There’s an old lottery slogan that said, “All it takes is a dollar and a dream.” Racing takes more than just one single dollar. It takes a whole lot of them, but it still takes having a dream. Andy Seuss is trying to fulfill one of his lifelong dreams of racing at Daytona International Speedway. He has already tried once before and the dream slipped through his fingers before he could capture it. Now he’s heading back.
Seuss is heading down to Daytona to attempt to make the ARCA Racing Series Lucas Oil Complete Engine Treatment 200 on Saturday, February 18 in a car owned by Chris Our but prepared at Seuss’ house in Salisbury, North Carolina.
The two-time NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion and about three other crew members have been putting in long days and nights since November to get the car ready for the test sessions at Daytona in January. Seuss said he’s continued to do that even after the test to make sure that they make the race next month where he knows he’ll be very much the underdog.
“It’s a tough deal because when you’re down here you have these full-time teams that you’re competing against, but this is a volunteer deal after hours,” he said. “I’ve got help from my dad, Todd Cooper, our crew chief Matt Webber. It’s a really neat thing because we want to do this. We aren’t paid to show up.”
Seuss said that since the test weekend ended earlier this month, working on the race car has actually become his full-time job.
“Chris decided to help me out so I could take some time off of work and be in the shop during the day. Since the test this has been my full-time job, which is really neat and pretty exciting. We’re still working late, but it just frees me up to get up there in the day. It’s a lot of late nights and dedication and hard work to get to the test. It’s paid off in the long run and things are looking good for the race.”
Fulfilling one person’s dream often becomes a group effort, and that is especially the case here for Seuss.
“There’s a lot of teams out to make money and a lot of people down here that want to take advantage of the money you can spend in this town, but there’s actually a lot of good people that look at our little team and want to help out,” said Seuss. “That’s probably been the most uplifting thing. I’ve got Bob and Dick from Rahmoc (Racing Engines) just opening the shop for me whenever I need to go down there and use their equipment. Tyler Young Motorsports has been very good to us. So there’s certain connections and it’s pretty neat.”
However, there’s one person that Seuss said has been the most vital to the whole operation, and that’s his wife, Jenn, who he said has done everything she can to keep him calm, as well as take care of their five-month-old son, Lyle, while Seuss works on the race car in the shop next to the house.
“She really takes the burden off of me. She knows what we’re doing. She knows why we moved down here,” said Seuss. “She’s been amazing and it’s cool because if I’m at the shop at night I can walk in and spend some time with him for a few minutes and then when he goes to sleep I walk back out to the shop.”
Seuss added that Lyle is just as important because of the calming influence he has had on Seuss’ life since his birth in August.
“There’s times when you have to take a break. All I’ve done all my life is work, work, work. Having a kid has kind of opened my eyes that you have to take a break sometimes. Not only to be a good father, but it’s paying off to just be refreshed too. When I sit on the floor and play with him for a few minutes before I go to sleep I feel refreshed too. I’m very fortunate to be in the situation I’m in having them at the shop and at the house. It would be tough if it was any other way.”
Being refreshed is one of the reasons Seuss is so confident right now. He’s confident that he can finish in the top five and maybe even contend for the win, but he knows from experience that he first has to qualify for the race.
“I want to get in. There’s no guarantees. I’ve been in this situation before and not gotten in. There’s 30 spots up for grabs and provisionals so it’s a tough field. First and foremost, we have to get in. That’s a huge check off my bucket list. Anything after that is a bonus. But we’re racers and competitors so after that joy sinks in, you have to do well.”
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com