NH has its share of family racing relationships
The Pettys, the Labontes, the Earnhardts, the Brothers Busch and on and on.
“It's just something that very typically gets passed down generation to generation,” said Dave Driscoll, 71, a racer and patriarch of Gilmanton-based Driscoll Motorsports. “The younger kids see their fathers, and their mothers in some cases, race and just have an interest, and they can get started themselves at a relatively young age in an entry division.”
New Hampshire has its racing royals, too. They don't necessarily win all the races and all the championships, but they're at Lee USA Speedway and Star Speedway in Epping and White Mountain Motorsports Park in North Woodstock and the state's other racetracks every weekend during race season.
Check out the point standings from any track and notice the duplicate names.
Take Driscoll's seven-car racing stable, which features the Sicards and competes in assorted divisions at White Mountain, or the Wendells of Derry at Star and Hudson Raceway.
Then there's Andy Seuss and his modified touring family out of Hampstead.
Keri Sicard, 29, who is Dave Driscoll's daughter, had a limited race season this year. Family reasons.
Like her father, Sicard is a patent attorney in Concord. And like her dad, she has a blast racing at White Mountain Motorsports Park.
She gave birth to Makenzi, her third child, on May 23. That slowed down Sicard for a couple of months, then she returned to the track and raced against her husband, Jody Sicard, in the Strictly Stocks division.
Soon, family intervened again. Shane Sicard, her brother-in-law and another driver under the Driscoll Motorsports umbrella, had to deal with his car engine blowing up. Shane, chasing a championship, got Keri's motor.
“There better be a big thank you if he wins the championship,” she said with a laugh.
Sicard stopped by New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Friday with her father, husband and kids. They took in qualifying, spent the night in their camper, then headed to White Mountain for what were scheduled to be the championship-determining races on Saturday night.
Dave Driscoll went into Saturday night one point out of first place in the Mini-Stocks division. “Old Guys Rule” reads the large banner across his back bumper. Driscoll had turned 60 before he first raced.
“I absolutely never, ever thought I'd be driving a race car,” he said. “Now I love it and I'll drive as long as I can.”
Driscoll quickly advanced from fan to car owner, and later, after daughter Keri started driving, he got behind the wheel himself.
Keri met her husband, Jody, on the track.
“When I first met her, her dad and I were racing, and in the second year, we were racing each other,” Jody said.
Family racing, and devoting so much time to the sport, can cause some rough patches.
“It's a lot of hours, and it can wear on a relationship,” said Andy Seuss, who moved to Salisbury, N.C., from Hampstead this summer to further pursue his racing.
His father, Steve, is his crew chief; his brother and sister help, too; and his mother, Bobbi, keeps everything together.
“It's huge,” Seuss said of the family involvement. “My family got me involved with racing by being race fans, and then we ran go-karts out of our house.”
He raced go-karts at Sugar Hill Speedway in Weare and kept moving up through the ranks. He races full time on the Whelen Southern Modified Tour and is racing in the Whelen Modified race at NHMS today.
Bobbi Seuss tries to keep everyone on an even keel.
“The more everyone does together, the more fun they have together, the more they stay together,” she said. “You put so many hours in, it can be tough. Win, lose or draw, sometimes I make sure everyone goes off to play mini-golf. It's not all happy. You definitely have to have fun when you're doing it.”
Being part of a racing family can be addictive, too.
Mitch Wendell of Derry followed his father into racing and started driving at Star and Hudson in 1981 when he was 17. His sons, Dean, 20, and Chad, 15, race now.
“We brought them to the track when they were babies,” Mitch Wendell said. “Dean started at Londonderry Raceway go-kart track and took off from there. I just love watching both of them race. I love it more than racing myself, actually.”
It's difficult to step away, he said: “Racing, once you get into it, it's real hard to get it out.”
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Allen Lessels may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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