MIDWEST: Roller Coaster Season Ending With Promising Turn for Josh Dietz — Part 1

Jacob Seelman Featured, Midwest, US Legends/INEX 0 Comments

ELSMERE, Ky. — Story by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman — Photo credit Passion Driven Photography —

The 2015 racing season has been a tale of two stories for Elsemere, Ky. driver and University of Cincinnati student Josh Dietz.

The U.S. Legends Car regular started off his year strong, scoring a win right out of the box to give his team confidence in contending for the USLCI Semi-Pro National Championship, but after that? As the old saying goes, everything that could go wrong, did.

Dietz fought through mechanical failures, engine gremlins and several near-misses to rise as high as third in the national points standings before being overhauled as the season progressed. However, he still sits 34th out of nearly 400 Semi-Pro division drivers across the country from the U.S. and Canada — not at all a small feat for his family operation.

“It’s been a good year, for the most part,” Dietz said to Race Chaser Online of his thoughts on the campaign. “We’ve always been improving. Started with a win right off the bat and then that two-month or so winless stretch really dragged on us, but we never gave up. We’ve had a lot of chances to win and like I said, just had some bad luck with the car breaking.”

“After our original goal was to be a contender for the national points title, it’s nice to know that we’re still up there, despite missing some races and traveling to some tracks that just didn’t get their results registered with INEX like we would have hoped. All in all, though, it’s been strong. We’re doing the best we can with what we have and I’m proud of that.”

Dietz got his start in motorsports at the age of four, and was one of the young kids enthralled by everything in the industry even before he had an opportunity to drive competitively.

“When I was a little kid I went to local dirt tracks every Saturday night with my grandpa,” Dietz recalled. “I was always interested in anything that had wheels as a kid, motor or not. I got my first yard kart when I was four and told myself I was going to drive the wheels off of it — so that’s what I did for two years before I got my first real racing kart. That very first actual go-kart race I started shotgun on a field of about 25 karts and I remember that being a little interesting off the start.”

“We ended up third that day though, so it wasn’t all bad. You look back on it, and we’ve always done a lot with a little. That’s something that’s meant a lot to me.”

The rising star’s season tallies eight INEX-sanctioned victories to date, including seven 100-point scores, with exactly one month remaining before the Legends Asphalt Nationals concludes the season at Anderson (S.C.) Motor Speedway. One of those victories was an INEX National Qualifier at Sportsdrome Speedway in Clarksville, Ind. on Aug. 15, a moment that ranks as the high point of the season in Dietz’s eyes.

“We’ve been a contender at Sportsdrome in every race we’ve competed in there this year. Every single time though, it seemed like we’d be one position, or in one case a few inches, short of that [overall] victory,” Dietz explained. “It was just incredible to finally put all the pieces together and be able to make it happen. That track has so many fast cars and in my opinion, it’s probably the hardest track in the Midwest to win at for Legends cars.”

A stretch of three consecutive wins had Dietz, a former runner-up at the Asphalt Nationals in 2013, and his team confident in their chances to contend at Anderson next month, despite citing his performance on bigger race tracks (three-eighths mile and up) as an area he was looking to improve upon before the end of the season.

Unfortunately, life and circumstances intervened.

The motor expired in the Bluegrass State native’s Legend car during an event over Labor Day weekend, leaving the team scrambling to put something together and putting their participation in the Asphalt Nationals in doubt due to a lack of funding.

However, he would find a stroke of good fortune … just not in the car, or surface, he expected …

Stay tuned for part two of this Race Chaser Online feature story, coming soon!

 

About the Writer

Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network. Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.

The 21-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for both the United Sprint Car Series and the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.

Email Jacob at: speed77radio@gmail.com

Follow on Twitter: @Speed77Radio or @JacobSeelman77

Follow Race Chaser Online: @RaceChaserNews

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