with the two leaders and then the car got really loose. I don’t know if it was me or the car.”
The three drivers shuffled positions among each other with Alexander eventually winning, Daniels second and Seuss third. There might have only been one winner, but there were definitely no losers in the top three either.
“I think that we have a real good competitive series here,” said Daniels. “I was hoping going into this race that the cream would rise to the top and hopefully, I would be part of that cream. It worked out that way, but going through the middle parts of that race, I had my doubts.”
TWO CHAMPS AND A YOUNG GUN FIGHT FOR VICTORY AT SEEKONKby Mike Twist
Mutual Respect Key to Another Great True Value Modified Race
If a Hollywood script writer came up with a cast of three drivers who were battling for the victory in Saturday night’s True Value Modified Racing Series event at Seekonk Speedway, he or she couldn’t have topped how things unfolded in real life.
There was last season’s teenaged Rookie of the Year Andy Seuss, who started on the pole after winning his third heat race in three events this season. Seuss had not won a TVMRS event entering the evening. His tight knit crew of family and friends claimed a victory by just making it to the race. In the first two events of the year, they lost oil pressure in their engine. Their engine builder was busy on other project this past week, so they pulled some long hours replacing internal engine parts on their own.
Then there was last year’s series champion Kirk Alexander, who hasn’t crossed the finish line in a position worse than second this season. In the opening race of
Daniels didn’t have an easy night either.
“I hit my left front on a spinning car and then I got punted up in turn one and lost about eighth positions,” said Daniels. “It didn’t seem to affect the car too much and I was able to get back up there and catch the leaders. I got to third and that’s when I started having a hard time.”
And Seuss wasn’t used to showing his stuff early on.
“It’s funny that I led the first half,” said Seuss. “People say that it’s easier starting from the pole like that, but I prefer to pace myself from further back. It might have hurt me in the last 10 or 15 laps. I had been keeping up
Those were the three guys who ended up deciding the victory. Alexander eventually won that fight, but all three put on a spirited battle. Afterwards, there were no hard feelings either. All three drivers congratulated each other on their efforts.
Actually, the compliments even started before the checkered flag even flew. As Seuss and Alexander battled for the lead, both drivers radioed their crews about the other one. Alexander told his own team over the radio that Seuss had a good car under him and to stay smooth out there. His spotter told that to Seuss' spotter and passed along the advice to the young driver. When Seuss’ crew passed that along to the young driver, he
Andy Seuss was fast, but an oil pump belt ended his night.
the year, he was disqualified for a minor problem with his carburetor after finishing second. All points for that event were thrown out and pit area observers wondered if he would even be back to race after that. He surprised a few people by showing up at Monadnock and scoring a dominating victory.
And finally, there was the NASCAR star of sorts. Peter Daniels won the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series National championship in 2002 and capped that season off with a whirlwind media tour that included appearing on Speed Channel with Michael Waltrip. Daniels is also a former driver in the NASCAR Busch North Series. He came 26 points shy of the championship last season, but has shown up even hungrier this year.
“It was awesome running with Andy,” said Alexander of the battle that he had with his young competitor to take over the lead. “There are a lot of guys that I run with who respect each other and some that don’t. The guys who run up front respect each other. We run each other clean and we run each other hard.”
Daniels was also impressed with the youngster.
“I got Andy on a restart,” said Daniels. “Kirk cleared him [on the inside] and I went along with Kirk. If I was a little bit braver, I would have tried Kirk on the inside on a restart or on the outside at the end, but I really didn’t want to give up something after I worked so hard to get it, so I settled
A full field of Modifieds signed into the pit area at Seekonk Speedway. (51 Photos)
returned the compliment over the airwaves saying that “I’m really starting to like those guys.”
Seuss led from the pole through the first half of the race. He fought off Jimmy Kuhn, Wayne Helliwell, Jr. and Louie Mechalides for the top spot early. Meanwhile, Alexander started shotgun on the field after needing a provisional to get into the race. He worked his way towards the front however and even made it look easy.
“The heat races are tough, everyone is going all out,” said Alexander of being shut out in the qualifying races. “The car was too tonight in the heat races. We loosened it up a little bit and then it worked awesome. I could go right by them on the outside. I used quite a bit of car getting to the front, but we held on.”
Alexander in victory lane.
There were plenty of fans to watch the Mods at the Cement Palace as well.
for second. Andy Seuss has come on strong. He’s a good racer. I knew when I had the position on him that he would give me room. I think that says a lot about the series. Most of the guys have raced together long enough to know that when somebody has a position on you, you give them room.”
Meanwhile, Seuss was taking notes.
“I’m just ecstatic to be in the company of Peter Daniels and Kirk Alexander with all of the wins and championships that they have,” said Seuss. “I have a Rookie of the Year, but I’d sure like to add some wins and championships to my list as well. They race you clean and they know when to bump and when not to. You can learn from that. I learned a lot of that from racing with Teddy Christopher. He knows when to put his nose into it and when to race clean. Watching those guys is how you learn to become a champion.”
Equipment was also a bit of an issue in the race. Alexander started the season with a brand new Troyer chassis and it’s been flawless so far.
“This car is everything,” said Alexander. “It was worth the investment. It works how a racecar should work and it’s just awesome. It was all worth it.”
Seuss’s team has had a few hiccups in their oiling system this season and they have been flawless in overcoming that.
“Everybody is tired,” said Seuss after the race. “We have a guy, Scott McEachern, on the crew who operates a crane and gets up at 4am every morning. He’s been
working late on the car this week and going home at midnight. Jimmy Lufkin owns a construction crew and works hard all day long and he’s been working in the car until the early hours of the morning. My father and I have been having our busy season at Rockingham Boat and then come up to work on the car. I’d finish the car at 1am, do my homework and then be up at 6am to go to school, work and get back to the shop again.”
“But there is no giving up on this team and that will keep us going. To finish third in a race with 30 cars showing up isn’t bad at all, especially with the company that we were in. It’s a great show of what [car owner] Jerry Morello has given us. It’s great equipment and we haven’t had to tweak it very much. We’ve adjusted a few things and changed the air pressure here and there, but that’s about it.”
The True Value Modified Racing Series will return to action this Friday night at Lee USA Speedway. Speed51.com will be there for Make-a-Wish night and will have a full recap from the track.
Andy Seuss (L) and Kirk Alexander (R) compare notes after the race.
Alexander (R) also got to talk to runner-up Peter Daniels to do a little post race bench racing.