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Seate scores first major IHRA win

Brian Seate has waited a long time to get a win in IHRA drag-racing competition.

He finally got one, scoring a win in the recent IHRA Super Stock Pro Am Division 9 event on Aug. 31 at Darlington (S.C.) Dragway.

It was Seate’s first major win, and it came in his 10th event of the season.

“The win meant a great deal to us, just turning the season around,” said Seate, a teacher at Halifax County Middle School.

“It was very, very close. I won by two one-thousandths of a second. I didn’t know who had won when we crossed the finish line. I looked up after I had slowed down the car and the “W” was on my lane.”

There were 27 cars competing in Seate’s division at Darlington.

“It was a pretty big field,” Seate acknowledged.

“The event went five rounds. I was undefeated through five rounds. It has been a while since I had won a race. We came close last year, but just didn’t make it. This is our second year traveling. I’m pretty proud to be able to get a win in the first couple of years.”

Seate competes in a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro that has a 350-cubic-inch engine that generates 578 horsepower. The car has so much power that it generates wheel stands from knee-high to waist high.

The level of the competition is so high that one very small error makes the difference between winning and losing.

“Your focus has to be dead on,” Seate explained.

“You’ve got to have everything right. I was very fortunate to get the win. I had good reaction times. We had everything working together.”

Seate credits some changes he and his team made to the car and a quarterfinal round win at an event at Mooresville, N.C. earlier in the summer as keys that led to his recent win.

“That kind of got us going on the right track,” he pointed out.

“We make notes all the time on what we do, and we went back to our notes and it paid off at Darlington.”

Seate competes with his small family-owned race team. His father, Page Seate, serves as his crew chief. Danny Staunton, Cam Tingen and Marshall Seate and Chris Seate also work on the team.

He credits his father, Page, for much of his success.

“My hat goes off to my dad,” Seate remarked.

“He guided me to this win. He’s my biggest supporter.”

The win at Darlington vaulted Seate, a Nelson resident, into sixth place in the Super Stock Pro Am Division 9 standings. He needs to be in the top three after the upcoming regular-season finale at Winston-Salem, N.C. in order to qualify for the IHRA Nationals in Memphis, Tenn.

“Given the chance to go to Memphis, I feel like I could do very well,” Seate said.

“We had a set a goal of finishing fifth or better in the standings. If we do that, we will be happy. But, if we get into the top three and make it into the Nationals, it would icing on the cake.” 

The national competition features the best of the best drivers and cars. There are seven divisions comprising Super Stock Division competitors, making a total of 21 drivers that will compete for the national Super Stock Division title and the $10,000 prize that goes with it.

Seate said he hopes to do well if he can reach the Nationals and knows that regardless of his outcome he and his team will be better just from experiencing that level of competition.

“You have to race against the best to get better,” pointed out Seate. 

“Even if you get beat, you learn things. It makes you look at things a little differently and possibly allows you to find a little edge somewhere else. It’s a learning experience. You learn from your mistakes.”