SEUSS BECOMES THE LITTLE GIANT AT SPEEDWEEKS by Jeremy Troiano
Goodale Wins Finale, Seuss The Champion
Kevin Goodale finally got his first win of Speedweeks on Saturday's final night of racing, beating Jimmy Blewett after grabbing the pole position as well. And there is nothing take that away from Goodale, who beat some of the best in the business to grab the win.
But the star of Saturday night was Andy Seuss.
Seuss, who all week referred to himself as the little guy among giants, grabbed a fifth-place finish and, in the process, earned the Speedweeks Championship for the Modified Division. By winning the title, Seuss beat the likes of Ted Christopher, Donny Lia, Chuck Hossfeld, Eric Beers and John Blewett.
“A couple of weeks ago, I would have never have dreamed this,” said Seuss. “I just wanted to win a race. I knew there would be some wrecking, and I would just need to survive that.
“This week, we just base hitted them to death. We didn’t hit any homeruns, but we kept getting RBIs.”
The fact is Andy didn’t ever win a race all week long. In fact, he never even finished in the top-three. But the one thing that Seuss did that no one else could was stay out of trouble. He finished seventh, fifth, fourth, fifth, sixth and fourth heading into Saturday night.
He was leading the point standings, against some of the best in the Modified business - guys he’d looked up to all of his life.
On Saturday night, all he needed to do was continue doing what he did all week long. Just finish.
Andy Seuss was the biggest winner on Saturday night at New Smyrna. (51 Photo)
“As we were running more up front, we started focusing more on the race setup and less on qualifying. That got me upset because we weren’t qualifying well, but the car would come on in the race. Even when the car was messed up, the car finished fifth in the Richie Evans 100. What more can you ask for?
“When we left (Friday) night, we didn’t even want to talk about it. We knew if we finished in the top five, we’d be good. And we finished in the top-five most of the nights. That was our goal. Then we came in this morning because we knew exactly where we needed to finish. Exactly how many points we had to gain on each guys and everything.
“Tonight, Chuck Hossfeld (who was second in the points heading into Saturday night) was in my sights and I wouldn’t care to pass him one bit. I knew I didn’t have a chance to win the race, so I wasn’t going to do anything to hurt my chances.”
Hossfeld, who finished second in the championship standings, was impressed with Seuss.
“If I was him I’d be very proud,” said Hossfeld. “They had their car right and they were really consistent. They didn’t really have any bad luck as far as getting taken out or getting in wrecks and stuff. Down here there’s a lot of luck involved, like with the redraw and things like that. I’m not taking anything away from him, he did a great job.
It’s good for him, a young guy, to win like that. I’ve tried to win this thing twice now and he should be proud that he won it.”
Seuss did just what he needed to do. He finished fifth on
Saturday night and became the Speedweeks Modified champion.
“It means a lot to me. It is my first championship in a car. I won a few in the go-karts, but never in a full-size car. I have the utmost respect for these racers. I am the biggest modified fan there is. I go to every modified race I can, whether I’m in it or not. I just can’t say how much it means to run with these guys on a track that Richie Evans made famous. I can’t express how awesome it was to see my guys really come together. I’ve been in total disbelief the last couple of days being in the points lead. Today, I couldn’t’ eat. I couldn’t sleep a wink last night. I thought like I was going to puke all day long. I’ve never been in this position.
“We are the little guys. We don’t have a lot of money and we have a little operation. We don’t have a backup car. We don’t have a backup engine. We don’t have backup exhaust. We didn’t even bend a rim all week.”
Something else that is impressive is the fact that Seuss doesn’t even run the king of all Modified tours, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. Instead, he is one of the true runners of one of the “little guys” up north, the True Value Modified Series.
“We were just the people that were struggling on the True Value Modified Tour last year. Then, at the end of the year, we hit on some setup stuff and we won some races. We ran up front at the North-South shootout at the end of the year. I think people started to realize. We came out here and practiced and we were good. We qualified and we were good. The first race was actually my lowest finish and we were ecstatic, because we just got better and better.
outside wall, taking teammate John Blewett with him and knocking both out of the event.
Ironically, Bierce owns the #19 car that Summers was driving on Friday night.
“I don’t know what happened,” said Christopher. “I knew we had a really good car. We were just pushing Jimmy (Blewett) around. John, who was right behind me, said the guy drove right into me.
“There is a guy there that was making laps just to get beer money. We lapped him in one f**ing lap, then he is racing you down into one and drives into you like that. I don’t know if his spotter didn’t tell him or what. I don’t know.”
Was the payback intentional by Bierce?
“I was trying to get out of the way when they were coming at me and I got loose in the turn,” said Bierce. “Then I got hit from behind. I don’t know who it was that got into me but it got my car sideways.
“I wouldn’t say it was my goal (to wreck TC), but I wasn’t too happy about the night before when he got into the 19 (Summers). I didn’t see where he was, but it happened and I’m not sad about it. It wasn’t my goal but It’s like it came down from above; payback time.”
