Team Ripper Tabs Seavey For Winter Dirt Games

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Team Ripper Tabs Seavey
Logan Seavey, seen here driving a Flea Ruzic-prepared midget in 2017 at Jacksonville Speedway, will reunite with his former crew chief at Bubba Raceway Park next month. (Brendon Bauman photo)

OCALA, Fla. – Logan Seavey will have a homecoming of sorts during the season-opening Winter Dirt Games at Bubba Raceway Park for the NOS Energy Drink USAC National Midget Series.

Seavey will reunite with car owner Steve Reynolds and crew chief Flea Ruzic, with whom he captured the 2017 POWRi National Midget League title, at Team Ripper Racing for the two-race kickoff to the USAC season.

The 2018 USAC National Midget Series champion will race as a teammate to Jesse Colwell, who is continuing with Team Ripper after a strong showing during the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals.

Ruzic told Sprint Car & Midget Thursday by phone that he’s looking forward to working with Seavey again after their successful tenure together three years ago.

“I tell people often about the first time I met Logan; he hopped in one of Jack Yeley’s cars to run the Chili Bowl, and they had a problem on their preliminary night and had to swap drivers … but he only got to practice and that was it, because the Chili Bowl (officials) said they couldn’t switch drivers in cars or however it worked,” Ruzic recalled. “But fast forward to a year later, and I actually ended up at Port City Raceway with him in a Jeff Taylor-backed entry. If I remember correctly, his first night in that car, he won his heat race and we started on the front row of the feature.

“He has the most phenomenal throttle control of anybody I’ve ever had in a car. He’s one of those kids that’s almost a perfect natural, like (Kyle) Larson or (Christopher) Bell. He just had to learn a little bit of it,” Ruzic continued. “I really liked working with him; it’s just unfortunate that due to the economics of racing that we lost him, but I’m excited to work with him again, for sure.”

During their championship-winning season with POWRi in 2017, the Seavey-Ruzic combination earned two wins, nine top-five and 18 top-10 finishes in 23 starts with the No. 4a Toyota-powered Boss Chassis.

Ruzic, like most team owners in the midget landscape, wasn’t about to pass up the opportunity to put Seavey in one of his race cars again. However, Ruzic added that his enthusiasm wasn’t necessarily borne out of the potential feedback that Seavey could provide for his program.

Team Ripper Tabs Seavey
Logan Seavey. (Jacob Seelman photo)

“I’ll be honest, when Logan ran, we didn’t talk much,” he noted. “He just drove the car and when he’d come in, I didn’t need to ask him a ton of questions. I could see what the car was doing and he didn’t give me a ton of feedback. His main feedback was on gearing; that he needed more gear to get off the corner or that he felt like he was in the box at the end of the straightaway, or whatever it was. And that was really the only feedback he gave.

“Every now and then I’d ask him what the car felt like, and he’d give me an honest opinion, but for the most part we didn’t have to talk to each other too much,” Ruzic expanded. “It was kind of a natural fit. I just worked on the car and he drove it. Historically, those (kinds of) relationships are a lot easier for me to work with compared to someone who gets out of the car and has an opinion on how everything should be done. You’re never going to make those drivers happy for the most part.

“We should be good with Logan, though; I think getting him back in will be a cool deal for us.”

Despite Ruzic’s long and successful history as a crew chief, working with both Kenny Brown of Boss Factory Racing and now Reynolds, one of the few boxes that remains unchecked in his tenure with Team Ripper Racing is a national midget victory under USAC sanction.

While Ruzic admits that winning at Bubba Raceway Park would indeed be historic, he’s not solely focused on the glitz of a USAC win with Seavey. Just winning would be plenty of satisfaction for the pair.

“Any race you win, I think, is equally important,” Ruzic said. “Even when you think about a POWRi race or something like that, Keith (Kunz) still drags a bunch of cars to those races, and Clauson-Marshall’s cars are usually there too. So winning any race is important, in my mind, and it’s certainly hard to do.

“When you leave the track and you won a race, on that particular night you did something better than anybody else could. So there’s a lot of pride to be had in winning any race, but going down there and winning the first race of the season really sets the mood for how you’re coming out of the gate,” Ruzic added. “We’ve had good cars for a long time, but haven’t been able to keep drivers for too long to be able to grow with them into that place where we can perform with them on a regular basis.

“Logan’s been with us before and we know what we should need to be successful, so I’m confident you’ll see us in the mix and hopefully, we can bring that season-opening trophy back to the Midwest.”