“This is only my second time here,” said Hossfeld. “We were supposed to come a lot more but it rained out several times. We raced here in ‘01 and it rained out about three times after that.”
Hossfeld liked getting around the facility and also enjoyed his time meeting the race fans of Southerneastern Massachusetts.
“It’s a fun track to drive,” said Hossfeld. “I especially want to say that the fans here are cool. I met some nice people here that really know about racing. Normally some of the fans aren’t as up on things, but everyone here was really nice and knew a lot. I really enjoyed it.”
SEEKONK MODIFIED LEFTOVERS by Mike Twist
Point Standings Gets Shuffled, Youngster Turns Heads & The Big One
POINTS RACE TIGHTENS UP
After the Seekonk race, the battle for the 2004 NASCAR Modified Series championship has gotten even closer. Top contenders Eddie Flemke and Tony Hirschman got caught up in an early wreck not of their doing early in the race. Later on, Flemke suffered heavy damage in a harder turn four wreck. He lost several laps making repairs and finished 26th.
Hirschman now leads Flemke by a thin five point margin.
“We gained some points here, but I don’t wish any bad luck on anybody,” said Hirschman. “It was just misfortune. Flemke got taken out by someone else and I got turned around. I was just lucky to end up with all wheels on at the end of the night and he wasn’t as lucky.”
Flemke had been exceptionally consistent through the first part of the season with seven top five finishes in the first ten races. His luck took a turn for the worst at Seekonk though. However, Flemke wasn’t too upset about the outcome.
Eddie Flemke's crew gets to work trying to repair their #79 car and limit their Seekonk points loss. (NASCAR Touring/Howie Hodge Photo)
“This was a tough day, but if this was our bad day it wasn’t so bad,” said Flemke. “It was coming for us and something like this had to happen. It did and now maybe our worst race of the year is over with. I really can’t complain.”
Meanwhile, Ted Christopher gained ground by finishing eighth in the event. He is now 103 points out of the lead in the third position.
“Everybody in front of us in the points had a bad day,” said Christopher. “We finished ahead of them and we gained some.”
Christopher is leading the NASCAR Northeast Regional points for the Dodge Weekly Short Track Series on the basis of a strong season in the SK Modified division at the Stafford Speedway.
With a few things to go his way, it’s possible that TC could double up with a pair of NASCAR championships. It would be quite an honor for the short track veteran.
“I’ve dreamed of this,” said Christopher. “It would mean a lot to me and hopefully it will come about.”
FULLER NOT WORRIED ABOUT TITLE FIGHT
COBY LUCKLESS AGAIN
Doug Coby had a good run cut short by problems for the second week in a row. At New Hampshire, he was third when a motor problem surfaced. This week, overheating cut short a good run.
“The car was running hot for a lot of the race and we didn’t want to take the chance of leaking too much water and getting black flagged,” said Coby. “We came in and drained the tank. We ended up losing a lap in the process. We didn’t realize this until we got back on the track - it was just one of those stupid things.”
Coby qualified tenth, but dropped back at the start. He had a speedy run back up through the pack before his problems surfaced.
“We were up to seventh and just grinding it out with everybody,” said Coby. “We got on the outside of Ted Christopher here and that says a lot about the car that we had. We were working hard and then something stupid happened. It’s the story of my season I guess. We’ve lost a few motors in a few weeks and we thought that we’d get a good finish tonight. Now, we’ll just go on the Riverhead and go on from there hoping for the best.”
HIRSCHMAN SURVIVES SEEKONK
In a way it was a tough night for Tony Hirschman. He got caught in an early spin and had to fight back to finish tenth. But it was still the best night of racing that he ever had at Seekonk.
“We were lucky tonight,“ said Hirschman. “We got turned around, went to the rear of the field and came back to finish tenth. This is the first race that I’ve ever finished here. I’ve gone out of here with a broken hand two years ago and a thumb injury the year before that. It hasn’t been a good place for me, so finishing in the top ten is like a win for us. “
SANTOS A BUSY YOUNGSTER WITH MOD AND USAC RIDES
Although he is only 18 years old, Bobby Santos has proven to be a versatile driver in short track racing. In addition to a limited schedule in the #00 Brady Bunch Modified, he has also kept busy with USAC and Supermodified starts this season.
Although he has some ground to make up, Rick Fuller gained a little bit on the point lead at Seekonk with his sixth place finish. He is currently ranked fifth and only sits 157 markers out of the lead. However, Fuller is not concerned about collecting points - he wants to win races.
“It’s not October, so we’re not even worried about points,” said Fuller. “We’re trying to get ourselves in a position to get some wins here. My guys have been working their tails off, but we haven’t had any luck in the win category. Right now, winning is all that we really care about.”
