Leftovers: True Value Modifieds at Seekonk by Denise DuPont
Ricci, Hinckley, Jarvis, Seuss and More
RICCI GETS ON THE PODIUM
The final podium finish went to one of the young chargers of the series Tony Ricci from Maine. Tony had a strong run during the event and finished third.
Tony Ricci finished third. (Jim DuPont Photos)
“It is about time,” said Ricci. “It has been a long year. We should be running up front every week. This is our first top five all year, but we are here now and that is all that matters now. I love this place. It is a place when you can roll around and you are not really mashing the brakes I am comfortable here. I cannot wait to come back.”
Ricci started the 2007 season with high expectations and racing plans.
“It has been a long season. I kind of thought that we were going to be more competitive coming into the season. Coming home third after the deal there last week where I got robbed. There was a little altercation on the track. I felt that I was unfairly punished and sent to the back. I was not even going to come today. We decided come here at the last minute. At 11:00 o’clock this morning we made the drive and missed first practice. I am kind of glad that I came now. We came home in third place, so we are happy.”
Ricci started the race in seventh position and was up in a fourth spot running with the leaders by lap 60.
“The car was better then it actually showed. With the season that I had I was not going
to force the issue. I just wanted to finish. But when it comes down to $10,000 to win I am going to be forcing the issue.”
When the last caution came out it took a toll on some of the lead cars that were racing hard for the lead including Ricci. It put a break in the momentum and concentration that they had to get to the front.
“The last caution did not help the car. It hurt me though because I got caught on the outside of somebody that was trying to run me into the backstretch wall and I lost some ground. With just ten laps to go it is hard to pass some cars. I did not want to see the caution.”
The race laps ticked off fast and the cars kept gong around the track like tornado winds stalled circular path.
“I like fast paced races. Particularly when I get out there and get into a rhythm at a place like this. You are not off the gas real hard and you are not on the brakes real hard. You are just rolling around the track. That is the kind of place that we need race.”
As a young driver on the circuit going to several different tracks, what does Ricci think of racing at Seekonk and some of the other tracks?
“There is plenty of room here. It has a little bank. It has a little bit of momentum. It has a little bit of everything. There is the perfect track for this tour. This is the place that I do not complain coming to three or four times. We got to Monadnock about five times and I complain about that. You come to this place and you do not tear anything up. Even the wrecks that were out there tonight, nobody was torn up real bad. You spin out or you run three wide with out cautions. That is what I like. That is the perfect thing for this tour. It needs tracks like this. The tour does well in third mile tracks where you have plenty of room and no walls. Like Oxford and beech Ridge tracks. Waterford is about the same size track but you have that wall that sucks you in. You cannot get away from it. Thompson is the worst place for this tour to go because we cannot afford it. There are guys building motors just to go there from this tour so they can unleash a brand new motor. My motor is going to have 3,200 laps on it when I unload there at the end of the season. I cannot afford to do that. But the tour is a good deal and hopefully they will get the bugs ironed out.”
Ricci has not been able to participate in all of the TVMRS races this year due to other activities.
“I am a crew chief for a PASS car so I cannot race for the next couple of weekends but I will be at Thompson for the Mod Mania Weekend.”
SEUSS HAS A ROUGH NIGHT
Andy Seuss was well in front of the field during his heat race as its checkered flag was thrown so his night was off to a good start, but that fortune did not carry over to the feature.
“It was not the night that we wanted for sure,” said Seuss. “We were good in the heat race. We tightened it up for feature and it was way too tight. I think that we burnt the front tires off of it because we came in and freed her up and it was free in, tight through the center and then free off. There was just no temperature in the front tires. So we might have just burnt them up.”
Seuss and his team raced in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event at Thompson on Thursday and then had one day to turn around their only car to race at Seekonk.
“It was a long week,” said Seuss. “We tried to do Thompson and Seekonk which meant trying to rush around and change everything. So we have to go through the car. It was a rough night at Thompson so we need to look for something that we did not catch. The car was not 100% ready to be here. We are just looking forward to next week and hopefully we can get this car squared away. After last weekend and the beginning of the day we had it back to normal now it is not. We had good runs at Canaan and Thompson so I think that the car is back and we just missed something tonight so we will have to find it.”
At the end of the race the left side of the Seuss car was hanging lower then the right side. What caused the damage to the back of the car during the race?
“I do not really know. I was really tight so I was in a lot of people’s way. So I do not know what really happened there. That was the least of our problems. It is just too bad. It needed just a little bit more work. The car is pretty much in one piece and we have a full week to get ready for next week so we will be all right.”
As far as taking notes and learning from tonight’s ride, the Seuss team had the following noted:
”Maybe do not tighten up the car too much. The car ended up free here but you really have to be free to be turning because you are turning on the whole track. We tried something. It did not work tonight so we will know that for the next time and hopefully we will be that much better.”
A third of the way through the race, Andy was stuck running on the bottom of the track. During the heat race and practice Andy ran the car in a groove on the top of the track and was passing cars and faster on the track then other. Andy started the race in third position and was on the bottom not his favorite part of the racing groove.
“I definitely had to pinch it a lot. With it being tight it may have heated up the front tires. I tend to like the outside here. And we have made a lot of progress on the outside at this race track. You know I actually claimed once that I could not ride the bottom here. It certainly did not work here tonight because I was backing up when I was on the bottom so maybe that is it. Maybe I just have to learn how to drive the bottom here. Mostly it was just an ill handling race car. We will take it back and find out how we can make it better.”
