By Richie Murray
Speedway, Indiana (January 26, 2021)………Logan Seavey, the 2018 USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget champion, has signed on to drive the Tom Malloy owned No. 25 full-time on the series tour in 2021.
Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) and Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports, for whom he raced with in the series during his 2020 campaign, recently parted ways. The Malloy machine was the winningest car in the latter half of last season, winning three of the final seven feature events with driver Tanner Thorson, who has joined Dave Mac Motorsports for 2021.
Prior to 2020, Malloy’s cars, with Jerome Rodela serving as the team manager, were not a well-known commodity on the USAC National scene but had found success in the USAC Western States Midget series over the years. Rodela himself won four Western States races and a pair of championships as a driver in 2005 and 2006.
Yet, late in 2020, the team quickly became a force to be reckon with, a trend that both Seavey and Rodela aim to keep rolling into the new year.
“I feel really good about it,” Seavey said. “They have beautiful racecars and, being from California, I’ve probably seen quite a bit more of them than people elsewhere. I know their cars and engines are really good, and it’s going to be cool to be in something different – a King chassis out of New Zealand; there’s only two or three of them in the United States.”
Rodela feels that the team opened eyes last year and put on display their capabilities of becoming perennial race winners and contenders for the championship.
“I think a lot of people see that the cars have speed and, when I was looking for a driver, it was fairly easy because people noticed we have some good stuff and it made that side of things simple,” Rodela said. “We’re still kind of the new kids on the block and still have a lot to learn, but I’m confident we have a good program here with everybody involved.”
Seavey and Rodela spoke at length, in-person, for the first time at the recent Chili Bowl Midget Nationals in mid-January. Just two weeks later, this past Tuesday afternoon, Seavey installed his seat into the King/Ed Pink Toyota powered car, getting the feel, for the first time, of his new digs for 2021. Seavey, a six-time USAC National Midget feature winning driver, looks forward to working with Rodela, a man who’s been in the trenches on all sides of the sport.
“Jerome’s seen it from all sides as a driver, crew chief and fabricator,” Seavey noted. “I think that just helps with the relationship between driver and crew chief. It’s helpful when the crew chief can see it from the driver’s standpoint as well. I had that at times with Andy (Reinbold) when I was racing with him. Jerome’s cars have been fast and he’s really good at what he does. He builds, to me, the nicest racecars in the world, probably, and is just a beautiful fabricator as well. He makes all these special, unique parts. He thinks about that stuff really well.”
Rodela, who lives in California and runs his Rodela Fabrication business there, will be a busy man in the coming year, having to travel back-and-forth from his west coast home to the team’s race shop in Indianapolis, and admitted that caffeine was going to be one of his best friends on the trail. Rodela sees a steady presence with Seavey who’ll stand on the gas and remain even keeled on and off the track, a characteristic he feels will mesh with his own personality just as well.
“Logan has a lot of experience and he knows how to get it done,” Rodela said. “He knows what’s involved and what needs to take place in order to accomplish those goals. He’s really mellow and calm and it doesn’t seem like he gets wound up. I wouldn’t have chosen him if I didn’t feel he would be a good fit with our team. If he can win some battles and be there at the end to win the war, that’s what we’re looking for and it’ll be a good fit for him here.”
In 63 career starts with the USAC National Midgets, Seavey has finished in the top-five 28 times and the top-ten on 48 occasions while garnering seven fast qualifying times, plus an Indiana Midget Week championship in 2019. He’s been there in the thick of the battle on a consistent basis and has seen what it takes to accomplish those goals and be a title contender.
“In my opinion, it’s about finishing all the races,” Seavey said. “That’s the key, being there at the end of races. If you’ve got speed, you’ll race for wins and podiums, and that’s obviously important. But not DNF’ing, that’s just as big. Jerome puts a lot of work into his racecars and pays attention to all the small details. We’re going to have a lot of fun and that’s what it’s all about. I’m excited for it.”
Rodela also revealed that the team will concentrate on one car for the championship race after running two for the final third of the season a year ago. However, the team does plan to run two cars with Pennsylvania’s Alex Bright joining in a team car for both Eastern Midget Week in early August as well as when the series heads west in November.
Seavey and the Tom Malloy team will get their USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget season underway in the series openers on Feb. 5-6 at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla. A dedicated practice night will precede the festivities on Feb. 4.