CONCORD, N.C. – A year after sitting out the North-South Shootout for tour-type modifieds at Concord Speedway, Andy Seuss returned to the event and held off Matt Hirschman to take home the $10,000 top prize.
Seuss came out on top of a topsy turvy race event that saw two lengthy caution periods, one for a crash and another for a scoring issue.
Coming from the seventh position, Seuss was one of only two lead lap cars not to pit under the first caution on lap 56, which lasted 40 laps before officials finally sorted out the lineup because of a scoring issue. Seuss was scored as the leader during the restart but was quickly swallowed up during the ensuing restart.
The next caution period was also a lengthy one after a massive crash through the dogleg on the backstretch collected the cars of Bryan Dauzat and James Civali. The pair was none too pleased with each other and had to be separated after a confrontation immediately after the crash.
Seuss took the opportunity to pit under caution for adjustments and his mandatory tire change. He restarted near the tail of the field, but by the time the caution flag waved on lap 89 he was running eighth. Many of the leaders in front of him opted to pit for adjustments and tires, but Seuss took the opposite strategy and stayed out.
The race resumed and Seuss quickly pounced, going from fourth up to second before another caution flag on lap 92. During the restart he was able to slip past leader Steve Masse to take the lead, but behind him Hirschman was on a mission working his way up through the field.
By lap 100 Hirschman was running fourth and closing the gap on Seuss, but traffic would soon come into play. After taking over third, Hirschman got trapped behind second-place Richard Savary for more than 10 laps. He finally disposed of Savary on lap 120, but that left him only five laps to track down and pass Seuss.
Hirschman got to the back bumper of Seuss within a lap, but Seuss held form. With two laps to go the pair caught a pack of lap cars. Seuss went low and Hirschman tried the top line behind a pair of lap cars in front of them, with Seuss managing to get the better run through the dogleg to hold the lead.
Hirschman never got another shot as Seuss held on to score his first victory in the North-South Shootout.
“We actually stayed out when everybody else pitted so we had a few more laps on our tires. It had just enough,” Seuss said. “When we stayed out and didn’t take tires I thought the race was over. I can’t say nothing about this car. Sometimes you didn’t have the best car and you lucked into a win. We had the best car, we had bad luck and then some good luck.
“Matt Hirschman is the best in the business. I don’t know that we would have been better than him on equal tires, but it was enough.”
Hirschman, a five-time North-South Shootout winner, said his only shot would have been to get around Savary earlier in the run. If he had done that, he felt like he might have been able to beat Seuss.
“Getting into second quicker would have helped,” Hirschman said. “I think both Andy and the second-place car the time, the 99 (Savary), I think they fell off a little bit more with about five or six to go. That helped me and it was enough to get there. Had they fallen off five laps sooner, maybe a different story. You just don’t know.”
Savary came home in third, followed by Jon McKennedy and late model veteran Jeff Fultz, who was making a rare tour-type modified start.
Andy Seuss, Matt Hirschman, Richard Savary, Jon McKennedy, Jeff Fultz, George Brunnhoelzl III, Jimmy Blewett, Jason Myers, Chuck Hossfeld, Tyler Truex, Jeremy Gerstner, Bobby Measmer Jr., Gary Putnam, Kyle Bonsignore, Andrew Krause, Steve Masse, Brandon Ward, Ronnie Souders, Woody Pitkat, Burt Myers, Calvin Carroll, John Sutton, Clay Rogers, James Civali, Bryan Dauzat.