problem in technical inspection right before time trials and tried to qualify on an unproven set-up. Seuss was one car short of qualifying for the race.
Undeterred, the #70 team came back for this weekend’s event. Seuss was 25th in practice, but will start 39th due to a shortage of owner points.
“We really wanted to get out for time trials and prove that
we belong in the show,” said Seuss. “We believe that we
could have had a top 20 or better starting spot, but we’re
in. We’ll have a good car in the race and we are starting
among some fast cars like the #50 (of Todd Bodine) and
Tommy Cravenho in the #60...guys like that.”
Has the fact that Seuss now has the chance to finally get
to race at the Magic Mile sunk in yet?
“It hasn’t. Right now, this is just another race. I’m pretty
excited because growing up this was a race we would
come up to watch. It was exciting for all of the stars to
come up to my home state of New Hampshire and putting
on one of the best races in the country.”
SPEC ENGINES GAINING POPULARILY
There are four spec engines in the NASCAR Busch East Series garage this weekend. John Freeman, Ruben Pardo, Matt Kobyluck and Bryon Chew are all using the new powerplant.
NASCAR BUSCH EAST/WHELEN MOD TOUR THURSDAY NHIS NOTES By Mike Twist
It Rained on Thursday, But There Will Still Plenty of Stories
FIELDS SET BY OWNER POINTS
Although both the NASCAR Busch East Series and Whelen Modified Tour teams got to practice at New Hampshire International Speedway on Thursday, the afternoon was pretty much a wash. Qualifying for both events was rained out and the starting fields were set by current owner points.
Track owner Bob Bahre didn’t want to see anyone go home without having a shot at qualifying, so he kicked in the additional purse money to expand both starting fields. This resulted in 46 cars for the Busch East race (which is not a record, but a number that has not been seen on an oval since the early 1990’s at NHIS) and 41 cars being gridded for the Mod race.
Point leaders Mike Stefanik (Modifieds) and Mike Olsen (Busch East) will lead the fields to green.
Alex Hoag thought he was going to have to withdraw his Modified after encountering engine problems, knocking the field down to only 40 cars, but now Hoag will at least make an attempt to start the event in his #87machine. Hoag will still compete with the #1 entry in the Busch East portion of the program – to be held on Saturday afternoon.
Alex Hoag's Modified sits on pit road while the other teams practice on Friday morning. (51 Photos)
MODS GET PLENTY OF PRACTICE DESPITE RAIN
Even though Thursday’s on-track activities were cut short, many of the Whelen Modified Tour teams were satisfied with the amount of time that they spend on-track.
“We got that one session in,” said Donny Lia, who was third quickest in practice. “We have a session in the morning, so we’ll be alright. It doesn’t really bother me at all.”
“It worked out alright for us,” said Tony Hirschman, who was second quickest in practice. “Practice went good and we’ll start by points. That’s fine. Everybody got enough practice. It just proves that we could do this all in one day. We don’t need to be here for two or three days.”
Ahead of both Hirschman and Lia on the speed charts was Todd Szegedy, who turned a best lap of 29.664 seconds.
FREEMAN LEARNS NEW DEAL QUICKLY
Since the last time that the Busch East Series raced, John Freeman has joined up with FitzBradshaw Racing’s Busch East Series program. They hit the track for the first time on Thursday and Freeman got settled in immediately. He was fourth quickest in practice.
Putting George into the #63 is a form of payback.
“Nevin helped me out when I got started,” said Sesely. “I used to race all of his leftovers. That’s how I ran for quite a few years. This year, he didn’t have anything going on and he wanted to run New Hampshire and the North-South Shootout. I told him that the car was sitting there for him. He came and got the car, finished it up and put his motor in. I helped him finish it up. He’s here, he’s happy and he’s seventh fastest. He’s 20-something spots ahead of me.”
Having George as a teammate helps Sesely as a driver as well.
“He helps me out a lot, especially with the drafting deal.
We already split cars three-wide in practice trying to keep
with him. He’s a sick son-of-a-bitch that kid. He’s out of his mind. He’ll be fast. It’s just a shame that he’s got to start so far back because he would have qualified in the top 10.”
EDDIE MAC IS BACK
In July, Eddie MacDonald and his crew chief Rollie LaChance were indefinitely suspended by NASCAR for refusing to complete technical inspection with their #48 entry at NHIS. They sat out for two races until receiving notification earlier this week that they would be welcome back in the series.
Anthony Sesely shows off his teammate's car (as much as the trap will allow). Note the jackstands. The team didn't bring enough for two cars and had to use unmounted wheels instead.
Eddie MacDonald's #48 gets pushed into its trailer after practice got rained out.
The team thrashed all week long to get ready for the track and were ninth quickest in practice.
“It’s definitely good to be back,” said MacDonald. “It was kind of last minute getting everything prepared and a second car here – the #41 for Rocky Moran. I’m looking forward to the race, but not to starting in the back. I want to stay out of trouble so that we can make Dover.”
MacDonald was surprised to have the opportunity to race this weekend. He was planning to field a car at arm’s length for Moran, but did not expect to be able to come to the track to watch it- much less to race against him.
“It was a big shock to get the call,” said MacDonald. “As soon as I hung up the phone, I made phone calls to make this happen and it all came together. I’ve been doing a lot of other racing and it’s nice to come back here.”
SEUSS PRIMED FOR START NUMBER ONE
In July, Andy Seuss planned to make his Modified Tour debut at New Hampshire. However, his family-owned had a
Tony Hirschman (#48) leads his son Matt (#59) in Thursday practice.
Andy Seuss works on his #70 in the rain.
“We were happy to end up fourth on the time sheets,” said Freeman. “We’re just trying to get used to this car. The team put together a good car here for us this week. We were a lot short on practice. There were a few things that we wanted to fix and we could have made the car a lot better. We were happy to come out fourth and if we can improve from that, I feel like we’ll have a really good car on raceday.”
Freeman will have to start 44th in the race since his #22 team is a new entity. But he won’t complain because he’s just happy to be in the show. Without the expansion of the starting field, he would be heading home early.
“At least we’re in the show. We were a little worried for them to do it on owner points with 46 teams here. We’ve got a new team without owner points, so we’re happy to be in the show. We’ll start in the back, but we’ll be ok. We climbed a lot further than that last time we were here. It was pretty fun, so we’ll go from the back to the front today and go after that hard charger award.
SESELY’S SECOND CAR GOES TO NEVIN GEORGE
Anthony Sesely’s second car isn’t going to sit in his trailer this weekend. It won’t be a back-up car either. Instead, Sesely has entered it for old pal Nevin George, who is currently between regular rides on the Modified Tour.
John Freeman (L) talks with fellow driver Dr. Joe Masessa.