When the green flag reappeared, to begin lap 50, Brunnhoelzl pulled ahead of Seuss as they reached Turn 1. In the middle of Turns 1 and 2, Seuss switched lanes and tried to slip underneath the leader as they headed onto the backstretch. Brunnhoelzl fought off the advance, though, forcing Seuss to settle back into second.
Deeper in the field, Myers had moved to the high lane and was storming up through the field. His progress was stymied on lap 54, however, when Tom Abele Jr. and J.R. Bertuccio tangled in Turns 1 and 2 and Abele fell off the pace, drifting up the track into Myers’ path.
The third caution flag was displayed on lap 60 when Abele and Spencer Davis locked horns and spun in Turn 4. The incident chased Abele to the sidelines for the night, while Davis was able to continue.
When the pits opened for business, Brunnhoelzl and Seuss led the charge as nine of the 14 drivers still in the event opted for service.
Third-place Ebersole stayed out, as did Bertuccio, Myers, David Calabrese and Putnam. They occupied the top five spots for the ensuing restart, followed by Seuss, who beat Brunnhoelzl back onto the track.
On the restart, to begin lap 71, Ebersole quickly pulled ahead of Bertuccio, who immediately came under fire from Myers, who gained command of the runner-up spot on lap 72. Meanwhile, Seuss and Brunnhoelzl wasted little time in returning to the top five.
At the halfway mark, Ebersole held a two-length lead over Myers. The margin continued to grow gradually until lap 82. As the leaders bypassed Davis, Myers drew to within a car-length of Ebersole. Behind them, Seuss and Brunnhoelzl had nearly tracked down Bertuccio, setting the stage for a third-place battle.
On lap 88, Myers completed his jaunt from the back of the pack as he slipped underneath Ebersole on the backstretch and rumbled into the lead off the fourth corner. Just three laps later, he had driven away by five car-lengths.
Seuss overtook Bertuccio for the third position on lap 95, bringing Brunnhoelzl along with him, to fourth. At the front, Myers maintained his five-length edge, while a similar distance separated second-place Ebersole and Seuss. With Brunnhoelzl in tow, however, Seuss was narrowing the gap.
Seuss passed Ebersole for second on lap 100. Again, Brunnhoelzl followed in Seuss’ tire tracks and moved into third.
Over the next 36 circuits, Seuss tried to close in on Myers. On a couple of occasions, as slower traffic came into play, Seuss pulled to within a car-length or two. Once in the clear, though, Myers quickly stretched out his advantage.. Meanwhile, Brunnhoelzl was struggling, falling half a straightaway behind the lead duo.
The last of the race’s four caution flags was unfurled on lap 137 when Smith spun in Turn 4. At the time of the yellow flag, only five drivers — Myers, Seuss, Brunnhoelzl, Ebersole and Frank Fleming — remained on the lead lap. With much to gain and little to lose, Ebersole headed for the pits. He returned to the track and lined up in the fifth spot.
Preparing for the green flag, Jason Myers received the wave-around and became the sixth lead-lap competitor.
Back under green, Burt Myers bolted ahead of Seuss as they reached the flagstand. Brunnhoelzl moved up to second, followed by rejuvenated Ebersole. While Myers enjoyed a two-length lead, Ebersole zeroed in on second-place Brunnhoelzl.
Working lap 147, Ebersole took a look to the inside of Brunnhoelzl in Turn 4, but had to fall back in line. He was more successful the next time around, though, swiping the runner-up spot through Turns 3 and 4.
As Ebersole closed in on Myers, it brought to mind last August’s race when Myers beat Brunnhoelzl with a “bump-and-run” off the final corner.
A similar scenario seemed to be unfolding on Saturday night.
On the white-flag lap, Ebersole pulled up on Myers’ rear deck and gave him a rap as they navigated Turns 3 and 4 for the last time. Myers’ car barely wiggled, though, as he headed for the checkers.
At the finish, Burt Myers was the winner by 0.154-second — a single car-length — over Ebersole. Brunnhoelzl was third, followed by Seuss and Fleming. Jason Myers headed the second five, in sixth, while Bertuccio, Gerstner, Putnam and Bobby Measmer Jr. rounded out the top 10.
In Victory Lane after the race, an animated Burt Myers recounted his early-race struggles: “I knew we had a good car and we were a little too free at the beginning. We had a right-rear going down. I knew it was and, man, we caught a caution and we were able to come back through the field, but I said, ‘Man, this is gonna hurt us.’ And, I told ‘em on the radio after the race, I said, ‘Y’know, it’s funny how God works.’ We thought that was our night. We thought we were done. It was a blessing in disguise.”
Asked about opting to practice on older tires and how that decision played out in the race, Myers explained: “Like I said, we were a little free at the beginning and, once again, that was a cause-and-effect of not putting on new practice tires ‘cause we didn’t know what the car was gonna do on newer tires. I knew on older tires, we were good. Without getting too technical, if you have a tire go down, you can use an emergency tire. But, when you don’t buy new tires, your emergency tires are old, too. So, Jason’s crew let me use their emergency tire and it was almost a brand-new tire, so I have to thank them for that. If it wasn’t for that new tire, we would’ve had to put on an old tire and we wouldn’t be sitting here.”
Second-place Ebersole described the pit strategy that ended up carrying him to a runner-up finish: “Yeah, we had a pretty timely caution there. You’ve gotta do something different in these races. When I saw George and Andy come down and pit, we decided to stay out and take a tire late. It looked like a bad decision and, then, we got that caution with 10 to go and put the tire on and just went. Took a little too long to try and get around Georgie and got right on Burt there at the end.”
After starting on the pole and leading the first 66 circuits, Brunnhoelzl was a bit frustrated with his third-place result: “We had an amazing car the first half and came in, pitted, and just didn’t make the right call on adjustments and the car just got way too tight on us. The car launched really good, came off the corners really good the first half. It’s just that once you get tight here, it really kills the whole corner.”
With early-season points leaders Eric Goodale and Ryan Preece not in attendance on Saturday night, Burt Myers leapfrogged Bertuccio to take over the series lead, 165-156. Jason Myers ranks third, with 153, followed by Ebersole and Fleming.
Following the Pepsi 150 at Langley, the tour will take an extended break, returning to action on July 4 at Caraway Speedway in Sophia N.C.
The NASCAR Whelen Southern Mods will be back at Langley on Saturday, Sept. 5.

