Conversations episodes feature longer form chats with the people who make the sport of dirt racing what it is. Email the show at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kevin Thomas Jr.
After a season that wasn't up to his standards, open wheel racer and USAC competitor Kevin Thomas Jr. is ready to put it behind him and get after it in 2021. He's got a busy season of racing planned, including the completed Tulsa Shootout, and the Chili Bowl this week. He joins the show this time to talk about his solid runs at the Tulsa Shootout, his expectations for the impending Chili Bowl Nationals, what changes are coming for this season with his USAC team, and much more.
On this bonus episode of the show we jump in with FloRacing and Dirt on Dirt's Dustin Jarrett to preview this weekend's Wild West Shootout out in Arizona, and take a look at what to expect this season with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and World of Outlaws Late Model Series. We talk about Brandon Sheppard, Tim McCreadie, Jonathan Davenport, Jimmy Owens, Brandon Overton, and many more drivers. We also talk FloRacing content and what to expect from their late model night in America series coming this year.
The Krikke family's history in sprint car racing in Australia started in the late 70s and early 80s after Peter Krikke bought a car from sprint car hall of famer Bob Trostle. Many years later, Peter's son Ryan runs the team, and he's my guest this time on the show. We dive into what the team has gone through during this pandemic affected season, the history of the team, which includes some familiar names, Ryan's time as a crew member on the road with the World of Outlaws, and much more.
The Byrd family has a rich history in motorsports and around the city of Indianapolis. They took names like Rich Vogler and Stan Fox from the dirt tracks to the Indianapolis 500. Over the years, a who's who of racing has driven a car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway or dirt tracks around the country with the Byrd name on their car. This time on the show, I'm joined by Jonathan Byrd, who along with father Jonathan and brother David have been neck deep in motorsports for decades. Currently Jonathan is working to open Circle City Raceway in Indy with plans for a diverse schedule of dirt racing in 2021. We talk about the origins of the track, what to expect in 2021, and his family's incredible motorsports past.
If you were a Speed Shift TV subscriber or are locked into streaming coverage on FloRacing, you've no doubt seen Haley Shanley's work. She was famous for her help videos at Speed Shift and has done all sorts of on-camera work, including pit reporting for this year's Governors Reign at Eldora. Outside of dirt racing, she does work for motorcross, snocross, and off road racing as well. She joins the show this time to talk about her introduction to dirt racing, the early days of Speed Shift, getting on-camera opportunities, and a lot more.
As fans of dirt racing, it's easy to get caught up in the professional racers and the big names we all know. But the majority of dirt racers have normal jobs and race in their free time. One of those racers is Ryan Missler. Missler is a super late model competitor in Ohio, and has had plenty of success, winning races and the Attica track championship five times. In recent years because of his day job and family life, Missler is picking and choosing his schedule, and racing when it works for him. But along the way, he's decided to start documenting his racing journey with YouTube videos. He posted his first video in 2017, and has since added 148 more. Everything from onboard videos at the track, to him fixing damage in his garage, to a recent shop tour at Rocket Chassis. He's amassed nearly 7,000 subscribers and is closing in on three quarters of a million video views. He joins me this week to talk about his racing career, starting the YouTube channel, how it's affected his team, and much more.
He is a regular on the Central Pennsylvania sprint car scene, and drives for one of the area's iconic teams in Zemco Racing. In 2020, Wagner took down his third Port Royal Speedway track championship, and he did it in a unique way, needing to beat his dad to do it. On this episode, Wagner talks about getting to race against his dad, getting a later start in his racing career, driving for the Zemaitis family, his week day job as a private jet pilot, and more.
Life has a way of throwing you curveballs, and nobody knows that better than Brad Loyet. Right in the smack of his racing career, split between sprint cars and midgets, a freak accident in his shop severely injured his right hand and wrist and effectively ended his time behind the wheel. Since then, Loyet has been working on what's next. He joins the show this week to talk about his career, the accident and the aftermath, what he's doing these days, and more.
It's obviously been a wild year for motorsports, and few places have been as affected as the northeast. With race cancellations, postponements, and just general uncertainty, the racing community there has had to be very flexible. One of the drivers who's made the most of a bad situation is Mat Williamson. Mat was the 2019 Super DIRTcar Series champion and is one of the names you have to contend with on a nightly basis when running northeast modifieds. This season, amongst several other wins, Mat won $53,000 with the Short Track Super Series at Port Royal, then went a week later to Orange County Fair and took down another $20,000 at the Eastern States 100. He joins me to talk about getting back and forth across the border during the pandemic, what pushed him over the edge for a championship last year, and much more.
Jordan is from a dirt racing family in Arkansas, and together with husband Kevin Swindell, the two have built several businesses, including their Swindell SpeedLab brand, which sells apparel and driver gear, and their sprint car team which has featured drivers like Christopher Bell, Spencer Bayston, and Sammy Swindell. On a day-to-day basis, Jordan is busy with running the businesses, creating new merchandise ideas, and working with her team's partners. She joins the show to chat about the challenges of running a business in 2020, why she can't watch her sprint car when it's on track, how her and Kevin work together, and much more.
