It’s been a busy time lately for Hampstead, New Hampshire’s Andy Seuss. In just the course of a few days, he has gone from turning wrenches at NASCAR’s biggest track to returning home to prepare his family’s racecar for a big special event at the track where he started his career at. Seuss will drive the #70 Modified in Sunday’s Bullring Bash 100 at Lee USA Speedway and so far he has been logging plenty of miles just to be ready to turn those race laps.
Seuss now resides in the Charlotte, North Carolina area and competes on the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour – winning two races so far in 2014 for the #11 team of Ideal Racing. He also works on a number of other racecars as a consultant, crew member or whatever is needed. That brought him to the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama last weekend as the crew chief and jackman for Bryan Dauzat’s ARCA Racing Series team.
“It’s been a very hectic week,” said Seuss from his parent’s Hampstead home on Tuesday evening. “I worked with Bryan at Talladega over the weekend. It was the first time he has raced at a superspeedway (oval track of 2.5 miles or longer in length). We were lacking speed from our test there, so we worked to make the car better. We got it to go better and we were the last car to qualify on speed. We started 30th and finished 26th. It was a learning experience all around. It was a good effort for his first [superspeedway] race and we are already looking forward to Daytona next year.”
While in Talladega, Seuss also played the part of race fan along with his girlfriend Jenn DeMarco – they visited the Talladega Short Track on Friday night to watch dirt Super Late Models and sat in the stands for the NASACR Nationwide Series race on Saturday afternoon after the ARCA race. Next up though was the start of a race up the East Coast.
“We woke up early on Sunday, packed up the camper and left for Salisbury, North Carolina,” said Seuss referring to his new home. “We got there and unhooked the camper. I dropped off Jenn and the dog and picked up some race parts for Lee. Then I went over to the Ideal Racing shop, got some pointers for Lee from [Team Owner] Eddie Harvey while also picking up a few more parts. I then headed north, stopped for a few hours of sleep in Pennsylvania and got to New Hampshire on Monday.”
From Monday on, Seuss has been hard at work in his family’s garage putting the finishing touches on a new racing chassis from Troyer and Northeast Race Cars. He will debut that racecar at Lee, but his mind is also on a retirement this week. Seuss is hoping to honor a close friend and mentor, Mary Anderson, at Lee. Anderson has served as the headmaster of Pinkerton Academy, where Seuss graduated from, and is retiring after this year.
“I first met Mary when I was planning to race at Florida Speedweeks while I still attending High School,” recalls Seuss. “We were only allowed five unexcused absences and I needed eight days off to race at New Smyrna. So I had to make a request to her. I asked her at the induction ceremony for the National Vocation Honor Society and it was the first time we met. She listened and granted those days. She knew that it wasn’t a vacation. It was what I hoped to turn into a vocation.”
It turned out that Anderson knew all about racing. She was a partner with Leon Holmes in a Modified race team that had drivers such ACT champion Wayne Helliwell, Jr., Mike Ordway, Jr. and Bruce Batchelder behind the wheel.
“By the time I left for New Smyrna that year, Mary had offered me the use of a trailer, a spare motor and whatever we needed to get to the track,” said Seuss. “She has been a big believer in me and helped me both in racing and in life. She is such an inspiration and supporter. She is retiring this year and I’d like to have a good race at Lee for her.”
The Modified Bash is an open show that is part of a three-race Tri-Track Modified series which was organized by New York race fan Jim Schaefer and includes races later this season at Star Speedway (NH) and Seekonk Speedway (MA).
“I’m proud of my Lee roots,” said Seuss. “The track is near and dear to me. It’s been a while since I’ve been to victory lane there. We have had good runs and been in the position to win, but we just haven’t done it, so I’m hoping to get back and win again.”
Seuss knows that won’t be easy. Among the pre-entrants for the race are former Race of Champions Modified titlist Matt Hirschman, former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Todd Szegedy and former Modified Racing Series champion Chris Pasteryak.
“There will be a lot of good teams and drivers there at Lee,” said Seuss. “Just to be in the race will be an accomplishment. Our first goal is going to be just get into the show. If we make it, I think we will have a great chance of being up front. A win there would mean a lot. It’s going to be a great race that is part of a great series. Jim Schaefer saw a need for someone to give these Modifieds a direction and the chance to race in some big shows and he’s done it. We are thankful for the opportunity and want to make the best of it.”
The Bullring Bash 100 is set for Sunday at Lee USA Speedway on Route 125 in Lee. Modified heat races are scheduled to start at 1:30pm.