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Seaman at head of factory stock class

March 23, 2001|By CHRIS GRANT, Sports Editor

You don't always have to win to be in first place.

There is no better example of this fact than Southwest Racing Association driver John Seaman.

Entering Saturday's race, Seaman is at the top of the SRA's factory stock class leaderboard, despite only winning one race.

"I've just been consistent," Seaman, said. "I've only won one main event, but you can't gauge the season on wins. You judge it on consistency."

Consistency seems to be the key word for Seaman and that consistency has not just come from Seaman's driving. He gives all the credit to his crew.

"This year all the credit goes to (crew chief) Mike Goodspeed," Seaman said. "If it wasn't for him I probably would have stopped. It's hard when you have to run back-to-back weekends, getting the car put back together. He's really supported me a lot and encouraged me to keep going."

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The going has been particularly good for Seaman in this, his fifth season of racing. But his success has not come without plenty of setbacks.

After a trip to the races with a friend convinced him he wanted to compete, Seaman struggled for his first four years as a driver.

"Guys like Tony Lentz and Steve Daffern make this look real easy," Seaman said. "But I've struggled since I started. It's a lot harder than it looks. It's not as easy as getting in the car and driving around in circles."

It was not until a fortuitous conversation with local racing family the Dafferns that Seaman realized what he was doing wrong and begin to reap the rewards he has found this season.

He added, "Last year the Dafferns helped a lot. We sat down with the car and figured out what was wrong and it has made a world of difference."

Prior to this year's debut of the SRA, Seaman had been forced to compete in Yuma and Peoria, Ariz. He is thankful to have the opportunity to finally race in front of a local crowd.

"I'm glad for (SRA president) Mike Wood and the association bringing the races back here," he said. "Before I had to go everywhere but here. This is a lot better. People know who you are. They know your name. Now we want the fans to come back out and see that we do put on a good show."

While Seaman and his fellow SRA drivers are definitely trying to put on the best show they can, one can rest assured they are not racing for the money. Seaman says he earns anywhere from $40-$120 for a Saturday night's work and in no way does that purse pay his expenses.

"There is no way to make money," he said. "By no means are we making any money. We're doing this for the love of the sport."

Seaman and his fellow SRA drivers will have three more chances to entertain the Valley as their season winds up in April. With just three races remaining, he hopes to be able to keep his points lead and he said he's not doing it for himself. He's doing it for his crew (Goodspeed, James Tucker and Charlie Armstrong).

"We've come this far. Now we have to finish this up and see if we can win the points championship," he said. "I'm not doing this for myself anymore but for those guys. They've put in the hard work and the time. I'm trying to do it for them."

Seaman and the rest of the SRA group will return to the track at the Imperial Valley Speedway on Saturday. The gates will open at 4 p.m. with mudpacking to start at 6:30 p.m. and racing to follow.

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