At the close of the 2016 ISMA season, former 4-time NEMA Champion, 6-time ISMA feature winner and 2014 ISMA champion Ben Seitz found himself without a ride. As it goes in racing his race team was disbanding. Said Ben, "I think the car owner Dickie (Bien) pretty much had had enough. It was time for him to stop.”
The car was sold in the off-season, and Ben was left without a ride, but not for long. Along came car owner Ken Locke, whose son Jeff had decided to concentrate on his son Ryan's midget career, leaving the 37 without a driver.
“Jeff didn't want to drive the super right now, said Ken, “ because he's having fun with his son Ryan's midget career. We have two midgets about ready to go. The midget that was wrecked at Thompson last year has been fixed and numbered 88 and Jeff and Ryan built a new car numbered 38. Now Jeff will be able to drive one with Ryan in NEMA and that's a pretty big deal for him.”
“Way last fall I learned Ben Seitz was without a ride, Ken continued, “When I found that out I said if we are going to run the car I want him in it. Among the guys out there, there is nobody better than him.”
The 37 winged car which Jeff ran to an ISMA win in his rookie season, and is at Brian's (Allegresso) and Brian is going to take care of it. “Ben has already been to the race shop to get fitted in the seat. They have to make a couple small changes and move the pedals but other than that we're ready to go, said Ken.
Seitz was looking for some possible track time before the season starts after being fitted into the car. “We have not been on the track yet, said Ben. “They will call me if we can test it or not but we will definitely be at practice the night before the ISMA opener at Oswego. I hope we get a chance to shake it down before that, but that depends on the weather.”
From his home in Maine, Ken Locke summed up his plans for the season. “We're going to try and run the full ISMA tour. There is only like 11 races now depending on Waterford. Right now we don't know. We also had four midget races scheduled there this year too.
“On the non-wing side, Brian is working on that car too. We should have it ready a few weeks before the Oswego Classic. Pat Lavery is going to drive that car. The non-wing car is really nice. Brian's been working on it for a year or so. The motor is in it. It's rolling right now so I can take it to get the headers built. It's going to Joey Hawksby's shop. And then we just have to fit the body on it.
Oswegonian Lavery, who was also without a supermodified ride for 2017, was Ken's instant pick to drive the non-winged 37. “I like Pat. He always does good. He's always been tough running the Classic. He doesn't wreck the race car. I like his wife Kelly too. They are nice people. I wanted to give Pat a shot at it.”
All told it will be a hectic season for the Lockes, to say the least. “It's a busy time with the cars and the business, which Jeff runs now. With NEMA being more local, it makes it easier for Jeff and Ryan to run. He gets a lot of enjoyment out of working with Ryan. His other son, Chase, who is 11 is a couple years behind Ryan, is into go-karts, so we have to go to go-kart races too.
As to the ISMA year, Ken has praise for his new team. “Ben and his family are nice and he's a good driver. We're looking forward to working together and to see what happens. I really expect big things out of that guy!”
In turn, Ben commented from his Bourne, Mass. home, “My sons Charlie and Cameron are getting older now and the family should be able to make some more races this year. I just want to get back to running competitively, having a good season and having some fun. Hopefully at the end of the year if all goes well, we might be contending for the championship.”
Delaware, Ont., Canada (Aug. 19, 2017) - They say good things come to those who wait and for London, Ontario's Mark Sammut that wait for a feature win at Delaware was 21 years in the making. Sammut, who calls Delaware Speedway his home track, had raced many times at the half-mile oval over his long career, but had never won a supermodified feature there. He'd come close, but Saturday night he nailed it, picking up his 6th career ISMA win but first victory at Delaware, which was also a very lucrative one that carried a $10,000 first place prize, sponsored by Corr/Pak Merchandising, Arctic Snowplows, Murray's Transmission and PATCO Transportation.
Waterford, CT(August 12, 2017) - After an unusually high rate of attrition at Lee USA Speedway on Friday night, the ISMA competitors trekked south to Waterford were down in numbers, but a combination of crashes, curfews and a late night start to the Saturday night feature caused more havoc.
The ISMA 75 started last on the agenda and fearfully close to the track's midnight curfew and some spotty rain in the area. When all was said and down, the race was shortened to 50 laps, then checkered after 39 complete when both rain and the curfew fell.
Lee, NH (August 11, 2017) – Baldwinsville, NY’s Michael Muldoon, with only five ISMA events under his belt viewed Lee USA Speedway in New Hampshire for the first time on Friday night. He quickly adapted to the new-to-him venue and came home with a very impressive win in the Ollie Silva Memorial 75. His first career winged win took a combination of a good starting spot and a little luck when race leader Ben Seitz stopped off turn four on lap 63, while due to motor issues.
Muldoon had led the 75-lapper up until lap 33, when passed by Seitz in the Locke 37. Muldoon stayed in second while Seitz was able to build a comfortable lead, hauling in the $1000 Shea Concrete lap 37 bonus, until the car’s demise. Muldoon retook the top spot and led the remaining 11 laps, pressured by Ohio’s Mike McVetta, for the victory, his first career ISMA win.