Oswego, NY (February 27, 2015) – Ben Seitz and his number 17-supermodified team are more than pleased with their 2014 accomplishments, and justifiably so. In just five years of their competition together, Seitz and car owner Dick Bien claimed an ISMA driver and owner championship respectively, something many have coveted and few have achieved.
Despite the snow and cold in the Northeast, the team is already looking now look forward to the new season and defending their title.
Said Seitz on his meteoric rise to the top of ISMA, “We had a good season last year. We were consistent and were definitely happy with the results. We didn’t set out in 2014 to necessarily win the championship; it wasn’t locked into our plans. But, then toward the end of the season, we pretty much saw it was in sight and then it became the goal.”
The team might just have a more concrete plan this season. Ben continued, “We are excited about this year as we have a new Butch Valley-Brian Allegresso car in the final stages.. It’s at the paint shop right now. We also have revamped and hopefully improved upon, the Lindblad car. We’re hoping the changes will make it a little bit better.”
Seitz, coming from the NEMA midget ranks, earned his first-ever ISMA (International SuperModified Association) championship in a close fought title battle with Jon McKennedy and Rob Summers. Seitz, with a characteristic quiet demeanor, picked up two feature wins, along with eleven other top ten finishes on his road to the championship, which kept him in the mix throughout the season.
When the dust had cleared after the Thompson 2014 World Series ISMA finale, Seitz had added his name to a short list of 13 other drivers who have shared the championship title in ISMA’s 40 years of competition, a feat not to be taken lightly considering the storied history of the group. The ISMA championship honor roll includes some illustrious multi-timers such as Gioia, Shampine, Heveron, Warren, Gosek, Wood, Abold, Ordway, and Perley.
Seitz, a 22-year racing veteran and four-time consecutive NEMA Champion, jumped behind the wheel of Bruce Budnick’s 88 super in 2009 and ended that season as ISMA’s Rookie of the Year. In 2010, Ben won his first-career ISMA feature at Oswego Speedway’s Budweiser Super Nationals after teaming with Richard Bien of Millbury, Mass. for that season.
The Seitz-Bien team moved steadily forward for the next few years to become a force to be reckoned with on the ISMA trail, learning the nuances of the larger car’s handling and revamping their Lindblad chassied number 17 along the way with the help of legendary car builder Brian Allegresso.
In 2013, the team had methodically moved into contention for the ISMA title, taking feature wins at Autodrome Chaudiere (Que.), Delaware Speedway (Ont.) and Thompson Speedway (Conn.). Entering the Thompson feature, Seitz was second in points behind veteran Lou Cicconi Jr., driving veteran car owner Vic Miller’s 71 Seitz made a spectacular pass of Cicconi’s teammate Chris Perley on the last lap of that feature to take the win away, but it was not enough to take the crown.
The Seitz-Bien team started 2014 a little slowly with two top ten feature finishes but they moved rapidly uphill, winning two features and picking up six top fives on the way to the coveted ISMA championship. Entering the Thompson World Series finale the team was again in title contention as Seitz sat 48 points behind point leader Jon McKennedy. A second place finish by Seitz, coupled with McKennedy’s engine failure and a 21st place by the point leader, saw Seitz move to the top of the ISMA points earning him the crown.
In the World Series post-race interview Seitz said, "It's great to win at any of these ISMA shows because the competition is so tough, but a championship means a lot to everybody. It means a lot to the crew, the sponsors, and everybody that puts this on through the season. It means a lot to all of us."
And, as has always been the norm, Seitz acknowledges and credits his car owner Richard Bien, loyal sponsors Cape Cod Aggregates, S.M.Lorusso & Sons and Lorusso Heavy Equipment and his family for their strong support along his road to success.
At 34 years of age, Seitz is certain to continue to be among the top ISMA contenders for many more years. With two cars at his disposal, a strong team behind him and a loyal sponsor following, success this year will be more than speculation.
“I will say the championship will be the goal starting out this season, but things change quickly, so we will see,” the driver of the number 17 concluded. Car owner Dick Bien concurred. “Looking forward to this season is just an understatement!”
Ben lives with his wife Lauren and two children in Bourne, Mass,. known as the gateway to Cape Cod. He works as a Natural Gas technician.