My Future in the Sport And My Sport in the Future: Sean Foster, In His Own Words

On Thursday Stafford Motor Speedway SK Modified division driver Sean Foster announced that he would be taking the remainder of the season off to regroup his team. Below, in his own words, Foster talks about that decision, the sport he loves so much and his vision of that sport and its future.

Sean Foster in victory lane at Stafford on Aug 31, 2012.  (Photo: Nicholas Teto)

Sean Foster in victory lane at Stafford on Aug 31, 2012. (Photo: Nicholas Teto)

By Sean Foster 

I bust my ass to learn these racecars and getting them prepared for race days. When the car isn’t right one week, I rip the thing apart and figure out the problem. Throughout these years of having our family owned modified, I’ve never once gone to the race track without this deep confidence saying, “Okay, this is it. I found the reason for our struggles and we’re going to win this week”. I would have bet money on it on any given race day that we would be in victory lane at the end of the night. Nothing is “half-assed” and lack of effort is never an issue when it comes to working on the Tsi-25.

I’m a die hard racer. As die hard as they come. I work a 40+ hour week and everything I do after my work day is related to racing in some way. If I’m not at the race shop immediately after work, it’s because I’m running around for parts. If I’m not at the shop late at night, it’s because I left early to work on editing my race footage, collecting marketing material, or researching promoting concepts.

When it comes to racing, everything else in my life gets pushed aside. My lawn doesn’t get cut weekly… the front half gets cut when i get a free hour and the back half might get skipped until the next opportunity, in a couple of weeks. I drive a pickup truck that has 300,000 miles on it. Since my money goes towards racecar things I don’t take it to a shop for maintenance and repairs. When my truck breaks down, I play musical cars with friends and family so I can get to & from work and the shop because the racecar has to be ready before I get to fixing my truck.

Like everybody else in the world, work is a necessity to live. I’m no different. I work to live, however, I live to race. I like to think of myself as an honest worker but I tend to dose off because there’s something else on my mind. I often skip lunch to run out and pick up racecar parts or make racecar related phone calls. I am enrolled in college engineering classes and have pulled multiple “all nighters” to complete the work necessary…but that’s all after getting home and cleaning up from the garage.

My pockets always seem to have folded up sticky notes with random ideas. They could be promotional ideas, Short Track Racer skits, or to do lists for the Tsi-25. I transfer my sticky note ideas into notebooks that I carry with me most places.

Relationships just don’t work with me. I have dated and I’ve been lucky enough to meet some of the most awesome and incredibly supportive girls. The types of girls that some people would do absolutely anything to find… but it just doesn’t work. If I take a night off from the shop to have a nice dinner, I can’t enjoy myself because my mind is overpowered by racecar related things that I’d rather be accomplishing. A night off from racecar things isn’t an opportunity to “relax” or “chill”… It’s less time to be around the things I love most.

This is a family sport. I see my crew more than I see my best friends. They are like family to me. My mom is a vibrant person. She comes to every race and I can’t contain a bad attitude when she is around. Beyond that, she takes care of multiple tasks for me so I have less to worry about. My Pops is with me through it all. Some of my favorite moments in life are when we shut down the race shop and crack one last beer talking about how excited we are for the next race.

I am extremely fortunate to be around something that I love so much. Although, I work very hard at succeeding and promoting my marketing partners, it’s still pretty cool that I have always had the opportunity to race cars. It has given me the chance to have a close relationship with my family and gain an incredible amount of friendships along the way. Racing gets tough at times but I feel lucky to have such a deep passion for something this exciting.

What’s been happening?

We’ve been having so many struggles this race season that I haven’t even been able to accomplish a small percentage of the things I should be doing to help the sport or promote my marketing partners. But we were on the verge of turning it all around.

We were on the uphill. After dealing with mechanical issues and a couple of wrecks early in the race season, we started chopping away at the car handling problems and began putting a good race setup together.

We were ready for the SK 5K which is the biggest and highest paying race of the year. Every race team had “July 10th” circled on the race schedule. Our Tsi-25 racing bank account was dwindling and we were counting on the big payouts to let us continue the race season. During the week leading up to that Friday’s event, the excitement was at an all-time high. We found some issues with the car and discovered some areas of the Tsi-25 that were not being pushed to the maximum capability limits. Despite the extra late nights and lack of sleep, I was extremely eager to hit the track and see what our racecar had.

