An Interview with Mark Seiler
Autocrosser, Track Trial Driver, Hillclimber and now Road Racing with his son, Ray. Mark Seiler is one busy transplanted Southern Driver! Wherever you will find Mark, you will find him competing… except in eating contests. Some years ago, Mark lost first place in a hillclimb to a fellow driver by the smallest of margins. All the way home, he thought about how if he weighed 10 pounds less, THAT would have been his victory. He began a lifestyle change including diet and exercise that resulted in a much more fit Mark. He and his wife now participate… and COMPETE in 5Ks. Mark also has an a strong love for peppers. The peppers he eats for lunch could easily be mixed in a aqueous solution and used to remove paint from your car prior to sanding. Actually, you may not need to sand…
Birthplace : Akron, Ohio
Home : Bessemer City, NC
Family : Sue, Ray & Lisa
Pets : no pets we can name, just a few barn cats to keep down the rodent population
Profession : Radio Producer, currently. Other professions have included: shoe shine boy, caddy(several time professional); salesman & designer of: business forms/printing; sales of food products ranging from corn dogs to Maine Lobster
Cars presently owned : Toyota Corolla; Ford F-150 Super Crew; 4 Miatas, 2 for street use (Blue & Blanco), 1 to race (Red), 1 for parts
Championships/Titles/Offices held : 3 Time Undefeated Eating/Drinking Competition at The Old Heidelberg Castle, Sarasota, Fl; 2009 CCR CSP Autocross Champion; 3 years SEDIV Time Trial “Around The World” Award ; SCCA Central Carolinas Region Board of Directors Member
Your favorite childhood memory involving cars: building “derby” cars using old orange crates, literally. We found out you needed a really big hill to get any speed if it was paved with gravel.
What you enjoy most about motorsports: the great friendships and moments, plus, doing what others only dream of (or “do” on a video game)
Favorite professional driver past or present : Bobby Rahal
Favorite road to drive : Old NC 18, northbound, between Casar & Morganton, 125 turns in 13 miles
Your future racing plans : develop into a competitive Enduro team with my wife & son
Anything you’d like to share about yourself, motorsports or experiences :
I didn’t get started in participating, seriously, in motorsports until I was 50 which means you’re never too old to take on any challenge. I’ve been taking piano lessons now for a little over 2 years and hope to get my first paying gig in another year or two.
Favorite story from your driving career : In the 3rd year of going for the Around the World Award that recognizes drivers who get a competitive time in ALL time trials events in a season we had more problems in the first half of the season than we’d had in the previous 4 years of autocross & TT. Two weeks prior to Eagles Nest Hill Climb we were at an AX and going to grid I got the “death rattle” from the engine. Something was in there bouncing around despite it’s ability to run. We pushed Red back on the trailer and started to tear down the engine, in the car, Sunday afternoon. About 8P Ray & I were just about ready to remove the head when I couldn’t find my 12 pt 12mm socket to remove the bolts. We called it a day.
The next morning I called Bob Thornton of Race Engineering who’d built the motor for me. He said, “STOP!! Pull the engine and bring it to me.” Which I did the next day. When I got there he asked when my next race was and I told him in about 10 days. “No way I can rebuild this one and get it to you by then. Let me see if there’s another 1.6 out there” No luck. Not even a 1.8 could he find (and I’d still have to do the conversion stuff). Things looked pretty grim for making all the events that season.
Heck, our daughter was getting married in 4 days to boot. How was I going to have my car ready in 10? I headed back home and while pulling on to I-85 it hit me. WHOA!!! MY DAUGHTER’S GETTING MARRIED IN 4 DAYS AND GOING ON HER HONEYMOON IN HER MATRIX AND LEAVING HER ’92 MIATA AT MY HOUSE!!!!!! Speed dial Lisa. “Hi, Sweetie.” “Hi, Dad” “Say, the clutch is slipping on Junior(the name of her Miata) isn’t it?” “Yes, we need to get I worked on” “How about if I get you a new one and put it in while you and Blair are on your honeymoon?” “Hey, that’d be great, thanks Dad.” “Ahh, could I ask a favor?” “Sure, Dad.” “Can I borrow your engine while you’re gone so I can make the hill climb?” The silence was deafening. “Let me ask Blair” A few minutes later she called back and said, OK…BUT, they wanted to drive Junior from the church to the reception and then bring it to my house.
Saturday evening around 7 they pulled in the garage and we put Junior up on jackstands. Sunday, 7A we started removing the 1.6 from it’s nesting place. Mind you, I’m working a full time job and won’t have any help after Sunday. Thursday at 8P I drop Red off the jackstands, run it up and down the road (the neighbors just looove me), put it on the trailer and Friday morning we headed to Eagles Nest and made the event and, the Around the World for the 3rd year in a row.
Thanks Mark for being a Southern Driver! We appreciate your love of motorsports, your efforts to help others in the sport and church services you have conducted at many of our Sunday motorsports events. Continued success to you and Ray in Time Trials, Hillclimbs and road racing. They say behind every successful man is a great woman… pushing, shoving and kicking. Tell Sue she is doing a GREAT job as crew chief!