January 27, 2014 – Exclusive Story by RaceChaser New England Correspondent Kyle Souza – Photo Credit Action Track Photography –
Roland “Rollie” Lindblad built race cars have won championships up and down the east coast. From Pro Stocks to Midgets, from Modifieds to Supermodifieds, “Rollie” set the bar when it came to race car fabrication. His ‘Badger’ revolutionized midget racing in the 1970’s. The car dominated NEMA for a decade, and was banned by most other midget organizations in the country because of the speed the car generated.
After an absence from the weekly racing at Seekonk Speedway for years, Rollie will return to full-time competition with his No. 48 Pro Stock in 2014. Last season, the car was driven by former track champion Rick Martin for the final few weeks of the season, but unfortunately the pair did not have much success. It appears as if maybe that was just a few jitters here and there, but now the team is set to make a push for the track title in 2014.
However, this time Radical Rick won’t be behind the wheel of the famous No. 48. Former Seekonk Speedway Street Stock champion Flyin’ Ryan Lineham will be at the controls. Ryan is not only one of the toughest competitors to pass at Seekonk, but he also loves to ride the third groove and hang the rear end out, something Lindblad is looking for.
I sat down with Lineham just a few days ago to discuss the upcoming season.
Kyle: Ryan first of all congrats on the ride, how did all of this come about?
Ryan: Jack Horricks who has been with Rollie for 30+ years as well as Fred Astle’s crew chief has been helping out with my cars at Seekonk over the past few years and he pretty much put this deal together. When Jack started helping me, we instantly started running better and actually won our first championship. We also had wins at the DAV and Lee Speedway that season as well. Apparently Jack has been putting the bug into Rollie’s ear over the past few seasons about me, and how he thought I would be a good fit for them in the 48 car.
Kyle: What’s been up with the 48 over the past few seasons?
Ryan: Over the past few years Larry Gelinas has run the 48 car and been very successful including a championship and many wins at Thompson Speedway. With Thompson going to a limited schedule Rollie and Larry kind of parted ways so that Larry could run a touring series in his own car, so that left Rollie looking for a new driver. Rick Martin had temporarily filled that seat halfway through last season and I got a phone call to fill the seat full time in 2014 during the off season.
Kyle: How does it feel Ryan? What are the expectations for the season?
Ryan: . I am very exicted and honored to be driving for such a great guy and an iconic car that has ran very successful in New England since well before I was born. When I went up to Rollies for the first time a few weeks back to discuss driving the car, and get fitted into the seat… I actually got chills when I was sitting in the car and I thought about the talent and the wins that have been in that car up and down the east coast, decade after decade. I am very excited and I can only hope to put the yellow 48 back into victory lane at the Cement Palace.
Lineham and Lindblad should be interesting combo for the 1/3rd mile to compete with. Both of them have been successful in the past, in different fields of the sport. Lindblad’s cars have won races and championships up and down the East Coast, while Lineham has one a Street Stock title at Seekonk. This new team should be quite interesting to watch.
Open Practices at Seekonk start in April so that will be the first opportunity to see what’s ahead for this combo.