It all went up in smoke on lap 1 of practice. You see, one week earlier I got spun out on the final lap of the main event. A radiator fan died during the race and I ran in the back so the engine could catch clean air to stay cool. After the spin, I knew the engine temperature had increased but I thought it was just safe of harm. I was wrong. I completed 1 lap of practice for our premiere event and the motor seized up.

This was far from the first time I’ve sat in a racecar saying, “Wow. This is it. I might be all done racing”. Multiple times, I have sat silent in a racecar for a few seconds after a bad wreck or a blown drive train with heavy grief knowing that it could mean the end. It’s a crappy feeling when you have something that you work harder at than anything else in life and it comes to a screeching halt.

I won’t dare ask my marketing partners to help with the repairs. The motor issue was my own fault and the amount they have done for me is far beyond what I have been able to do for them in recent times. My past few seasons all together have been sub par and I haven’t done nearly the amount of promoting for them as I should.

What now?

I’m not done. I’m a racer and I’m a competitor. I am far from satisfied with a 12th place finish, although, that is likely my average finish over the past few years of racing modifieds. Starting with the moment I decided to play the driver/crew chief role for our race team, I would have a hard time believing that any of my competitors work harder than I have. I’m not saying that I work harder than anybody else… I’m just saying that I would have a hard time believing it.

I’ve made the statement that I don’t see racing as a sport, although, I still verbally refer to it as one. I don’t consider auto racing a sport because there is a lack of necessary physical conditioning. However, auto racing is the most competitive activity you will ever find… more competitive than any other “sport” you’ll come across in the world. Well that’s me. I’m the ultimate racer and I’m the ultimate competitor. A realist might say that I’m not the best racer or the smartest guy in the pits, but my competitive side tells me that I am.

So, I’m not sure where the future of this sport is going to take me when it comes to driving. At this point, I have a modified that is capable of winning, but no engine. Funding is very tight after the rough start of this race season. Maybe I will be able to find somebody who is willing to team up. Who knows? Doug Coby went a couple of years without any type of solid ride and he’s winning Whelen Modified Tour championships. Maybe I’ll be able to save up some money, start fresh next season, and rebuild with something better after some harsh lessons learned this year.

I’m going to work on figuring out how to get back on track. In the meantime, I will continue promoting my marketing partners that have all been with me for a number of years. I will also keep in touch and spend time with my crew. I have built great friendships with my supporters and that means the world to me. They have all believed in me throughout this racing game, despite the struggles.

Aside from being the ultimate racer, I am also the ultimate race fan. So you will catch me at a race track quite a few times throughout the year. Beyond all of that, I plan on working at my future which is becoming a racing promoter and/or track manager… all to help fix and improve the sport.

This sport is in a huge rut and the way I see it, the declination of popularity is not going to stop. The majority of track owners and promoters just aren’t using their facilities to their full potential or taking necessary steps in reversing the downfall. I am a frequent visitor of speedways throughout New England and I am not picking on any individual track. This is something I see across the board at race facilities.

Our modern day owners, promoters and managers are lacking vision as to what short track auto racing could and should look like. I firmly believe that short track auto racing is the greatest form of enjoyment for drivers, owners, team members, fans, and even track employees. Everybody must know that the population of the sport will not just turn around on its own. “Waiting out” the recession will not solve things because our nation’s economy is not the problem with short track racing at all.

We need innovative ideas and creativity. Dump the old image because many short track facilities are an eyesore and lack character. Beyond that, many tracks do a poor job of looking out for the best interest of the racers and teams. They fail to cater to the people putting on the show. They also fail to engage with fans, especially the younger crowd. Competing divisions are an absolute disaster throughout. Marketing concepts are inadequate and lack creativity. Local communities shun our race venues. And there is broken communication between neighboring tracks. Those are the real problems. Let it be known that there isn’t one single issue. It’s the whole package.

I have a 4 year old nephew who is already turning laps in a go kart and I am not interested in getting him involved in a dying sport. It bothers me to watch short track racing fail to show its true potential. I have ideas and concepts that can make the sport thrive far beyond its limits in the next 10 years. At this point, I am just trying to figure out the best route in putting some of my vision in action. Let’s face it, nobody should give out their ideas for free and this is what I want to do for a living.

