DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Since the inaugural UNOH
Perfect Storm 150 in 2009, the NASCAR Whelen Modified and Whelen
Southern Modified Tours have navigated the progressive banking at
Bristol Motor Speedway. That will all change this week when the
open-wheel racers become NASCAR’s first division to compete on the
revamped racing surface at the “World’s Fastest Half Mile.”
With stock car fans clamoring for a return to the beating and
banging that typified Bristol prior to its 2007 renovation – when
progressive banking was introduced – this spring the speedway milled
the racing surface in the upper groove through the turns. The
degrees of banking are now the same from the middle through the top
of the turns, with the purpose being to eliminate the third groove
as a viable option for drivers, and thus create tighter racing.
While the cars of the Whelen Modified Tours don’t have fenders like
their fellow NASCAR series, and are thus less likely to excessively
beat and bang, they’ll be the sanctioning body’s first
representatives to determine exactly how the revamped surface will
Reigning Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion – and current season
points leader – George Brunnhoelzl III is one of the few competitors
to have driven on both of the previous two configurations, and he
projects that the milled surface will change very little for the
“I think we always put on a good show there in the Modifieds, and I
really don’t see that changing,” Brunnhoelzl said. “Most of us
weren’t quite up the track like the [NASCAR Sprint] Cup cars are.
[Ryan] Newman used the top a little bit, but from my understanding
of what they did to the track, the bottom and the half of the middle
groove hasn’t been changed at all, so I think for the Modifieds it
should be as good a race as ever.”
While he doesn’t believe the track changes will affect the quality
of the race, Brunnhoelzl says that passing has the potential to be a
little more challenging.
“Not a lot of guys used the top, but it was there, and during the
course of the race I’m sure there were passes made up there,”
Brunnhoelzl said. “The racing groove basically got a little smaller,
so you will probably see a little more rubbing, bumping and banging
to get past a guy because real estate will be a little bit more
Whatever effect the milled surface will have on this year’s event,
it’s unlikely to reduce the amount of lead changes. The last three
years the race leaders have been quite successful at staying out in
front, with an average of five lead changes per race, and there have
been just five different drivers that have run at the front.
Brunnhoelzl has yet to be one of those select few to run up front at
Bristol, although he was the highest-finishing Whelen Southern
Modified Tour driver in the inaugural 2009 event when he crossed the
line fourth overall. This time around he hopes to be in a position
to deliver the southern tour its first victory in a combo race over
the northern counterparts.
“Bristol, if not the biggest, is one of the biggest races we’ll run
all year, so it would be really cool if we could [win] and to be one
of the first southern drivers to do it,” Brunnhoelzl said.
||UNOH Perfect Storm
(Tenn.) Motor Speedway
Wednesday, Aug. 22
.533-mile, high-banked concrete oval
8:30-9:50 a.m., Final Practice 11-11:50 a.m., Driver Autograph
Session 1:45 p.m., Qualifying 2:45 p.m.
Worley, 423-989-6948, firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter: @NASCAR_NE or Tim Southers, 386-235-3634,
The Race: The UNOH Perfect Storm 150 will be the ninth of
14 races for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, the seventh of 11
events for the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, and the lone
combination points race for the two this year.
The Procedure: The starting
field is 36 cars, including provisionals. The first 30 cars will
qualify through two-lap time trials. The remaining six spots will be
awarded through the provisional process. The race is scheduled for
150 laps (79.97 miles). The race will have a midway break at or near
the conclusion of Lap 75 and the tire change rule is four tires, any
The Track: Nicknamed the
“World’s Fastest Half Mile,” Bristol Motor Speedway is a high-banked
concrete oval. The track opened in 1961 as an even half-mile with 22
degrees of banking in the turns. It now features progressive banking
approaching 30 degrees through the corners and a distance of .533
Race Winners: Donny Lia was
victorious in the first UNOH Perfect Storm 150 in 2009 while Ryan
Newman took the checkered flag in the last two editions. The
highest-finishing NWSMT drivers in the first three Bristol races,
which are credited with a win in that tour, were George Brunnhoelzl
III, James Civali and Frank Fleming.
Pole Winners: Qualifying was
rained out for the inaugural event, but Justin Bonsignore took the
Coors Light Pole Award in 2010 with a fast lap of 14.835 seconds
(129.334 mph), which remains the record. Bobby Santos was the
overall pole winner last year while James Civali and Tim Brown have
been the highest-qualifying NWSMT drivers.
BRISTOL RACE NOTES
Points Leaders Enter Bristol on a Roll: Respective
modified tour points leaders Doug Coby and George Brunnhoelzl III
enter this week’s UNOH Perfect Storm 150 on a roll through the first
half of their seasons. Coby has forged a 41-point lead over
defending champion Ron Silk in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour
standings after eight events while reigning NASCAR Whelen Southern
Modified Tour titlist Brunnhoelzl leads Jason Myers by 45 tallies
following six races. Both Coby and Brunnhoelzl have made it
difficult for the field to catch up since they got out front – Coby
has posted seven-consecutive podium finishes in the northeast-based
circuit, highlighted by four wins, while Brunnhoelzl has won four of
the six events the southern tour has contested.
