Andy Seuss captures NASCAR Southern Mods title in Charlotte

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A fifth-place finish last night on the infield quarter-mile at Charlotte Motor Speedway gave Andy Seuss the 2014 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour championship.

Seuss, a two-time runner-up in the Southern Mods standings, has finally broken through on the strength of three wins and 12 Top-5s in 14 races this year.

“All I would talk about leading up to this race was ‘We need a solid race, we need a solid race’ – didn’t even talk about the points,” said Seuss, who needed a finish of 12th or better to clinch.

“The team gave me an amazing car capable of much better than a fifth-place finish, but in the end, we were trying to protect ourselves. I can’t thank them enough.

“To say it was a dream is the truth. I didn’t really think it was a goal or attainable, but I’ve got a bunch of crazy people pushing for me, behind me, that help me when I think it’s not possible. It’s pretty amazing.”

Four-time and reigning champion George Brunnhoelzl III was dethroned in the process despite finishing third behind race winner Burt Myers and J.R. Bertuccio.

Considering Brunnhoelzl’s dominance in the Southern Mods, Seuss said it was critical to have a good start to 2014. He did just that by winning the season opener, seizing the championship lead in the third race, and going from there.

“We had a great end of last year and in the off-season, we gained even more and we knew we had to come out winning,” Seuss said. “We did. We had a perfect day at Caraway (N.C.) in the season opener and led every lap. Another great day at South Boston (Va.) early on, and that just kind of set the tone.

“The second half of the season was actually not what we’re used to as far as wins – we usually come on a little stronger. Maybe it was the points situation. But we knew we had to come out of the gates swinging and this team was up for the task and did a great job.”

Seuss will be honored for his accomplishment with the rest of NASCAR’s touring division champions at a Dec. 12 ceremony in Charlotte.

As for the outcome of Thursday’s race, Myers held off Brunnhoelzl in a green-white-checkered finish to earn the win in the Southern Slam 150.

The two had battled for the lead shortly after Lap 80 before Myers took and held control until the G-W-C. Bertuccio peeled second off Brunnhoelzl on the final lap.

Simon Pagenaud’s engineer relives 2019 Indy 500 victory on Twitter

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The Team Penske engineer for last year’s Indianapolis 500 winner is reliving Simon Pagenaud’s day by tweeting about what he was doing each moment a year later.

Starting with an observation that he awoke in his Indianapolis hotel room at 4:30 a.m., Ben Bretzman (@benbretzman) sent nearly two dozen tweets by 11 a.m. ET about how the morning before the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 unfolded.

Bretzman was through the infield tunnel and in Gasoline Alley by 6 a.m. By 7:30 a.m., he was wondering if his driver was awake yet, but he had heard for the first time from Pagenaud 45 minutes later.

‘BACK HOME AGAIN’Sunday at 2 p.m. ET, NBC

FIERCE FRIENDSHIPPagenaud, Rossi recall epic battle of 2019 Indy 500

Among other highlights: The team’s last strategy meeting was at 8:30 a.m.; final check of the weather was at 9:30 a.m. and Bretzman gave the No. 22 Dallara-Chevrolet a once-over at 10:35 a.m. before it was pushed to the grid.

Follow @BenBretzman to watch the day unfold from the pit box and tune into “Back Home Again at 2 p.m. ET on NBC as Pageanud and Alexander Rossi, who are good friends off the track, recap their epic duel with host Mike Tirico.

Simon Pagenaud and engineer Ben Bretzman debrief at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IndyCar photo by Joe Skibinski).