In the evening’s other feature events:

After a bitter disappointment on opening night, Mark Frye bounced back to win the 40-lap Pepsi Grand Stock race, just holding on at the checkered flag.
Frye was the pole-sitter, at 79.650 mph, sharing the front row with Jamie Sample. Tommy Sweeney lined up third, while Thomas Marks and Michael Waters were fourth and fifth, respectively.
On the start, Frye and Sample dueled through Turns 1 and 2 with Frye taking control as they spilled out onto the backstretch. Sweeney pulled underneath Sample in a bid for second, eventually taking the spot on lap 2. Sample settled into third, followed by Waters, while opening night winner Brandon Hinson quickly joined the top five.
On lap 6, Sample nosed back ahead of Sweeney at the line for second.
Hinson, who had bypassed Waters, tagged along and took over third, dropping Sweeney to fourth.
By lap 13, Frye had extended his margin to five car-lengths and Hinson began to get antsy. On the next lap, Hinson scooted by Sample to snag second. By the halfway mark, he had closed to within two lengths of the leader.
The first caution flag waved on lap 34 when Jonathan White rolled to a halt in Turn 4. The second, and final, yellow flag appeared on the ensuing restart when Sweeney spun amidst a snarl of traffic in Turn 4.
Lining up for what would turn out to be the last restart, Frye showed the way, shadowed by Hinson, Sample, Marks and Waters.
Back under green, Frye and Hinson freed themselves from Waters, who had launched from the outside lane. As they hit the backstretch, Frye eked out a two-length edge over Hinson.
Over the closing circuits, Hinson tried to chip away at Frye’s fragile lead. He drew to within a car-length on lap 39, but could get no closer as Frye won by 0.270-second — little more than a car-length. Sample was third to the line, followed by Marks and Mark Claar.

