INDIANAPOLIS – It’s setting up to be a big year for Reinbold/Underwood Motorsports.
And that’s as if last season wasn’t already a huge deal for the Tempe, Ariz., organization.
Fresh off winning an AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car Series championship with C.J. Leary, team owner Andy Reinbold has reloaded his arsenal to take a second, perhaps even bigger, shot at the title.
Reinbold will have the driving services of Sutter, Calif., hotshoe Logan Seavey at his disposal for the full season, with Seavey bringing his talents to the non-winged sprint car world for a full campaign after two years of dominance on the midget scene with Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports.
It’s a marriage that might have spurred questions at first glance, but was born out of Reinbold’s desire to give the 2018 USAC National Midget Series champion a regular shot to prove himself in a sprint car.
“I’d known Logan for about a year; he’d been in my cars on and off and he’s spent a lot of time out West with us,” Reinbold relayed. “He’s really kind of like my wife and I’s fourth child. He’s just a good kid and we really liked the heck out of him. This deal is really more about giving him an opportunity to go USAC national sprint car racing and us believing in the talent that he has to win races and to win a championship.
“Anyone who’s seen Logan race knows that he’s obviously full of talent, and we hope to tap that and compete at just as high a level this season as we were able to last year.”
Reinbold had initially planned on putting Seavey in the seat of his familiar No. 19az at the start of the 2019 season, but when Seavey opted to spend another year with Toyota Racing Development in hopes of a potential transition to the pavement, Reinbold went in a different direction and hired Leary.
However, he didn’t forget about the California young gun, wanting to eventually find a way to put Seavey into a regular seat with his operation.
“We were gonna go racing with Logan last year, but he wanted to pursue one more shot at some of the pavement stuff on the late model side,” Reinbold recalled. “We were at the Oval Nationals in (November of) 2018, and discussed it while he was driving for me out there, but a couple days later Logan got ahold of me and said he really needed to chase the pavement deal for one more year.
“CJ (Leary) and I hooked up shortly after that, but now that Logan has decided to go down the dirt road full time, we made sure we had an available seat for him.”
That seat comes with a pair of additional bullets in the chamber for Seavey, or “aces in the deck,” to use a phrase that Reinbold has familiarized around his squad in recent weeks.
Past USAC Mechanic of the Year Tyler “Rizzy” Ransbottom and Connor Ridge – Seavey’s crew chief from the past two seasons – have joined the Reinbold/Underwood team from Clauson-Marshall Racing and Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports, respectively, to turn the wrenches on the No. 19az in 2020.
Ransbottom will serve as crew chief for Seavey and Ridge will be the car chief, making for a potent triple threat of young talent as the squad looks to build on the title-winning season that Leary and ace wrench Davey Jones generated a year ago.
To have secured the caliber of talent that both Ransbottom and Ridge bring to the table is something that has Reinbold not just optimistic, but eager for the year-long journey that lies ahead.
“I think excited is an understatement,” Reinbold noted. “It’s a big deal for our team to have two guys in Rizzy and Connor that have proven they both know how to set up a race car and get it in position to go to victory lane. Their records speak for themselves and the championships they’ve helped win over the last two years only add to that. We couldn’t be happier to have them alongside Logan in our pursuit of the USAC National Sprint Car Series title and look forward to seeing them work together this year.”
Though the focus is on a successful defense of the team’s championship from 2019 in 2020, Reinbold was quick to point out that he’s still humbled by how far the team has come over the past 13 months.
He’s hoping, however, that even better days are still ahead.
“This journey so far has been absolutely rewarding,” Reinbold said. “When CJ and I first talked and set a goal of winning a championship, we hoped that we’d achieve that championship, but to actually do it was another thing entirely. I’ve been doing this stuff for a long time. I’ve been in sprint car racing for almost two decades, but I’d never won a championship before, even at the lower ranks driving myself.
“I was new to the car owner part of it, but I definitely knew there was going to be challenges and adversity. Some days had to go our way in order to win that championship, and they ended up falling right for us,” he added. “As prepared as we felt we were going in, we still had to have just a little bit of luck to make it happen. And that all came together. To be able to go into the USAC arena for our first year against the top teams in the world and come out with a championship was surreal and humbling.
“We’re soaking that in, but now we’re ready to take another crack at it and we feel we’ve got the right group to go in and make some noise with.”