SK CHAMPIONSHIP… WEIRD
On Friday night, Ted Christopher got into it with Rob Summers. When TC was flying through the field over the last 10 laps, he hit Summers and knocked him out of the way. Following the checkers, Summers came up and hit Teddy. Then, the two continued banging after the checkers.
On Saturday night, Summers wasn’t in the field. but TC was. Another car in the field was that of George Bierce.
Bierce, driving the #95, was just making some laps when TC came to lap him early in the event. As TC lapped Bierce, the two made contact and TC spun and hit the
TC (#80) goes around and hits the wall. (51 Photo)
Seuss (#70) chases down Chuck Hossfeld (#22). (Jim DuPont Photo)
Kevin Goodale and his team celebrate in Victory Lane on Saturday night.
Lost in the Andy Seuss Championship celebration was the fact that Kevin Goodale picked up his first win of Speedweeks.
Goodale had a near perfect night. He was the night’s quickest qualifier, then quickly moved through the field and passed Jimmy Blewett with just two laps to go to take the 25-lap feature race victory.
The pass for the lead wasn’t entirely clean though. Goodale laid the bumper to Blewett, leaving Blewett a little unhappy.
“I was setting him up for a while,” said Goodale. “I was trying to get by him on the outside for a little while, but he was tight so even if I did take him on the outside, he
would’ve pushed up in the middle of the corner and got into me. So we went around and around I was pushing him a little bit to try to get him further up the track. He would keep his speed low in the corner to keep his car low, so I just got him at the right time on the second to last lap so it was good. I knew I could check out after that. I was good.”
Blewett didn’t see it the same way.
“It was a dirty move,” said Blewett. “It’s a 25-lap race. I guess he really wanted to win. If that’s the way he wants to race to win, then one favor returns another. He’ll get his. It’s no big deal. The car’s still in one piece. I thought we were going to wreck when he bonzied me, so we’re happy to still be in one piece. I thought about paying him back, but I’m not going to do it.”
The move couldn’t take the sweetness away from the win for Goodale.
“After last night we knew we had a good car,” added Goodale. “We had a good run last night but we got it even better tonight. After hot laps, I knew we had the car to beat. It was just going to be a matter of getting to the front. Jimmy was tight in the middle and it was getting worse and worse. The other guys were catching me from behind so I had to do something and we got by him.”
TC GETS TAKEN OUT… INTENTIONALLY?
“A couple of years ago, we came down here. My parents took out a loan to buy a racecar and get my name out there. That worked, because we got the attention of my current car owner, Jerry Morello. I feel awesome for my owner and my sponsor One Stop Toy Shop. We gave him his first top five at New Smyrna last year. He’s been coming here for some time. We are excited to give him his first championship.”
Waling around the pits last night, it still hadn’t sunk in to Seuss that he was the champion.
“These are the best down here; The Teddy Christophers, the Chuck Hossfelds, the Eric Beers. These are the best and I just have the utmost respect for all of them.
“I really wanted to win a race coming down here. We didn’t get he right brakes coming down here though. Some people don’t. I can’t complain a bit though. We’ve got a championship.
“This is the best two weeks of my life. It has been amazing.”
NIGHT NINE NOTES: MODS
GOODALE TAKES FINAL NIGHT WIN
“This is big for the True Value series. We’ve had some conflicts with the series our self, but they’ve always been very supportive of my other racing. We support them as much as we can. We are going to go back this year and run for the championship. I’m going to keep supporting the series and we’ll be back.”
And of course, Seuss was very thankful for his team.
“The car was flawless all week. The crew was amazing all week; guys that take two weeks off of work to come down here. I can’t thank them enough. One person I really need to thank is my brother Steve. He stayed home and ran the family business this week, which just happens to be the busiest week of the year. It just coincided this year. He said he’d take care of it and let me and my dad come down and have some fun. I owe a lot to him. I can’t thank him enough.
Seuss celebrating his title. (51 Photo)
Jimmy Blewett was "lucky" to be the SK Champion. (51 Photo)
The battle was the SK Modified championship was weird, to say the least.
The battle came down between Jimmy Blewett and Tom Farrell. Blewett got wrecked out early, semmingly handing the championship to Farrell. Then, Farrell got into an accident, forcing him to finish fourth. That sent officials into a frenzy to find out who was the actual champion.
It was then announced that Farrell was the champion. The team rolled the car to the front stretch and they started taking championship photos.
Then, officials made a correction. Blewett was found to be the actual champion, by just one point over Farrell.
“We were getting ready to load the car in the trailer,” said Blewett. “It was cool (to find out we won the title). When we did wreck, they (the #8 team of Farrell) were standing on pit road clapping. We don’t do that to anyone when they wreck, because that is just bad. They were cheering and clapping because I
wrecked. Now, we’re sitting here on pit road as the champion by one point. So who has the last laugh?”
Farrell had to load the car up and go home, without the trophy that he thought he had in his pocket.
“Well we pulled in as the points champion, now I don’t know what we are,” said Farrell, after taking the championship photos. “I don’t know what they’re doing. They’re saying Jimmy has it by one, but (Mod director Dick) Brooks told me in victory lane that we won it by two, so I don’t know what the outcome really is. I’m aggravated. This was just a tiring experience.