I don’t mean to sound negative with my thoughts, nor do I mean to bad mouth track owners and employees. I just want to see the sport flourish in my lifetime, as well as for my nephew and the rest of his generation. I wouldn’t be stating these things if I didn’t feel that short track auto racing has the capabilities of becoming an incredible phenomenon.

Now I understand that the ideas in my statement here seem to contradict each other. I talk about the sport dying; yet, I am hinting the idea of teaming up with our race team. Truth is, I simply feel that I have a lot more to offer the sport if I continue being a racer.

In closing, I would like to apologize to my supporters for my lack of Short Track Racer video releases and social media updates. I’m still working hard at making the video updates happen. I’ve been purchasing equipment and playing with editing tools so I promise that I’ll continue trying to formulate something.

I would also like to thank all of my supporters and everybody who has believed in me up to this point. This includes my marketing partners, my family, my friends, everybody who cheers for me, everybody who tells me how much they enjoy Short Track Racer, and my race team. I will continue to work hard for my Short Track Racer friends and look forward to seeing you all at the track!

25. Tsi Harley Davidson. Napa Auto Parts Of Tolland. The Hidden Still. Clear View Glass & Mirror. Scott’s Electric Inc. K&W Custom Auto.


  1. Foster, well written. Could not agree more. Tracks will be dead in 10 years if they continue to make SK teams spend upwards of $50k to be mildly competitive…

  2. I agree something needs to be done to save weekly modified racing in ct. Start with having all three tracks run the same rules and tires, why does the lightest car have the widest tires?? Put the mods on a 10″ tire. Time for fuel injection in the near future also.

  3. Sect.D Row25 says

    This guy seems like a bit of a Space Cadet to me. How about focusing on one thing, the car. He bets nobody works harder, I bet nobody leaves the shop early to edit a video. He needs money but is spending on video editing equipment instead. I bet this team would like to have the money back they threw at that God awful Hood. I know it was charity but I didn’t understand it then or now. This piece he wrote is heavy on the self back patting. Anyone ever heard of anybody referring to themselves as the “ultimate” so many times? Personally I’m not interested in any of this guys visions as I get the feeling they change on a daily or even hourly basis. Of course I would like to see this team back on the track, they were coming along no question. Other than telling us how great he thinks he is what the hell was the point of this. Show us don’t tell us.

  4. Good article Sean, I think your one season of Short Track racer did more to promote racing in New England and the modifieds, and I really hope you continue. I have co workers in the South who had no idea how many tracks we had in New England, never mind a Modified. I shared your you tube page and they love it, I hope you continue.

    I think Modified racing has as passionate of a fan base as they, but changes are needed. Late Model and Super late Model racing seems to be thriving thoughout the country, and Modifieds are stagnant. I think Waterford and Thompson have divisions that align with one another and allow cars to go between the tracks, Stafford appears to be the only track that is content with being on an island by themselves. I would like to see rules for Late Models and Modifieds between all three align; you could run. summer Track Track Series for these 2 divisions; I believe it could work and maybe bring in other cars from track in and outside New England.

  5. I hear you Shawn.I guess you have to live the life to UNDERSTAND.You have to pass through the pitgate thinking you and your team are the best ,and you have done everything possible to win.Keep up the positive attitude.Sometimes you need to take a step back to go forward.

  6. Didn’t he work at the speedbowl last year? Wonder if they would hire him back.

  7. Ted Anderson says

    hear you loud and clear. I have been out of racing over 20 yrs. now because the local tracks and engine builders drove the cost of racing through the roof. the tracks charge more entry and gate fees but pay less than the guys made 40 yrs ago at Plainville, riverside and Danbury. You and you buddy’s built a car out of junk yard parts and run a competative race ever week you showed up. I now own my own business and sponsor great talent like Nikki Chambrello who thanks and respects all the good people who help her enjoy what she does best RACE hard with what she has for a father daughter team. The two of them work very hard to compete against the money teams every week. Hope things turn around for you soon Sean Best of luck and keep your chin high you did your best for your pocket book.

  8. sectD.Row.25…. You obviously aren’t intelligent enough to recognize the point of this article. Yes, Sean did pat himself on the back a little, but I don’t know a good racer that doesn’t do that. This article was about Sean loving the sport and expressing how much he cares about competing and pleasing his fans and sponsors. It’s him explaining how he’s going through a tough time and if he doesn’t get support from anyone he will fight until he gets back on the track. Having known Sean personally I can tell you he’s a great guy, very humble (believe it or not) and an extremely hard worker. It’s very easy to criticize and judge when watching from the stands in section d row 25… Try getting a pit pass next time.

