51 Leftovers: Seekonk Speedway's Modified Madness
Putting The Wraps on a $10,000 To Win Open Comp Modified Show
By Mike Twist
Masse Leads Laps, Finishes on Podium at Modified Madness

One of the brightest stars of Modified Madness at Seekonk Speedway (MA) was young Stephen Masse.  The Massachusetts driver led throughout the middle stages of the race, but lost the lead to eventual winner Todd Annarummo after a late race restart.  Masse ended up finishing third and we can't blame him for being just a bit disappointed with that result after such a strong night.

“It was a great night,” said Masse with a hint of disappointment in his voice.  “If I came here and knew I was going to get second, I would have been so happy.  The car actually tightened up, which was a little weird.  It was tight on entry and I couldn't get through the center as good as Todd did.  I'm still a little confused because I don't know what happened.  With these tires, usually the right rear gives up and the car gets free, so I don't know what happened tonight.”

Masse has two career Modified Racing Series victories to his credit and they both came on the tight confines  of Thunder Road Speedbowl.  Since Seekonk is also a quarter-mile in length, it seems like Masse has really mastered this type of track.

“I tend to do good at these tracks,” said Masse.  “There's no explaining it, but I like the tracks.  I like the feel of the throttle and getting through the corners.  It just feels good to me.”

Things Don't Quite Work Out for TC

Ted Christopher finished fifth in the Modified Madness main event after starting outside the top 20.  TC was wheeling the #52 Modified for the Darling Motorsports team that had won the year before with Chris Pasteryak at the controls and was considered a favorite in this year's race.  But a poor heat race draw and an atypical race pace in the 100-lap feature left him behind the eight ball all night long.

“It was not a typical Seekonk race,” said Christopher.  “There were no cautions!  We would have liked to have had another one towards the end there.”

“We pitted and put a tire on.  Matty [Hirschman] pitted, but I don't think he put a tire on.  After that we were real good.  I tried saving it at the beginning but for some reason, it just got real loose in.  I don't know what happened there.”

Uneventful Night at Familiar Track Leads to Fourth for Kuhn

Jimmy Kuhn had a fairly quiet run to a fourth-place finish, but he was fine with that approach and its result.

“It was pretty good for us,” said Kuhn.  “Not bad at all.  The car was pretty good, but it got a little loose at the end and that's why I couldn't make a charge.  It was good for awhile and that was it.  So we'll take a fourth and won't complain because there were a lot of good cars here.”

Kuhn also had the benefit of plenty of laps around Seekonk.  He started his career at the track and has raced regularly in many divisions there, including the Pro Stocks (Super Late Models).

“1985 is when we started [at Seekonk].  It's been awhile.  I'm still having fun.  To come to a show like this and come away with a top five and the car in one piece, you can't complain.  It was a good night.” 

Preece Has a Good Race Go South Late

Ryan Preece had a great car for much of the 100-lap Modified Madness feature, but he faded late and was left with a finish of seventh.

“The car was unbelievable for the first 50 laps, but it went away,” said Preece.  “That seems to be the story of my life.  I wasn't beating it up.  The last time we ran it, at Thompson, we led 20 laps of the race and were dominating.  We had a leak and that got onto the right rear and ruined that tire. 

“So we came here knowing that if I could get some spots on the start, I was going to go with it.  If not, I was going to tuck in and wait until lap 75.  I got to fourth and then to third and I was just riding.  I gave it no more than quarter throttle and never spun the tires.  Then on about lap 75, it started to slide a little bit and once that happens, you know you are done from there.  We were debating whether to come in and put a right rear on and if we did, I think we would have been good.”

Preece isn't hanging his head too much about his finish though.  He's already planning on how to put the lessons he learned to work at the track in the future.

“Next year…that's all I've got to say…now we know what we've got to do.”

Hirschman Comes From Back to Finish Sixth

Matt Hirschman started deep in the field and finished sixth.  He seemed to pace himself throughout much of the race and came on strong late after taking on a new tire.  But no matter what Hirschman or his team did during the 100-lap feature, his fate might have already been sealed.

“It was because of drawing 35 out of 35 [for the heat race line-up] last week,” said Hirschman.  “It's a s simple as looking at the finish.  The guy that won started third.  The guy in second started second and the guy who finished third started first.  There was no way, no matter if I had run 100% to the floor in the heat race, that I would have started better than about 14th or 15th in this race.  The draw kind of dictated the outcome of everything.  If you look at the field, Teddy and I hustled on the outside and I just got in a bad line and got stuck behind the #46.  Teddy and a couple of guys got by me.  Otherwise, we would have made the top five.  We just missed it in sixth.  With a few more cautions, who knows?  But it is what it is.”

Seuss Goes From back to Front to Back Again

Andy Seuss made the most out of a one-race deal to fill in for George Brunnhoelzl, III in the Bob Katon-owned #46 Modified at Modified Madness.  Seuss started outside the top 20 in the race after a poor heat race draw, but advanced quickly through the field.  Seuss passed drivers like Mike Stefanik, Ted Christopher, Matt Hirschman, Kirk Alexander and Chuck Hossfeld early on and by halfway we already up to the eighth spot.

However, that is when the tire stagger increased on the #46 Modified and left Seuss going backwards.  Two spins in the tight field of cars eventually left him with a finish of 17th.

“These tires are tough because they are old tires and we've seen in the past how the stagger on them can just take off,” said Seuss.  “My tires weren't worn out, but the stagger changed and we became sitting ducks.  The car was really fast before that.  We were passing cars.  Nobody else came from the back that early and went the stagger grows three-quarters of an inch after being tight all day, it's a little strange.”

“It took us awhile to my feel of the car because every driver is different.  I really have to thank Bob Katon and his team for giving me this opportunity at their home track.  Our end finish wasn't what we wanted, but overall we were happy with the day.  This was a one-time deal with this deal, but I really enjoyed it.”

Speedshots

-  Dwight Jarvis drove the Brady Bunch #00 Modified at Seekonk, but the pairing of veteran team and veteran driver didn't fare too well.  Jarvis was involved in an early wreck and finished 24th.

-  Ron Silk's Eddie Partridge-owned Modified had a throw-back paint scheme honoring the late Charlie Jarzombek at Seekonk.  The paint scheme featured Charlie J's familiar red, white and blue #1.

-  The Bob Katon-owned #46 team had a little bit of fun at Seekonk with their fill-in driver, Andy Seuss.  The crew posted “Dr. Seuss” on the roof of the car in reference to the children's author with a name spelled the same, but pronounced differently, than the young racer from New Hampshire.

-  “The Big One” took on a new definition in the Pro Four Modified race.  A late race wreck involved nine of the eleven cars on track at that point.  Six cars eventually did finish the feature that was won by Rob Richardi, Jr.




Stephen Masse leads Todd Annarummo at Seekonk.  (Rick Ibsen Photo)
Ted Christopher is the Darling #52 Modified.  (Rick Ibsen Photo)
Ryan Preece  (Jim Dupont Photo)
Ryan Preece's #40 Modified  (Jim Dupont Photo)
Matt Hirschman's #60  (Rick Ibsen Photo)
Andy Seuss' #46 Modified.  (Rick Ibsen Photo)
Ron Silk's #1 Modified.  (Jim Dupont Photo)
Dr. Seuss was on the loose at Seekonk.  (Jim Dupont Photo)