Andy Seuss grew up idolizing Modified drivers such as Mike Stefanik, Jerry Marquis and Richie Evans. He had NASCAR Modified Tour posters hanging on the walls in his bedroom. And it’s for those reasons that the two-time NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion isn’t ready to give up on NASCAR Modified racing.
Following the report of a merger between NASCAR’s two Modified tours, and the elimination of the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, many questions have been asked about what the future holds for Southern Tour drivers such as Seuss.
Upon hearing the news, Seuss told Speed51.com powered by JEGS that he “didn’t want to run” the alternative PASS Southern Modified Racing Series. But that’s not because he has anything against the series, it’s because he doesn’t want to let go of a dream that he’s had since watching his idols pound the pavement at short tracks in the Northeast.
“The biggest thing is that it is a big deal to me, the NASCAR Tour is,” Seuss said. “When you grow up idolizing guys like Mike Stefanik and Jerry Marquis, that’s where you want to be. I’m very proud of where I’m at and I’d like to continue doing it, or even beyond. I’d like to just race against everybody.”
Although Seuss wasn’t happy with the results of the conference call with NASCAR a few weeks ago, he said that he’s going to give NASCAR the benefit of the doubt for now.
“It is unfortunate that we can’t compete for a NASCAR touring series title without traveling more than three hours from home, but at the same time it’s just going to be bigger or better,” Seuss stated. “Whether it’s on a part-time basis or a full-time basis next year, I still am going to set out to win NASCAR Modified Tour races.
“Technically, if you live in the Mooresville/Charlotte/Winston-Salem area, you can’t chase a NASCAR Modified title with only one trip less than three hours away. It’s tougher, and that’s not a bad thing. It should be tough to win a NASCAR Modified championship. It is frustrating if they have too many weekday shows because logistically you can’t do it. Again, I think NASCAR has listened to that concern so I’m not going to get upset until we know all the details. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.”
Seuss isn’t ruling out the possibility of running select Southern Modified Racing Series races if that’s the direction he and his teams decide to take. At the current moment, with many details still to be ironed out, he isn’t ready to commit to the series.
“I don’t want people to get the wrong impression,” Seuss said. “They (SMRS) go to a lot of great tracks that I would enjoy running like Hickory and Tri-County and Concord. I don’t want anybody to think I have anything against that deal. I just consider the NASCAR Modified Tour the highest level of competition in Modifieds, so that’s what would be a goal of mine.
“I don’t have anything against the Southern Modified Racing Series; it’s a great deal. I will be there to some extent, but I’m not ready to say I’m never going to race NASCAR Modified races again and put all my eggs in that basket.”
Seuss plans to sit down with championship car owner Eddie Harvey, as well as his parents who own two Tour-Type Modifieds, to see what he’s able to put together for the upcoming season.
“We’re in a particular spot where my parents are from New Hampshire, still living up there, and have two NASCAR Tour-ready Modifieds ready to go and then we have Eddie Harvey’s team down south,” Seuss explained. “Maybe it’s a deal where we split half the races, logistics-wise and all that. There’s so many unknowns I just haven’t given it a whole lot of thought.
“We haven’t had much discussion because there aren’t many details. I want to do some Southern Modified Racing Series races; I’ve been there to watch and to help out Bryan Dauzat. I’m not opposed to being a part of it on an off weekend. I’m just still trying to further my career. I want to win the Thompson World Series; I want to win the Spring Sizzler; I want to win those big races.”
For now, Seuss plans to wait to hear more information about the merged tour to see what exactly the 2017 season has in store.
“I like the idea of what the (NASCAR) Tour is doing. I get that there’s more money involved and it’s going to be harder. I’ve also talked to Phil Kurze from Whelen and he was absolutely excited about what the benefits are going to be money-wise and different things. I expressed my concern about the cost of the tour and all that, and he said just wait until the news comes out. Everybody is making a big deal out of it right now because we don’t know about everything yet.”
Speed51.com will continue to follow this story as more information is made available about the 2017 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com