Spencer Morse is a bit of a racing hermit. But since he won in his second Pro All Stars Series Mods race after climbing into the cockpit of a modified car midway through last year, he has found a home near the front.
The third-generation racer and second-generation modified driver from Waterford hasn’t finished outside the top five since a did-not-finish in his debut a year ago, and he sat at the top of the PASS Mods standings heading into a weekend race at his home track of Oxford Plains Speedway.
“I’ve always tried to keep challenging myself and climbing the ladder. I have never raced the same division for more than two full seasons. Always looking for the next challenge,” Morse said. “After I ran out of money racing with (Joey Polewarczyk Jr. and Scott Payeas) on the ACT Tour, I decided to try something more affordable.”
That ended up being a modified race car, which looks nothing like car are seen driving on any town’s Main Street. But it’s a body and chassis style that is familiar to Morse.
“They’re a ton of fun to drive and my dad and uncle both raced them, so I grew up having a love for the PASS Mod tour,” Morse said.
“The Mod class is actually cheaper to run than an OPS Street Stock and the payout is three times better,” Morse added. “Add that in with a bunch of great drivers and positive attitudes and the PASS Mod division is definitely the place I want to be.”
After winning in his second race, following the DNF debut, Morse finished out the 2018 season with finishes of fourth, second and fifth.
It’s been much of the same this year, his worst finish of the season so far a fourth-place showing that, he said, “came at Speedway 95 with a dead battery and an overheating issue.”
His season started with a runner-up finish, and the next race saw the first of a trio of third-place showings. He won in his third race of the season, at Oxford Plains.
“Honestly, every time I hit the track I expect to win. In my opinion I have the best car and the best crew, and most weeks we are one of the fastest,” Morse said. “I’ve spun out three times this year and recovered by finishing in the top three all three times.
“If I’m surprised by anything, it’s the amount of obstacles the team has been able to overcome on our bad days and being able to turn them into positive ones.”
Getting into a modified car was an example of Morse turning a negative into a positive. He wanted to try his hand on the American-Canadian Tour racing Late Model cars last year, but said he had a “car that wasn’t complete and no money (so) no car to race.”
“I was in the process of rebuilding an old motor so I could put it in my ACT car, and the opportunity arose to trade that motor and a few thousand dollars for a brand-new Davis Chassis Works mod (that was) race ready,” Morse said.
“Once we started to put it together, we realized it was a long way from being ready,” he added.
But four months later the car was ready, and soon after Morse was ready to make a name for himself on the PASS Mods tour.
It’s just been another addition to a racing resume that Morse started at 9 years old when he first strapped into go-karts. He won his first race and has been chasing checkered flags ever since.
Morse has gotten behind the wheel of Beetle Bugs/Running Rebels, Cruisers, Outlaws, Street Stocks, Oxford Plains Super Late Models, PASS Sportsman and ACT Late Models, winning in all but the last two.
But it’s been more than just Morse’s talent that has gotten him to where he is. His list of racing heroes is headed by his father Richard (“as smooth as could be”) and uncle Troy (“up on the wheel aggressive”), but also includes Ben Rowe and Jeremy Davis.
Davis’ work off the track has been even more important to Morse, and it’s more than just providing a modified car.
“Jeremy Davis, owner of Davis Chassis Works, is literally the smartest guy I’ve ever met. He gave us a great car right out of the box and is always available for advice or to get us back on track,” Morse said.
Longtime crew member Ryan Lebroke and Morse have “spent countless nights in the shop,” and Morse credits his friend with winning him a lot of races.
For Morse, hopefully there will be more wins, and maybe a big win off the track could help his racing career in the future.
“I would love to be in a Super Late Model again someday, but I don’t want to do it until I can do it right. Doing it right takes a lot of money,” he said. “Hopefully I can find some big partners in the future or win the megabucks and then I’ll have a brand new Davis Chassis Works car to try and accomplish my goal of racing in the Oxford 250.”