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Seuss Has Maine-Ly Action at Oxford Plains Speedway
by Denise DuPont

The Modified Racing Series (MRS) headed to Maine for the first time this year to Oxford Plains Speedway for the Maine-Ly Action Sports 100 on Saturday, July 17, 2010. MRS teams were lined up and ready to race as the last feature of the night and race they did. As the temperatures and heat continued to soar, so did the racing action on the track. Drivers sliced and diced and changed the lead several times during the event sometimes making it three wide on the track. The track is flat and wide where it should be and racers raced hard and used every inch they could find.

There were 73 green laps of racing before the first caution flag flew. Joe Doucette had ignition problems that stopped his car on the backstretch bringing to an end his night of racing.

On lap 85, the third and last caution of the race occurred. Andy Seuss was able to use the restart to his advantage and put the #70 Rockingham Boat modified in the lead. Seuss raced leader Louie Mechalides hard, running his car high in the tracks outer groove to make his move for the lead.

Seuss had seen Mechalides use the high groove to pass and used the lesson learned to his own advantage to capture the top spot. “Our car was awesome on the bottom. And every time the cars were racing side by side, we would slow up coming out of two and I could stay right on the bottom and get there. It worked a few times. It is kind of ironic that the pass for the win was on the outside. I usually run on the outside, but the car was just awesome on the bottom. It curled right around the bottom. We had great forward bite all night long and we won. That is just awesome.”

“I always wanted to win here at Oxford since I was a kid, before there were modified racing here.” said Seuss with a huge smile. “When the series went here three years ago I really wanted to win this race here with all the history here. We finally did it and that is really cool. This team worked their butts off all day. We changed a million things. It is awesome for everybody. I cannot thank everybody that helps this team enough. I want to thank the fans for sticking it out. It was midnight by the time the race got over with. I also want to thank Louie and every body for racing us real clean. It was a good race and I hope the fans enjoyed it.”

In the end being patient and pacing your car was the winning combination for Seuss. “We paced it. The car was tight a little bit early on and it just came right in the last fifteen laps, I could run the middle of the track and it did not push. When I had to go faster I could. It was just awesome. It was an awesome day, awesome car, and an awesome team.”

“But most of all, we were building a car to come here and run Oxford 250 here. And the gentleman that owned it, Jay Hull, passed away a week ago. He was coming up and camping with us this weekend and he did not get to make it. I cannot think of a better way to thank him than to win this race. He would have been here and this one is for him.”

Louie Mechalides held on to bring the Stuart Automotive sponsored #85 car across the finish line for a very strong second place finish. It was a good finish for the team but was not the win they were running for. “At the end I would have been set if the caution did come out. The car was really good in the long green flag laps. The cautions kind of hurt me.,” said Mechalides about the couple of late race cautions. “We were just driving easy coasting, trying to be easy on the tires and everything. We had plenty of car left at the end, but with the caution at the end the car just got tighter and tighter.”

Mechalides has Super Late Model experience running at Oxford Plains Speedway and he used this knowledge for his racing strategy. “I like racing here, I always enjoyed Oxford. You can race really hard and there is plenty of room. The track is real different. It is real flat in the turns. It is a lot different than a high bank track. You can run good and real smooth here.”

Second generation driver, Todd Annarummo, was elated with his podium finish at Oxford. “I am happy to finish where I finished. We had a real good car at the end. Being an inexperienced driver we are happy with a third place finish.”

Cars were running three wide on the track when it was about fifteen to go on a restart final moves for the lead were made. After the third and final caution the MRS drivers drove hard for the lead positions. “It was fifteen to go at that point and I am in the car thinking “Just do not screw it up now”. I just want to get it over with and get a good finish under my belt and be done with it. At that point in the race we had good drivers up front. And everybody had their line and we raced clean.”

Annarummo started the race fourth and ran with the lead cars for the entire race. Running full time with the MRS series, he has had some good runs, but in the end he has missed being in victory lane ceremonies. “We had a real good car at the end. This is the first time that I have seen the place today (race track). So I am thrilled to death to be up there in the top three. Finally did not have any failures and got the whole race together. We have been running real good this year just haven’t been able to put the finish to it. We finally did that.”

2009 Race of Champion (ROC) Champion, Matt Hirschman jumped into the #25 car of Gary Casella to fill in for Rowan Pennink at Oxford. (Pennink was at Monadnock Speedway running the NWMT race.) Hirschman was a good fit to fill the seat for Pennink as he tooled the car to a fourth place finish.

Series founder, Jack Bateman, started the race on the pole and definitely had the car too beat at Oxford. The green laps helped Bateman drive up front, but when the cautions came out he could not make the same moves on the restarts. “It was a good race. I was kind of sorry to see a caution come out. We had a pretty good lead, but that is racing. I have always not been really good on restarts. And that is where they got me. I still think that my car was a little faster than them guys. I guess I got beat up by the kids.”

Bateman tried to get back into the groove after the cautions, but he missed the mark in the end and had to settle for a fifth place finish. “I figured if we could just set there and settle in, then I could kind of just sneak back in up front. It was just not in the plan.”

Bateman described the track and why the drivers love to race there. “The track here is so wide with multiple grooves. So if you get moved out of the groove it is not a big deal. I do not thing that the guys panicked and yanked the thing back down in (when running three wide). I think that they may have contributed to the fact that there were less cautions. You can kind of do it here (run three wide). If you could do it anywhere it would be here. I got involved in a couple of them. I had a guy on the outside and a guy on the inside and I just went straight and I was able to pull out of it. But it is not very good judgment on anyone’s part to put themselves in that position. But it happens. Everybody is trying to win the race. That is what we came here for.”

The MRS teams will move their racing back to New Hampshire next Saturday night to Canaan Fair Speedway in Canaan, New Hampshire for the Ricky’s Race for Kids.

Oxford Plains Speedway Race Notes:

Will the MRS return to Oxford Plains Speedway next year?

Jack Bateman
It is certainly up to the track owners. But we certainly will contact them and ask them if they would like to have us back. And hopefully they will.

Did later race cautions affect the race?

Andy Seuss

“There were not a whole lot of them so no. It just depended what line you were in. Sometime you would be better depending on who was in front of you and if who is not going. We were on the bottom when they went three wide a few times and it really paid of. So it definitely helped us. We definitely did not want to see a restart towards the end. I knew that the outside was good because that was how I got the lead. And Louie was really good on the outside. Overall it was a good race.”

Todd Annarummo
“I like racing, so the less we slow down the better we are. I was just riding around just trying to bide my time and not abuse the car. Without the cautions, it allows you to do it because you are not as much bunched up racing as much. It allows you to get your rhythm and get in a position to ride in. I like racing, green flag racing not riding around under cautions. If it had been 100 green laps of racing I would have been happier.”

“It (Oxford Plains Speedway) is a fun track. I grew up at Seekonk so it is all power control here, similar to Beech Ridge. I never have more than half of the gas pedal for the whole race. It is just all momentum and keeping the car in gear.”

Source: Denise DuPont /
Posted: July 18, 2010

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