SALISBURY, N.C. — Story by Race Chaser Online New England Correspondent Kyle Souza — Performance Motorsports Network Audio — Sarah Crabill/Getty Images for NASCAR photo —
Back-to-back championships in any racing division is a tough feat to accomplish, but for modified veteran Andy Seuss, it seemed like everything just fell into place in the second half of 2015.
Seuss won the championship on the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour in 2014, after winning three races and finishing in the top-ten in each race. However, 2015 was a different story for Seuss, one he calls a rise to the occasion that truly showed what his team is all about.
“I’m getting chills just talking about it,” Seuss told Race Chaser Online. “Last year’s legacy was that we completed every lap but one, and this year’s legacy is gonna be overcoming adversity. To put ourselves in a whole very early and then two races later do it again at South Boston, those are two races you bank on getting a lot of points,” Seuss said.
Seuss started the year with a crash on lap 13 at the season opener. He finished 19th in the 19 car field at his home track, Caraway Speedway, and that was a starting point to the season that Seuss knew would create an uphill battle.
“To be wrecked and finish last in the first race of the year, our home track of Caraway and a place we’ve had so much success, you almost go there and count on getting maximum points and we didn’t,” Seuss told Race Chaser Online.
He came back from the crash just two weeks later — at Caraway — to score his first win of the season. Though he was at a high, he wrecked at South Boston in race three, putting himself in a deep whole. But then, the jets turned on — and in the final six races of the season, Seuss was consistent and gained back the championship points lead he knew he could.
A fourth at Langley and a seventh during the third stop at Caraway started the stretch, one that finished with three sixth-place finishes, a third, and a win at South Boston in the second to last race of the season. Going into the finale Seuss had a small lead over his challenger George Brunnhoelzl and he knew he had to run consistent near the top-five and finish all the laps and he would be crowned the champion.
“That win at South Boston, the second to last race, put us in position. We took over the lead at Charlotte and we didn’t have the best car at the end but we were able to hoist the trophy when it mattered,” Seuss said.
Seuss started his racing career running go-karts in New Hampshire, capturing a few titles before jumping to the 350 Supermodified division in 2003, where Seuss won Rookie of the Year (ROTY). He also won the ROTY honors on the Valenti Modified Racing Series in 2004.
Looking back at his younger days and comparing them to the championship days of today, Seuss knows he has come a long way and is proud of his accomplishments.
“All I know how to do is to go to the shop and work on the cars. Day to day, you climb small hills and try to get better. Recently, someone asked me what a 16-year-old me would think and it was neat to think about ten years ago, when I begged and hoped this all would happen. The fact I’ve been to Daytona in a race car and the number one thing on my bucket is to compete in a race there. Who woulda thought growing up at Star Speedway I would be able to go there and win then travel the Northeast and be at places like Bristol, Loudon and Daytona,” Seuss said.
Though his last two seasons have been extremely successful with the Troyer chassis as part of Northeast Race Cars, Seuss said the team is going to be making the move to LFR for the 2016 campaign.
“We’re going to switch chassis programs and leave Troyer and NE race cars, they’ve been awesome, but Ideal Racing is going to be switching to LFR Chassis. We’re really looking forward to seeing what LFR can show us. If all the stars align, we could really come out swinging,” Suess said.
He also mentioned that he will be competing in the ARCA Racing Series once again next year and may even be back behind the wheel of a truck in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
“We’ve taken the ARCA cars out and dusted them off and got a spec motor and we’re going to Daytona. We got in a little bit over our heads last year investing our money in motors when it wasn’t the right time. We will also hopefully be doing more in the Truck Series and not only is it neat to be looking down the schedule of the trucks, but the operation they have there is just a neat deal to be a part of,” Suess continued.
With his championship, Seuss joins an elite club of multi-time NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified champions in what was the closest battle in the history of the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour.
“When you do this back-to-back it kinda shows we can step up the game and capitalize and dominate for two years. I thought one was enough, that was incredible just to be in the record books but to do it twice and put our names in there again it solidifies our name in the record books.”
As with any race team in the modified ranks, there was so many people that have been behind Seuss’ efforts to win the last two championships.
“First and foremost, I have to thank Eddie Harvey and Ideal Racing for letting me drive for them. Phoenix Pre-Owned Motors, Ideal Finance, Leaf Racewear, Rockingham Boats. I don’t think people realize what it takes for a small team like ours to go out and win the championship twice in a row.”
To listen to Race Chaser Online’s interview with Andy Suess, click the player below:
About the Writer
Kyle Souza is an aspiring Journalism major at the Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I. Souza is Race Chaser Online’s New England motorsports insider, covering everything from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to the NASCAR Whelen All American Series and the PASS North Super Late Models.
When not writing, Souza works at the Seekonk Speedway as the track’s Friday night public address announcer and press writer, and is also the Media Director for the Tri Track Open Modified Series, managed by Dick Williams and the ‘Long Island Mod Maniac,’ James Schaefer.
Email Kyle at: [email protected]
Follow on Twitter: @Kouza34
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