In a 40-lapper for the Butterfoss & Barton Orthodontics Super Streets, pole starter Landon Abbott regained the lead on lap 4 and drove on to the victory.
Abbott claimed the pole, qualifying at 75.933 mph. Renno Marchetti IV was second-quickest, followed by Sean Calway, Randy Akers and 2014 champ Sammy Gaita.
As the race got going, Marchetti got a good run off the top side and nosed ahead of Abbott. He maintained that slim margin until lap 4 when Abbott rallied to the front. Abbott cleared Marchetti on the backstretch on lap 5.
Akers bypassed Calway for third on lap 9 and set off after the leaders, who were five lengths ahead. He was gradually closing in, but got an added boost when the race’s only caution flag fluttered on lap 22.
Lining up for the restart, Abbott, Marchetti, Akers and Calway stayed in line on the bottom of the track. Gaita was the first to step out of line, giving up the fifth spot to pull alongside the leader.
Returning to green, Abbott and Gaita went side-by-side until they reached Turn 4. Exiting the corner, Abbott regained command. Marchetti and Akers followed Abbott past Gaita, setting up a three-way joust for the lead.
Over the second half of the event, Abbott, Marchetti and Akers remained tightly bunched. With his attention divided between Abbott and Akers, though, Marchetti was never able to muster an effective challenge for the lead.
At the finish, Abbott was the winner by 0.268-second — about a car-length — over Marchetti. Akers was third, while Gaita and Calway completed the top five.

In the 30-lap KeesVacations.com Pro Six feature, Bobby Hall opened the defense of his 2014 championship with a pole to checkers run, surviving an anxious moment at the finish.
Hall’s pole-winning speed was 83.510 mph. He was 66-thousandths of a second quicker than outside pole starter Landon Florian, who held down the runner-up spot throughout the race.
In the early going, Hall dashed away from the field, leading by five car-lengths at lap 11. Over the next couple of circuits, Florian gained a bit of ground, closing to within three lengths. At that point, though, Hall seemed to find some extra “oomph.” Soon, his lead had swelled to nearly half a straightaway.
With the white flag in the air, Hall ran up on a slower car and was stymied. Suddenly, the win was up for grabs as Florian rapidly sliced into the margin.
At the checkers, Hall was the winner by 0.308-second — a little more than a car-length — over Florian. Travis Wall was third, followed by J.B. Sipe and Cody Carlton.

In the evening’s first race, a 20-lapper for the Rhonnda Claiborne, Realtor HRKC Pro Winged Champ Karts, Brandon Lorah moved out front on lap 7 and held sway to the finish.
Harry Leach was the pole-sitter, at 60.743 mph, and paced the first six circuits, pushed along with drafting help from Shawn Gervais and Vaughan Crittenden. Behind them, a second pack formed up with brothers Brandon and Charlie-Ray Lorah leading the way. By lap 6, the two groups had merged into one.
On lap 7, Leach spun off Turn 2 and Brandon Lorah grabbed the lead, bringing Charlie-Ray Lorah, Tommy Jackson Jr. and Cullen Roberts along with him.
The Lorahs, Jackson and Roberts remained tightly bunched until lap 16 when Roberts lost the draft. Jackson dropped back on lap 17 to collect his drafting partner. Within a lap, they were back in the hunt.
On lap 19, however, Roberts again began to tail off. With no time to regroup, Jackson had to take on the Lorah brothers by himself.
Coming to the checkers, Jackson dipped low in Turn 4, trying to manufacture a run. His kart bobbled, though, ending his chances at a win.
At the stripe, Brandon Lorah was the winner by 70-thousandths of a second over Charlie-Ray Lorah. Jackson was third, while Roberts and Mattisen Morrill were fourth and fifth, in that order.
• • •
MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Daughtrey
Home: (757) 657-6741
Track: (757) 865-7223
E-mail: daughtrey@langley-speedway.com

NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour
& NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
at Langley Speedway – Hampton, VA
Pepsi 150
Race Results
Saturday, April 11, 2015

NASCAR WHELEN SOUTHERN MODIFIED TOUR
++ Pepsi 150 ++
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (1) Burt Myers; 150
2. (5) Kyle Ebersole; 150
3. (28) George Brunnhoelzl III; 150
4. (11) Andy Seuss; 150
5. (40) Frank Fleming; 150
6. (4) Jason Myers; 150
7. (2) J.R. Bertuccio; 149
8. (15) Jeremy Gerstner; 149
9. (77) Gary Putnam; 149
10. (74) Bobby Measmer Jr.; 149
11. (43) David Calabrese; 148
12. (25) John Smith; 148
13. (14) Trey Hutchens; 148
14. (79) Spencer Davis; 146
15. (32) Tom Abele Jr.; 32
Pole: Brunnhoelzl – 95.497 mph.

PEPSI GRAND STOCKS – 40 laps
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (29) Mark Frye; 40
2. (17) Brandon Hinson; 40
3. (28) Jamie Sample; 40
4. (88) Thomas Marks; 40
5. (7) Mark Claar; 40
6. (2) Michael Waters; 40
7. (36) Andrew Condrey; 40
8. (11) Tommy Sweeney; 40
9. (6) Shawn Scovel; 40
10. (75) Jeff Driskill; 40
11. (5) Jonathan White; 30
12. (16) David Seed; 13
13. (77) Carl Livingston; 9
Pole: Frye – 79.650 mph.

BUTTERFOSS & BARTON ORTHODONTICS
SUPER STREETS – 40 laps
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (70) Landon Abbott; 40
2. (01) Renno Marchetti IV; 40
3. (21) Randy Akers; 40
4. (24) Sammy Gaita; 40
5. (12) Sean Calway; 40
6. (50) Jim Bennett; 40
7. (22) Bill Eaker; 40
8. (2) Rod Busitzky; 40
9. (46) Jason Michaud; 40
10. (9) Gary Graham; 39
11. (47) Craig Warren; 23
Pole: Abbott – 75.933 mph.

KEESVACATIONS.COM PRO SIXES – 30 laps
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (26) Bobby Hall; 30
2. (98) Landon Florian; 30
3. (44) Travis Wall; 30
4. (14) J.B. Sipe; 30
5. (94) Cody Carlton; 30
6. (21) Dashe McLaughlin; 29
7. (4) Debbie Biesecker; 29
8. (03) Justin Fuller; 28
9. (47) Angela-Marie Steele; 10
Pole: Hall – 83.510 mph.

RHONNDA CLAIBORNE, REALTOR
HRKC PRO WINGED CHAMP KARTS – 20 laps
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (49) Brandon Lorah; 20
2. (59) Charlie-Ray Lorah; 20
3. (8) Tommy Jackson Jr.; 20
4. (27) Cullen Roberts; 20
5. (39) Mattisen Morrill; 20
6. (33) Ryan Hudgins; 20
7. (24) Vaughan Crittenden; 20
8. (52) Chris Bechtel; 20
9. (41) Brian McGhee; 20
10. (73) Harry Leach; 20
11. (95) Jonathan Mullett; 20
12. (16) David Millard; 20
13. (01) Jesse Call; 20
14. (14) Tillman Heuer; 20
15. (71) Shawn Gervais; 19
16. (25) Cody Espinoza; 19
17. (28) Gary Osbourne; 19
18. (10) Danny Millard; 18
19. (04) Teddy Burris; 17
20. (45) Aaron Leach; 5
21. (63) Clif Savage; 4
Pole: H. Leach – 60.743 mph.