Seuss Fights Off Brown and Traffic for Nashville SMT Win by Matthew Dillner
Old Fashioned Short Track Thriller for the Ultimate Music City Prize
When the open-wheeled warriors of the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour hit the track at Music City Motorplex, some of the fans, most of whom typically are fendered-racing followers, may not have known what to expect. But the show that the Mod Squad put on during the Tour’s inaugural stop in Nashville, surely made Mod fans out of the majority of them.
The 102-year old Fairgrounds were the setting for a good true old fashioned Short Track brawl. Tim Brown and Andy Seuss put up their dukes on the track while Brian Loftin and his dad chose to get into it with Chuck Hossfeld and his team in the pits after the race. (51 will have more on the incident between Hossfeld and Loftin in its Leftovers section later this week). Either way, it was a race for the ages.
Andy Seuss is the proud new owner of a Copley guitar. (51 Photos)
The two lapped cars of Jason Myers (front left) and Earl Baker (front right) held up Seuss (back left) and Brown (back right) ...
The lapped car, Earl Baker, felt that he had nowhere to go and didn’t know what the fuss was all about?
“I go down low to give these guys room and they want the whole racetrack,” said Baker after the race. “I go down low and one of the faster drivers goes under me and knocks me up into the other guy. They have to run their own race. I give them the room but they want to go down low and ram me into the guy they are racing. That’s their problem.
“We’re trying to not go a lap down and Jason and I are battling and neither one of us wants to give. I think it made it exciting for the fans. It’s racing. They told me there were back there but what are we supposed to do? Pull over and stop? “
After losing a lot of ground, Seuss eventually reeled Brown back in and the race was on for the lead again. Contact between the two and, you guessed it, a lapped car, enabled Seuss to re-take the lead.
“I got back to him and he checked up and the lapped car and I got into him,” said Seuss. “It wasn’t intentional but what goes around comes around. I am a true believer in karma.”
Karma states that what goes around comes around, and with lapped cars going around and some laps still remaining, traffic was bound to be a factor once more. And again the traffic ahead was Earl Baker. Seuss checked up as he dove low under the number-30. They made Baker the cream of the Oreo cookie splitting around Baker to make it three-wide down the backstretch. They came away from the split side by side scraping nerfbars in true dogfight. This time Seuss came out on top.
“I was like “what are these crazy idiots doing?” laughed Baker. “I’ve got one up high and one down low…what am I supposed to do? I was in limbo zone so I let them get around by me and then took off.”
With seemingly all the drama, and Earl Baker in their mirrors, it looked like it the race would go on and finish as-is. But a late race caution for an incident between Brian Loftin and Chuck Hossfeld gave fans a green-white checker finish gave the leader a nervous stomach.
“I figured on the last few laps before that restart I didn’t know if I was going to black out before they threw the green-flag for that green-white-checkered,” said Seuss of his nerves. “I don’t know how long that caution was but it felt like eternity. I just kept saying lets get this race started so I can do my job. I knew if I could do my job right we could come home as winners. You just think about every possible scenario and be ready for anything.”
Nobody in attendance was ready for what happened next. Brown already knew of the doom that awaited him on the final restart. When the green flag flew ignition troubles crippled Brown’s Hayes racer and Seuss took off for the win.
“Coming down to 30 to go, my car started missing,” said Brown who sputtered on to finish sixth. “Come to find out, the battery went dead. When that caution came out there at the end I was doing all I could do just to keep it running. I just held on there for wherever the hell we finished. We had a really, really good car here and it was just fun to come over here and race.”
Andy Seuss survived all of the drama and captured his first NASCAR win and the biggest victory of his young racing career..
“This is huge,” said Seuss still in disbelief after victory lane. “This is bigger than anything else. This is NASCAR. It doesn’t get any bigger. Hopefully this opens some doors for me and we can get a ride up on the Northern Tour. I love these Modifieds and if I can race these for the rest of my life I will do it. I love them.
Seuss got to be the first Modifed competitor to hoist the traditional Music City trophy, the Nashville guitar.
“I’ve watched this place on TV and it’s just awesome. I can’t believe I am holding this guitar. I’ve seen so many of the NASCAR drivers hold it up. It’s increadible and absolutely a dream come true.”
After the dust settled, Seuss had time to look at his trophy and reflect with family and crew on the triumph. He also got a congratulatory visit from Tim Brown. The two drivers talked about their great race and looked at special trophy they fought so hard for.
“It’s a unique trophy,” said Seuss. “I’ve got a lot of wooden trophies and gold trophies. I got a silver cup and thought that was the neatest thing I ever got. I just got a guitar that very few people get at Nashville Fairgrounds. I am very proud of it. I am probably going to sleep with it tonight and have it cuddled up next to me.”
Brown may lose a little sleep knowing that the Nashville guitar was the one that got-away. But both and Seuss realize that the show they put on at Nashville gave both drivers and the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour quite a stage presence in the Music City.
New Hampshire driver and Southern Tour invader Andy Seuss took the lead early in the race. While most of the field tried to save their equipment, they all were blown away by J. Wesley Swartout who stormed passed Seuss and checked out to a lead of nearly an entire straightaway. But in a 150-lap contest without the luxury of changing tires, Swartout faded allowing Seuss re-claim the top spot.
That set up a battle of North vs. South…veteran Short Tracker versus a young-pup. Six-time Bowman Gray Stadium Track Champ Tim Brown turned up the heat on young Andy Seuss. Both drivers had their hands full with each other and with the addition of lapped traffic the race for the lead got really entertaining. Seuss’s #70 and Brown’s #83 came up to lap the cars of Earl Baker and Jason Myers. Baker and Myers were racing for position and did not heed to the move over flag displayed by the flagman. Brown hopped under Seuss and for a few laps the four cars battled two-by-two with the fans on their feet in disbelief.
“We would catch the lapped cars and he’d (Seuss) pick the right lane,” explained Brown. “Then later on we’d catch lapped cars and I’d pick the right lane. Then a few laps later we’d catch more lapped cars and he’d pick the right lane and then I would. We swapped it back and forth and it was a lot of fun racing like that.”
Seuss finally found his way to the high-side of Baker’s machine but that’s when Brown made a bold move underneath both of them to make it three-wide. The aggressive pass going into turn-three nearly proved fatal for Seuss’s chances at a win.
“The 30 and the 4 were racing side by side in front of us,” said Seuss of the wild traffic jam. “The lapped cars were supposed to go to the bottom but today they were going everywhere. I went high and then they were racing in front of us. It was going to shake out fine but then Tim threw it down on the apron three-wide and pushed the lapped car and me up. I had all I could do not to wreck it. I lost about a half of a straightaway on him. That was pretty poor on his part.”
Seuss and his team celebrate their hard-fought victory at Nashville.
... but Brown (#83) made it three-wide around Baker (#30), Seuss (#70) wound up on the high side ...
... and wound up in the marbles, while Brown took the lead ...
... but Seuss fought back to take the lead, after rubbing nerf bars with Brtown.