South Still Seeks Combo Victory:
Wednesday’s race will mark the 10th head-to-head, points-paying
combination race between the Whelen Modified and Whelen Southern
Modified Tours. Through the first three editions of the UNOH Perfect
Storm 150, and the six combo races between the two tours at
Martinsville Speedway from 2005-10, the southern contingent still
seeking its first outright victory over its northern counterparts.
James Civali has the highest finish of a designated southern driver
through the first three Bristol races when he crossed the line third
overall in 2010 and was credited with the Whelen Southern Modified
Tour victory for his efforts.
Newman the Two-Time Defending Winner:
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan Newman has won the last two
Whelen Modified events at Bristol. Moonlighting in Whelen Modified
Tour races at Bristol and New Hampshire Motor Speedway since 2008,
Newman has registered four victories in 10 starts overall. His four
triumphs came in consecutive fashion during the 2010-11 seasons, but
he enters Bristol this week with DNFs in his last two Modified
outings, which was also the result of his start in the inaugural
UNOH Perfect Storm 150 in 2009.
Christopher Seeks Elusive Bristol Win:
Although he did not attend last year’s UNOH Perfect Storm 150, Ted
Christopher remains the event’s laps leader through the first three
events with 190. He finished second to Donny Lia in 2009 after
leading a race-high 110 circuits, then had to settle for an
18th-place result in 2010 when he again led the most laps, 80, but
suffered a late-race engine failure. Christopher, who ranks third in
Whelen Modified Tour history with 42 career wins, has been
victorious at 12-different tracks during his career.
Strong Field for UNOH 150: With
42 cars entered, this year’s field is shaping up to be the largest
in the four years of the UNOH Perfect Storm 150. There are 22 cars
on the entry list from the Whelen Modified Tour and 18 from the
Whelen Southern Modified Tour. NASCAR national series drivers Newman
and Carl Long are also technically entered as southern tour drivers.
The previous high for entries was 40 in the 2009 inaugural event.
The starting field for the race will be 36 cars.
HOME TRACKS: Monteith Leads Volunteer
Nate Monteith is well on his way to a second-straight
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series state championship in Tennessee
thanks to his performance through the season at Kingsport Speedway.
As of the latest national standings, posted on Aug. 14, Monteith had
10 wins and 16 top fives in 18 starts to forge a lead of 662-534 on
Zeke Shell. Monteith has also parlayed success at Southern National
Motorsports Park in Lucama, N.C., and Greenville (S.C.) Pickens
Speedway to compile 716 total points this season, which has him
ranked second in the nation to Lee Pulliam’s 768.
NWMT LAST TIME OUT: Thompson
The most recent NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race was held
at Thompson International Speedway on Aug. 9. Here are some
highlights from the Budweiser King of Beers 150:
• Donny Lia came from a lap down to take the lead with 22 laps to go
and cruised to his first victory of 2012. It marked the 16th triumph
of his career, and first since 2009, his last full-time season on
• Points leader Doug Coby finished third to run his streak of
consecutive podium finishes to seven races.
• Mike Stefanik earned the Coors Light Pole Award, which extended
his tour record to 47, and marked his first pole since 2010 at
• Filling in for the injured Keith Rocco, Ted Christopher finished
fourth in his first-ever race with Boehler Racing Enterprises in the
famed No. 3 “Ole Blue.”
NWSMT LAST TIME OUT: Bowman Gray
The most recent NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour race
was held at Bowman Gray Stadium on August 4, in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Here are some highlights from the Strutmasters.com 199:
• George Brunnhoelzl III took the checkered flag. The victory was
the first of Brunnhoelzl’s career at Bowman Gray in five attempts.
• It was Brunnhoelzl’s fourth win of the season in six races in the
division. He also added to his tour record with all-time wins with
• The race featured 13 cautions for 84 laps which set a new record
for most yellow flags flown in a race and the most laps since the
tour began operation under NASCAR sanction in 2005.
NWMT NEXT TIME OUT: Thompson
The second edition of UNOH Showdown weekend is next up for
the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour on Sept. 8-9 at Thompson
International Speedway, where they will once again be joined by the
NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour. The Whelen Southern Modifieds
will run the GreenPointe Energy Southern 75, followed by the Town
Fair Tire Northern 75 Whelen Modified race. The highest finishers
from both of those races will then transfer to the UNOH Showdown, an
exhibition feature of 50 green flag laps. George Brunnhoelzl III was
the NWSMT winner a year ago while Doug Coby took checkers in the
NWMT race as well as the UNOH Showdown.
NWSMT NEXT TIME OUT: Langley
The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour will head to
Langley Speedway for the Langley 150 on Saturday, Sept. 1. This will
be the third consecutive year the track in Hampton, Va., will play
host an event. Andy Seuss is the defending race winner, which was
also the site of his most recent tour win. Tim Brown won the first
race held at the track in 2010. Langley is the home track of NWSMT
regular Thomas Stinson.