Ryan Seaman Still Upbeat After Hard Crash at Dover
Young Driver Runs Up Front and Contends for Busch East Victory Before Disaster Strikes
TOMS RIVER, NJ (September 25, 2006) -- Ryan Seaman had put a lot of emphasis on his NASCAR Busch East Series race at Dover International Speedway (DE) on Friday afternoon. All season long, he and the ERS Motorsports had the Dover event circled on their calendars as their best opportunity to crack into Victory Lane. Ever since taking his first laps at the high-banked concrete mile at Dover, he has been fast.
That trend continued in this year's Dover NASCAR Busch East Series weekend, as Seaman overcame a motor problem in practice to contend for the win late in the race before an incident while racing in the top five with just two laps remaining sent Seaman's #06 ERS Motorsports Chevrolet slamming into the retaining wall and bursting into flames.
The field went to a red flag as the 23-year-old Seaman freed himself from the wrecked. Seaman sat down by his car and was examined on the track, placed on a backboard and taken to the infield care center. After medical workers checked him out at the track, Seaman was transported to a Dover-area hospital for further examinations.
Now, just days after the terrifying crash, Seaman is happy to report that he is doing just fine and hopes to get back behind the wheel again soon.
"Everything's good to go," said Seaman. "I had a little bit of minor back pain, but everything else is fine. I'm walking around fine and I'm ready to get back to work. The car's all unloaded and we surveyed the damage and it's not as bad as we thought it was going to be. Health-wise, we're in pretty good shape. If we were able to race this weekend at Lime Rock, we would definitely be there."
While this weekend's event at Lime Rock Park (CT) was not originally on the ERS Motorsports schedule, the one race that meant the most to the entire organization was the Dover race. With plenty of momentum on his side after a strong showing at New Hampshire International Speedway just one week prior to Dover, Seaman was again in the hunt for a win Friday at the "Monster Mile." Running inside the top-five with two laps remaining, Seaman positioned himself underneath the #99 car of Bryon Chew when Chew came down the banking into the side of Seaman's #06. The contact cut the right-front tire on Seaman's car and caused him to slam into the wall with a full head of steam.
"There were two to go and I had been running behind him for a couple of laps, just waiting for him to make a mistake. He made a mistake and tried to go to the outside of Mike Johnson and I capitalized on it. I got underneath him and we got side-by-side and came together. I got out of the gas to let him gather it up, but when I drove into the next corner I didn't realize that I had a right-front flat, so I pretty much put it in the wall from there."
The crash was the disastrous end to what was a roller coaster weekend at Dover. Seaman was fast in Thursday afternoon's practice before an engine problem forced the ERS Motorsports team to switch to their backup power plant for qualifying. Further internal problems were found after Seaman's 18th-place qualifying effort, but once those problems were rectified, Seaman was instantaneously a threat in the race.
"The weekend started off very well. Thursday we were almost at the top of the charts. After practice was over, we were sixth on the chart with over 70 laps on our tires, so I was extremely happy. Then with 20 minutes left in the practice session I went out to do a time trial run and I overheated the motor and blew a head gasket. I pulled the number-five spark plug out and there was water shooting out of the spark plug hole. We called the motor man and he told us to put the backup motor in.
"We found two burnt spark plug wires, we took our lumps and had to start at the end of the field, but we came all the way to the front from 30th. By lap nine, I was already up to 13th. We had a really good racecar. We drove to the top-five and we were riding there until we pitted for tires. We had a real good pit stop, got back out there and charged our way back up to the front. We had such a good run going and I know that if we had my good motor in the car, we probably wouldn't have been in the situation we were in. I would've been racing with Tim Andrews and Steve Park for the win. I'm confident in that. My guys did a great job all weekend, it was definitely a good team effort. It's just disappointing it ended the way it ended."
While Seaman's day came to an abrupt end so close to the finish, the main focus and the silver lining to the way the race concluded for the young driver was that he escaped the scary crash unharmed.
"I really appreciate all the phone calls from the fans, drivers, teams and officials that called and have asked about me. Thanks to those who were thinking of me. The whole medical staff at the track and at the hospital that tended to me was great, too. They took everything into their hands and were great the whole time. Dan from Racing with Jesus showed up at the hospital, so that was pretty special. I really appreciate the support from everybody."
The Dover race brought Seaman's 2006 NASCAR Busch East Series season to a close, he is eager to get back behind the wheel of a racecar. He is currently focusing his efforts on getting back to the track.