  9. Sect.D Row25 says

    Rocket, Would it be fair to say that every hands on Man, Woman and child in the pit area is every bit the racer and every bit as committed as Sean? If so, then this is a story all fans are familiar with and therefore unnecessary. Racing for the common man is a struggle, this is nothing new, we get it. Do you think the 98 lite team is digging to get back or do you think the members of the team are wasting time crouched in the corner of the garage scribbling their thoughts on a napkin? I know Sean usually has the first three hours free on Saturday mornings while the team removes the previous nights accumulated sand out of the car but this was nothing more than a self thrown pity party. I do wish them luck but I do not dig their style at all.

  10. Sect.D Row25 says

    I have watched all the episodes of short track racer. Help me out. Which episode has the footage of him “busting his ass” as stated in the opening line of this entirely narcissistic article. I see the old timers in the garage doing the laboring while this dude is busying applying stickers to the underside of the car and pounding stakes into the ground on exit ramps. To me he is more concerned with being known as a racer than being a racer.

  11. RocketRy says

    Short track racer is a production, a form or entertainment. It wouldn’t be entertaining to people to watch someone work, just like big reality series on TV… Not much work goes on during the show, it’s about entertainment and Sean was trying to make a show out of a sport that is quickly dying. People should be glad he was giving the dying sport some spotlight. If I were to guess, you probably compete against Sean and don’t necessarily see eye to eye, that’s fine. When I raced back in the day I didn’t see eye to eye with most people but I always respected their hard work and passion for the sport.

  12. Sect D- The main intentions of my write up included:
    -Update and give credit to my supporters.
    -Give some insight of life as a short track racer. you and most of the people who read this might have an understanding as to what happens behind the scenes for teams like mine and the 98 sk lite but i’m sure not everybody knows how it is.
    -Spread the word that I want to be involved in the promoting aspect of the sport. A lot of people dont realize that this is what I want to do for a living or that I have a flow of ideas to help fix things.
    -Publicize the fact that our engine issue wasn’t my motor builders fault.
    Keep in mind that the biggest reason that I am able to race is because of my current marketing partners. Working on the marketing aspects (such as video updates) are all part of the racing game.. it’s not all about on track performance. Despite my acknowledgement of lacking in the marketing department, I would like to think I’ve done a decent job because all of my supporters have been with me for many years.
    Also, if you care about the sport, perhaps my visions might spark some interest in your mind. Maybe they could get short track racing turned around. Unless you enjoy sitting in empty grandstands watching glorified heat races.
    Also, youre invited to visit the race shop. If we get the 25 back on the track, I’ll be up there any night of the week. As for your other comments… props. The hood and sand comments made me laugh. It’s all good.

  13. Sect. D Row25 says

    First off let me clarify something, I have no affiliation to the 98 or any other team in any way. I’m just a fan. I used the 98 as an example because they too have been battling a season from hell. For you Sean, as critical as I have been here (notice the sponsor drop) I do indeed root weekly for you to do well, have right along and still will. In the comments a couple weeks back on the article on the Sk race with the Preece, Cipriano, Pennink thing it was I who first brought up the run your team had that night. I wrote how I felt the true tragedy that night was your team not getting the results you guys deserved. So I do try to be objective. I also like that you don’t have a glass jaw. You are willing to take a jab as much as give one. As for visiting the shop, I don’t think I would fit in. Lol Of course you’re always welcome to come stand by me again while on hiatus. The only thing I ask is next time you wear some socks and shoes. The Flip-Flops do nothing but announce to the world that you have showed up prepared for nothing. All kidding aside and in all honesty I wish you the best of luck in the future.

  14. Sect. D Row25 says

    One last thing. Please bring all that sand back this week. We need it for Monster Jam on Saturday.

  15. Thanks for the kind words. I’ll stand by you at the track with my closed toed shoes from now on. As far as the narcissistic comments… I have a youtube channel dedicated to ME. I have no rebuttal, your statements are valid.
    -Space Cadet

  16. Cory Casagrande says

    You are the people’s racer, let’s get this on barstool

  17. Sect. D Row25 says

    Hey 25, I have to say from what I heard when you could hear it, that was a pretty solid effort in the booth there last night. I don’t know if it was said there would be more of this or not but it’s something I’d be down with. Good job!

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