KUHN JUST MISSES A TOP TEN
Jimmy Kuhn, Jr had a strong car at the start of the race at Seekonk. During the first fifty laps he drove to maintain his spot with the race leaders. Then the car started to fade and Kuhn pitted.
“We changed the car all around from the way that we were running because I have not been happy with the way that it has been running lately,” said Kuhn. “We have been trying a bunch of different things during the year to see if we can learn some stuff. So we went back to some stuff that we kind of know. But from our own doing we just did not tighten it up during the start of the race. So the car was actually very good during the beginning of the race but it freed up. We came in and tightened up but it is hard coming up through. We had a real time coming up through the pack. We got trapped and we could not get through. It seems like we always got in the wrong lane.”
Kuhn thought after the race. “It was a fast race. All in all, we actually had a pretty good car. We finished so. We are going to stick with what we have here, we will take it and run all the rest of the races with it.”
Should he have taken the gamble and not pitted?
“If we had not pitted it is tough to say what would have happened. It may not have gotten any worst and we may have finished better than we did now. But any time that you are not going to win then you are not going forward you might as just as well pit because you are not going to anything more than back up. So we took the chance and pitted. Some times it works and some times it doesn’t. Tonight it did not pay off as much as we wanted it to. We have some good notes for the Wednesday night race. We know that we have to tighten it up more than we wanted to start he race. Hopefully we will be in better shape. The next race here will be an interesting race.”
Kuhn ended up finishing in the 11th position.
VINNIE WHO? TAKES RUNNER-UP SPOT
After the race, we caught Vinnie ‘Who’ on his way to the parts trailer. His team had just determined what had happened to the car during the race, where he led early, but finished second.
“The sway bar fell off. And when the sway bar falls off you have no more bit. And that is just what I had. The last ten laps I had no bite in the car at all. And I am blaming the tires and blaming everything. We go to push the car and the sway bar is not hooked up. The car was so loose I could not even drive it. I could have beaten him if a yellow did not come out. He would not have gotten by me. But when the yellow came out it was either drive into him in turn one and wreck him or let him go. So second is better than wrecking. Even being the first loser is better than wrecking.”
There was a major look of relief, not anger on Vinny’s face taking about the race finish.
“At least now I know what was wrong with the car. Because I was blaming it on the tire and the way I was setting it up. Now I know what was wrong so that was a big thing. We will go and have fun in the $10,000 race.”
ALEXANDER EYES TITLE FIGHT
When the heat races started to be déjà vu for Kirk as he spun he was wondering if it was going to be another one of those night for him at Seekonk. “It was not bad in the heat race we came up pretty go after being spun. It could have been better if they did not double us up.”
Kirk has vacation plans for the week when the $10,000 open race will be held at Seekonk. So Kirk has defined and set his goals for the TVMRS.
“We are working towards the championship this year. Last year we took a few races off and we were not really running for points. This year I wanted to come back and try to win the championship again. I am on a good roll so hopefully.”
As far as for his thoughts on tonight:
“We are in one piece and ready for our home track of Monadnock.”
JARVIS LOOKS AT HIS SCHEDULE
Will Dwight who has competed so well and consistent in the TVMRS this season return to Seekonk for the Open Race?
“The boys would like to come back for the $10,000 race but we would have to take off two days of work to come down. We were hoping that they were going to have it on that Saturday night when everyone could make it but they looked at it different. We will go to Monadnock and hopefully we can get a win. “
This fall Dwight has he sights on another big race.
“We are looking forward to going to Thompson. No matter what happened down at Thompson we all feel sorry about it. We will go to the open Mod Mania race and have a good time.”
HINCKLEY ON WINNING
After the race Les took some time to reflect on the win at Seekonk.
“Another win but it was a little bit of a shocker for us. We do not usually run well her. We out a lot of effort and hard work into it and it turned around for us. We did not get carried away in practice and try to make the top of the speed chart in practice. We just go the car balanced well and went from there. It worked out pretty well. It was a fun race with Vinny. He is a classy guy. He has a million laps here so it was fun to race with him and watch what he was doing to protect his line. We needed that caution there at the end to get beside him. Once we got squared up beside him we knew we had a good enough car to keep him down and go by him. Prior to that he was good enough just to keep me behind him. It was lot of fun racing with those guys.
Will Les try to continue his lucky streak and return to Seekonk for the Open Race?
“I am not sure that we are coming for the $10,000 open race. Up until this point the \decision was not to come so we will have to see what Chuck wants to do. Then make a decision what to do. I am not positive that we are coming. If we are coming the car will come back the way that it was tonight.“
Again tonight the TVMRS officials did a detailed tech inspection after the race. This time they had the top five finishing cars in the race in the tech corral.
“They were bumping cars per cubic inch tonight. With all of the different engine packages that this tour allows to build versatility for these guys, it is something that they need to stay on top of. They have added some new tech people and Pete has done a good job with that. They stepped up their program a little bit. Last week we had trannies and clutches out of the car and this week we had cubic inch. At the end of the light everyone wants to hop into the hauler with the car and get out of here and go home but when you run up front it is not a bad thing going to tech and make sure that everyone is on the same playing field. It is always nice I commend them for doing a good job with that. “