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CHAMPION CREW CHIEF: Geo Brunnhoelzl Jr


November 28, 2012 - 4:27pm

Any good crew chief never stops working. George Brunnhoelzl Jr. is no exception. Less than two months removed from leading his son, George Brunnhoelzl III to his third NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour championship, Brunnhoelzl Jr. is already thinking ahead.

Way ahead.

“It's a great thing to be able to do it three times. Who knows how many more times we can do it?” Brunnhoelzl Jr. said. “We have a goal.

“You look at guys like Richie Evans, Jerry Cook, Mike Stefanik – Mike Stefanik has seven (Modified championships). Georgie's young, he's only 30 years old, so anything's possible.”

With a track record like the one the No. 09 Phoenix Pre-Owned Chevrolet team has over its last three full seasons on the Tour – 16 wins, 16 poles and 38 Top-10 finishes in 39 races – the sky would certainly appear to be the limit.

But while Brunnhoelzl Jr. has the big picture somewhere in the back of a constantly churning mind, he's also focused on the week-to-week effort that produces such overall success.

“In retrospective, I don't think (2012) was much different at all,” he said. “We approach every single year knowing we've got to win races, and wherever it falls it falls. That's what we concentrate on. Every race we go to, we hope we have a car capable of winning.

“The last two years, we've been very fortunate.”

Fortunate enough that Brunnhoelzl III is in position to continue writing the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour record books each and every season. This season alone, the team won from the pole on four different occasions.

Getting Brunnhoelzl Jr. to talk about the keys to his success as crew chief, though, isn't as easy as he makes winning races appear to be.

“We knew once we got to the (points) lead, but we don't like to talk about points, period,” Brunnhoelzl Jr. said. “All year long people try to talk to you about it, but I'm a very superstitious person. I don't like to talk about anything, I don't like certain colors, I don't like certain numbers, I don't like certain things.”

And like most good crew chiefs, Brunnhoelzl Jr. spends more time fretting over the speed bumps during a season than reliving the highs of winning races or championships.

“I hate to say this, but there's nothing that really stands out as far as highlights (in 2012),” he said. “There are a couple of disappointments that stand out in my mind. I don't understand why it happened or how it happened, but we had one really bad race and another one that was really some bad luck.

“But it is what it is. You just keep working hard and trying to do the best you can.”