L.W. Miller and Andy Seuss are not friends.
The two drivers, who both compete regularly against each other on the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, have had their share of run-ins in the past. They've beat, banged, bumped and wrecked at places like Martinsville, Ace and Caraway.
After this weekend, you can add New Hampshire Motor Speedway to their list of battlegrounds too. This time, the two drivers put on their most public battle yet - complete with a spin and then contact under caution in front of a crowded NHMS grandstand during the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race on Saturday. Afterwards, the battle switched to a war of words when Speed51.com caught up with both drivers in the pit area.
The first thing that both drivers talked about was how this wasn't a new feud. In fact, it was just one race prior where the two drivers beat and banged at Martinsville Speedway (VA) a little less publicly.
“He got into me two weeks ago at Martinsville,” said Miller of Seuss.
“We ran in the top five at Martinsville and got bit by the Dubba and we got bit by the Dubba here too,” said Seuss of Miller, using a nickname to reference the second initial of Miller's name.
Wanting to put bad races at Martinsville behind them, both Miller, who drove a second Hillbilly Racing entry on Saturday, and Seuss, who drove for his family-owned team, actually had something in common at New Hampshire.
“We had a bit of a shake-up in the team after Martinsville and we worked real hard to dust this car off and get the cobwebs out of the motor,” said Seuss. “We didn't have the best car here, but we had a top ten car thanks to some hard work. Our goal was to bring it home in one piece and we were about 15 laps shy of that.”
“We struggled through practice and qualifying and finally got the car going good,” said Miller. “It was just so hard to get track position where you could run with the fast cars. We came out of the pits and finally got the car decent. We were going to come out of the race with a decent top ten finish.”
On lap 80 of 100, both drivers were just outside the top ten when their agendas clashed. Going into turn one, contact was made between both cars and Miller slid up the track high. He got caught in a patch of speedy-dry and spun around without hitting anything. That brought the caution out.
Each driver blamed the other one for the incident.
“I was passing the #70 car on the outside and he pretty much just drove right over me,” said Miller. “He put me up as high as he could until I got sideways and then he hit me in the left front. When he did, that spun me out.”
“We made contact several times,” said Seuss. “I don't know why he kept running into my right rear. I just don't know. But that is how he spun. He kept turning into me and I was holding on while my car was moving all over the place. I felt him hit me again, I held on again and I heard that there was a caution. I figured that it was him.”
Seuss kept his car pointed straight and stayed in line. A few laps later, as the field was being reset under caution, contact was made once again. Miller had advanced up to where Seuss was running under caution and turned up the track - either to try to get in line, to show his displeasure towards Seuss and maybe even for both reasons.
That is when, in a scene reminiscent of an incident between Doug Coby and Donny Lia in a Modified race of several years ago at Thompson, hard contact was made. The right side of Miller's Modified launched over the top of Seuss' left front wheel. Both cars were damaged. Miller was immediately penalized a lap for the contact and Seuss headed to the pits for repairs and passed the pace car in the process. That mistake earned him a one-lap penalty as well. Both drivers then parked their cars for the day.
“That knocked the toe-in real bad,” said Miller. “NASCAR wanted me to get in line in front of the #70 and I was trying to get back in line, he apparently didn't want to let me in there, because when I tried, he drove into me again under caution.
“At that point, we pretty much just decided to park it. The car was bent enough that we knew it wasn't going to go anywhere. We had a pretty good car up until then, but we didn't get to show it.”
Seuss had a very different opinion of what happened.
“That is disturbing,” said Seuss, when he was asked if the contact was a result of not letting Miller back into line. “That is how delusional that man is. The truth is that I heard on the radio that they were giving him his spot back. Why, I don't know. The man drove into my right rear multiple times and then spun out. I don't know what happened, because it was behind me. Under caution though, he just ran into me!”
After the race, both drivers weren't afraid to hold back their feelings about the history of incidents between each other.
“He is definitely a real jealous kid,” said Miller. “You can just tell that it bothers him real bad when we beat them. It tears them up. “
“There is not one envious bone in my body of that man,” replied Seuss. “I actually feel bad for him because he obviously has mental issues. There is really nothing that I'm jealous of.”
“He's a delusional man,” continued Seuss. “He thinks that these are all my fault. He just lies to himself if he even believes it. It's unfortunate because we've got to race with each other a lot. Maybe the man is jealous of me. I don't know. I think that he has a problem with me, but I don't know what it is.”
That is something that Seuss might get to find out the next time though. Both drivers will face off again in Friday's NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour show at Caraway Speedway and according to Miller, the feud isn't over yet.
“He's going to learn his lesson,” said Miller. “It's going to be a tough one, but he'll learn it.”