Fuller’s most recent victory came last May at the Waterford Speed bowl (CT). He has a total of 20 wins in his career which ranks sixth in the record book since the NASCAR Modified Series was established in its current form back in 1985.
Chuck Hossfeld was impressed with the Seekonk fans. (NASCAR Touring/Howie Hodge Photo)
Rick Fuller wants to win. (51 Photo)
SHORT TRACK HAS BIG ONE IN TURN ONE
The short track version of “The Big One” occurred when at least five cars were caught up in a turn one street fight early in the race. Eddie Flemke and Tony Hirschman were involved in the first stage of the spin and were soon joined by Tommy Cloce, Kevin Konopka and Tommy Cravenho soon became involved as well. Somehow, none of the cars were heavily damaged.
“We were going down into turn one something happened,” said Hirschman. “I don’t know if someone chopped down or what, but Eddie (Flemke) got turned sideways. I checked up and didn’t hit him, but I got hit in the rear. We’re both trying to be careful running for points and we still got wrecked.”
Flemke had a better seat for what happened, since he was the first car to spin around.
“(Dick) Houlihan just dove into the corner and got into me,” said Flemke. “I’m sure that he didn’t mean it, but you just don’t do that. But it’s OK.”
HOSSFELD GREAT, DESPITE LACK OF TRACK TIME AT SEEKONK
Watching Chuck Hossfeld at Seekonk would make someone think that he had a ton of laps in his career at the track. That’s not true - it was only his second race ever at the 1/3 mile track.
Saturday night marked his first career NASCAR Modified Series top ten finish. He ended the race in the ninth position.
“We’ve been qualifying good, but struggling to finish races,” said Santos. “We kept it together here and we’re happy to finish. It feels great. We were a little bit loose here and I think that we might have had a better car in our last race at Beech Ridge, but we didn’t finish there (Jeff Fultz drove the #00 in the last NASCAR Modified Series event at New Hampshire). But we’ll take a finish.”
It’s hard to figure out where Santos will be racing next with his varied schedule of events.
Booby Santos (#00) runs in some impressive company - former Modified champions Jamie Tomaino (#99), Jerry Marquis (#3) and Tony Hirschman (#48) (NASCAR Touring/Howie Hodge Photo)
“We were out in Indiana yesterday testing a Silver Crown car at IRP,” said Santos. “We have no focus this year - we’ve just been doing different stuff. We’ve been running the Silver Crown races, a Midget and now we’re going to be running a lot of the Modified races before the end of the year. Next year, we‘re going to have to concentrate on one thing but I don‘t know what that will be yet.”
FLEMKE HAS TOUGH NIGHT AT SEEKONK
Eddie Felmke had a night that he’d probably like to forget at Seekonk. He got caught up in two wrecks and lost his points lead. Still, Flemke was in relatively good spritis after the race was over.
“What are you going to do, yell at somebody?” said Flemke. “It was a bad night, but it wasn’t all that bad. I’m more upset about getting turned around early than the second deal. The second time was just racing. The #06 (Steve Whitt) lost it in front of me and by the time he corrected it, I was on the outside of him. He hit the left front and I think that broke the tie-rod. That turned me straight into the wall.”
CHRISTOPHER STRUGGLES WITH NEW QUALIFYING PROCEDURE
After qualifying after Seekonk, the cars of the Modified Series teams were impounded until race time. That didn’t seem to help Ted Christopher’s team too much.
“This deal where you have to race what you qualify doesn’t really help us,” said Christopher. “Our cars have a lot of adjustments built into them. We’ve got so much time between races, that hopefully we can go back to the old way of doing things. We’ve got three hours of doing nothing.”
Christopher finished the event in eighth and moved to third in points. He is really looking forward to the final stretch of racing for the Modified Series this season.
“If we can get through one more race at Riverhead, we will be going to all of the races that we enjoy and do well at,” said Christopher. “Stafford, Thompson, Waterford, back to New Hampshire, another couple of Stafford and Thompson - with that schedule, we’re going to wrestle these guys at the end and take this point lead away from them.”
HOMETOWN HERO DOES WELL AT SEEKONK
Dick Houlihan knows how to get around Seekonk. Last season, he won the Pro Stock (Super Late Model) championship at the track. He did pretty well Saturday night in a Modified as well, running with the leaders all race long and finishing third.
Houlihan said that he really needed a good finish.
“I thought there was a noose around my neck and the floor was ready to drop out from under me, the way that things have been going,” said Houlihan. “If we didn’t make this race, I would have been the biggest bum in the whole wide world.”
Although it helped to have experience at the track, Houlihan credits a good car with his strong performance.
“The car was good tonight,” said Houlihan. “I know the racetrack but if the car doesn’t do what it’s supposed to, it won’t show. When these cars are right, they drive really well. They’ve got a lot of power and are a handful but if you’ve got something decent you can keep it under you.”