For all the drivers on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, having any chance to race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is a great privilege. When it comes to Granite State native and Modified star Andy Seuss, that chance has just that little bit more meaning when racing just up the road from home.
The creation of the Musket 250 for the Tour in 2018 to head up Full Throttle Fall Weekend gave the Modifieds a chance to be the headline act at ‘The Magic Mile’ for the first time ever, while bringing true long distance racing back into the fold.
After a solid effort in the inaugural running, Seuss is headed to Loudon, NH with what he feels is a truly strong opportunity. With recent mid-season shuffling of drivers, Woody Pitkat moved from the Danny Watts owned No. 82 to Eddie Harvey’s No. 1 effective at the Musket 250. This opened the seat in the orange 82, with Seuss being the fortunate one to get the call for this coming weekend.
“It was quite an honor to get the call from Danny Watts, he said, ‘Let’s do this.’ I want to thank him, the whole crew, and everybody there for giving me the chance. He’s a proven winner, he’s got good equipment, and he’s not afraid to invest in the race team,” Seuss said on Speed51’s Morning Bullring on Monday.
"I’m looking for good things, we were able to compete for top five’s last year, and we finished fourth at the Musket 250. That’s good as a small part-time team, but when you have all the best parts and pieces in your corner, I’m really looking forward to that. Hopefully we can jive quickly and with our experience, we can make the best of it.”
Having great expectations with his new ride, Suess also has equal excitement for what kind of a race the fans can expect at New Hampshire this Saturday, September 21.
“Last year was the first one, nobody knew what to expect. So, it became racing the track for sure, the 100-lap Modified races have always had a lot of drafting, and there will be that. But, we had long green flag runs, and the track got real slick. That’s not something we’re used to, we’re used to newer tires, at one point I think we had 120 laps on our tires, compared to 50 laps. That’s a testament to what Hoosier is bringing, and they held up. The racing was great. I thought it was a great, different challenge.”
With the Musket 250 being more than double the distance of the next longest Whelen Modified Tour race on the schedule, the 100-lap race at NHMS in July, driver longevity will be as big a factor as the cars themselves. That may be an area that Seuss admits he needs some work on.
“Personally, I do a lot of gas station hot dogs and iced coffee, if you knew me that’s not too far from the truth. I could do more work on my body. They make jokes if I put as much work on my body as I did racecar bodies, it could be something people would enjoy looking at. Something we reiterate during the year, obviously staying hydrated, and putting good stuff in my body this week. We’re a little but luckier than the stock car guys, having a little bit more air flow through the cockpit with the Modified. It’s going to be cooler than in July.”
But, Seuss’ will to win, may be just the thing overcome any sort of prerace personal preparation.
“That’s where I first fell in love with Modifieds. When NASCAR Cup racing came to New Hampshire Motor Speedway back then, I wasn’t really old enough to go. It was a long day, it was always hot, especially those first few years. So, some friends would take me to Cup qualifying on Friday, and the Modifieds used to run on Friday,” Seuss recalled.
"That was my introduction to Modifieds, and I still vividly remember that day, and it has turned into my favorite division of racing. One I’ve had success in. Before I knew what the Daytona 500 was, my favorite race in the world was the Star Classic, I grew up at Star Speedway, that was amazing. For me, the Modified race is up there, there would be some serious inner-peace if we could pull down a win up there.”
Stay with Speed51.com this Friday and Saturday, September 20 and 21 for Trackside Now coverage of practice, qualifying, and racing for Full Throttle Fall Weekend from New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Tickets as well as camping spots are still available. For more, including info on schedules and fan events visit New Hampshire Motor Speedway at www.nhms.com.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51