WHAT WAS YOUR 1st RACE CAR?
HOW DID YOU GET HOOKED on RACING?
I didn’t come from a racing family. My first taste of speed came when my dad took a group of Chicago kids to the Indy 500 Time Trials in 1971. I was mesmerized and spent years reading racing books from the library. The passion really took hold when we moved to Wisconsin in 1976. I was 12 years old and started riding my bike to Hales Corners Speedway every Saturday night to watch the likes of Alan Kulwicki, Tom Bigelow and Stan Fox. I had two buddies that would go to the races with me and we called ourselves the “Dirt Dog Club”.
That summer, I bought this old kart (without my parents’ knowledge or permission). I mowed lawns, babysat and worked two paper routes for to save up the money to pay for it. This thing terrified my parents and, with nearly 10hp, it scared the hell out of me the first time I drove it around the neighborhood. I was instantly addicted.
There was no dirt racing for karts back then, so my first laps were at Badger Raceway in Dousman, WI. We would load the kart into the trunk of our '72 Nova whenever I could talk my dad into driving us the hour to the track on Sunday mornings. We couldn’t afford new tires, so I ran the original, 1969 Goodyear Blue Streaks which took 5+ laps to warm up and get any grip, but they did last for another two years. (LOL) I spun out a lot and never won a race there, but I had fun and learned.
It took a year until I could convince my mom to come watch me race. On the day she finally accompanied us to the track, I tried too hard to impress her. I would up crashing and flipping for the first time, knocking myself out and breaking my wrist. I healed and Mom survived the trauma, but it took another 10 years before I would get her back to the track.
This is how it started for me. How did it start for you?
Founder: Team Dirt Dog