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By Carol D. Haynes, ISMA PR

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.”


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