The combination of Josh Baughman and Aaron Reutzel has been an incredibly potent one over the last three seasons. With Reutzel driving and Baughman as the owner, the team has won three straight All Star Circuit of Champions titles, and a ton of races between the All Stars, Outlaws, and more. For 2021, the two are splitting as friends. Baughman joins me this time to talk about what's next for the team, his run with Reutzel, balancing racing and running a business, and a lot more.
The driver-crew chief relationship is vital to any successful race team, and Kyle Strickler knew he needed someone with experience when he made his foray into late model racing in 2020. And he'll need that experience even more when Strickler goes full time with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series in 2021. The experience he's relying on is that of Vinny Guliani. Guliani is a veteran in the late model ranks, with an engineering background, and plenty of success on his resume. He joins the show to talk about his pairing with Strickler, going full time with a series, the differences in late model chassis, and a whole lot more.
He's had success in multiple parts of the country, driving both non wing and winged sprint cars. He grew up in California, before heading east to Indiana to race against the best in the business. When he's not racing, Chad works as a rep for Capitol Renegade, helping racers find trucks and trailers to get their equipment to the race track. On this episode, we talk about his rise to the top series in sprint cars, trying to sell to racers in a difficult climate, handling the situation when your ride goes south, and so much more.
There are people all across the country working in various capacities that are vital to the health of dirt racing. They aren't household names, and you won't hear about them in the media much, but without them, racers don't have a place or series to race with. One of those people is Doug Lockwood. He grew up in California and spent time as the race director for the World of Outlaws. Currently he's the general manager at Merced Speedway, has taken on a co-ownership role with the USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series, and will manage and oversee other USAC activities on the west coast. He joins the show this week to talk about his new roles, running a track and series during a pandemic, working with the Outlaws, and much more.
It takes a ton of courage to step out of your comfort zone and chase your dreams, and it takes an immense amount of courage to strap into a 410 powered sprint car. Tori Knutson knew at a young age that she wanted to race sprint cars against the best and she's slowly worked her way up the ranks. 2020 has been difficult for many, but she stepped out of that comfort zone and joined 410 competition full time this season. She took on weekly competition at Knoxville Raceway and has made starts with the World of Outlaws, All Stars, and IRA. She joins this week to talk about her journey, dealing with the haters, realizing her dreams, and more.
He's a sprint car driver from the capital of sprint car racing, Knoxville, Iowa. He's a regular in weekly competition at Knoxville Raceway with his 5J 360 sprint car, and had a win and finished second in the standings in 2020. He's also no stranger to traveling competition with the ASCS and Sprint Invaders. Jamie joins this week to chat about his career, getting started at English Creek, selling real estate, and much more.
If you've been to or tuned into the Chili Bowl, the Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour, or any number of other events, you've probably heard Bryan Hulbert on the microphone. He's got a recognizable voice and might be one of the hardest working people in dirt racing. Besides being an announcer, he also does press for the various series he works for, and a number of drivers. He joins this week to talk about his journey from New Mexico short tracks to today, his style as on the microphone, and much more.
Josh Holt, MyRacePass
If you are a dirt racing fan, competitor, or track or series official, you have no doubt heard of MyRacePass. The name MyRacePass is tied to driver, track, and series websites, a mobile app, race management software, and a lot more. The company provides technology solutions for a wide array of clients across the dirt racing landscape, and I wanted to find out more behind their rise. MyRacePass Co-Founder and Director of Sales and Marketing, and former racer, Josh Holt is my guest on this episode. He tells the full story of the company's formation and a lot more.
Part of the Northeast dirt racing scene for decades, Shane Andrews has been announcing for the Super DIRTcar Series and at many of the iconic tracks in the area. You've also seen him as part of the broadcast team for TV coverage featuring not only the Super DIRTcar Series, but also the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars, Late Models, and more. He joins the show this week to talk about his announcing journey, the northeast dirt racing culture, the current state of racing, and a lot more.
She's been a fixture with USAC for the last few seasons, working social media, appearing in series videos, and pit reporting for the various USAC divisions on the track PA and for Speed Shift TV and FloRacing. She's also worked events like the Gateway Dirt Nationals, Chili Bowl, the Brickyard 400, and the Indianapolis 500. She joins the show this week to talk about her journey to reporting, how to get opportunities in the sport, how to interview an angry driver, and a lot more.
On this episode, we move over to the modified ranks and talk to Mike McKinney, who's had a ton of success, including Modified Nationals wins, plus plenty of big local and regional wins, and he's regularly near the top of the UMP Modified National points standings. He also made a name for himself earlier in 2020, winning several of the World of Outlaws iRacing events across CBS Sports Network, Fox Sports 1, and DIRTVision. Mike is also venturing this season into some super late model racing and has already made a few starts.
In episode 1 of DIRTRACKR Conversations, get to know Ayrton Gennetten, who has graduated from the micro sprint ranks and has quickly shown strong pace this season in 410 and 360 sprint car competition. You can see him with the World of Outlaws, Sprint Invaders, at Knoxville, and with ASCS Regional Racing.