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The 2015 season will mark the 11th year of the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour which, was established by NASCAR in 2005 as a sister tour to the northeastern-based NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
The tour was patterned after its New England-centered counterpart and has featured six champions during its current format topped by West Babylon, New York, native George Brunnhoelzl III’s record four titles.
North Carolina modified racing legend Junior Miller won the first two tour titles in 2005-06 driving for Riggs Racing, a team that had already enjoyed success in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour before moving to the southern tour full-time when NASCAR began sanctioning events in 2005. L.W. Miller then scored top honors in 2007 and Brian Loftin captured the crown in 2008.
Brunnhoelzl won his first title in 2009 and fellow third-generation driver Burt Myers broke through for his first tour title in 2010. Brunnhoelzl then became the first driver to win three in a row and he also amassed 21 wins during his four championship seasons. Brunnhoelzl skipped the 2010 season when he decided to return to his family’s roots and compete for the Whelen Modified Tour championship.
After finishing in the top five in the final standings for six consecutive seasons – highlighted by runner-up finishes in 2009 and 2011 – Andy Seuss finally broke through to win his first championship last season when he edged Brunnhoelzl by just 14 points in the second closest finish in tour history.
|RECORD BOOK (2005-14)|
|YEAR-BY-YEAR TOP 10|
|MOST POPULAR DRIVER|
|SUNOCO ROOKIE OF THE YEAR|
|ALL-TIME RACE RESULTS|
A Hampstead, New Hampshire, native, Seuss moved to North Carolina full-time and will attempt to become the third driver to win back-to-back titles in 2015.
While the Whelen Southern Modified Tour was a new addition in 2005, NASCAR itself has a long tradition of Modified racing in the Southeastern U.S. Prior to the formation of the Whelen Modified Tour in 1985, NASCAR Modified teams competed in national championship events up and down the East Coast, including stops at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C., North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway and Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Top drivers from North Carolina and Virginia such as Ralph Brinkley, Ray Hendrick and Satch Worley, were regular NASCAR Modified competitors.
The Whelen Southern Modified Tour raced at 19 different speedways in six states from Connecticut to Georgia in its first 10 seasons. Caraway Speedway in Sophia, North Carolina, has played host to the tour more times than any other track with 53 races held at the .455-mile facility from 2005-14.
The tour now regularly visits tracks in North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee. South Boston (Virginia) Speedway and Langley Speedway in Hampton, Virginia join Caraway as the only tracks to host multiple events.
Other tracks featured on the 2015 schedule include Bowman Gray Stadium and Hickory (N.C.) Speedway with Bristol Motor Speedway and the Charlotte Motor Speedway quarter-mile hosting the tour in conjunction with NASCAR national series events.
The Whelen Southern Modified Tour appeared at venerable Bristol for the first time in 2009 in what has become an annual combination race with the Whelen Modified Tour, and ventured to New England for the first time in 2011 at Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
Whelen Engineering, a Connecticut-based manufacturer of emergency lighting systems, is the title sponsor of both tours. The cars of the Whelen Southern Modified Tour are nearly identical to those used on the Whelen Modified Tour.