How did you get into racing?
I’ve known Ryan since high school, we were friends. I was into cars and knew he raced at Slinger, so I went with him a couple times and thought, “This is pretty cool”. From there I started helping in the shop slowly(when I started, I pretty much only knew “righty tighty, lefty loosey”), but once I started I got hooked and just wanted to learn more and more.
What do you like about Slinger Super Speedway?
How tight the racing is! There’s always action going on around track. Plus all the people there are awesome. Once you’ve been going there awhile, it seems like family. It’s just nice to go every Sunday and see the racing.
Is there anyone you need to thank?
When I got started helping Ryan and Joe, Dave Reed, Jr. and Sr. both helped me get the basics and foundation of what it takes to be a crew chief and crew member. I learned from them things like note-taking, that the race is won in the shop, and the importance of getting things prepared.
Ryan and Joe [DeStefano] for giving me the opportunity to work on their car and trusting that I know what I’m doing (hopefully).
Tommy Pecaro – We run his chassis and he’s the main guy that I always try to bounce ideas off of. I’ve learned a ton of stuff from him and still do; it’s good to have that kind of guy as your friend. If I could know half as much as him about racecars, we will really start winning some races.
My wife, Michele – she likes racing but could take it or leave it. She doesn’t enjoy all the time I spend working on the car, but she knows what it means to me and how important it is to me. So she supports me 100%; without her I wouldn’t be able to do it.
What is your real job?
I work for the Town of Lisbon Highway Department, picking up dead raccoons and plowing the roads.
What is your favorite racing memory at Slinger?
Our first win in late models. When you constantly work on the car and try so hard and finally get your first win…it’s pretty cool!
[Follow-up question: Will 2019 be the year Ryan gets that elusive first win in the super lates?] Hopefully, if I can get the car more to his liking.
What are your duties on the Joe Cool Racing team?
As Crew Chief, I have my hand in every aspect of the car. I primarily deal with body, interior, suspension, steering and electrical. Joe takes care of the engine, transmission, tires and sponsors. Ryan drives, does the vinyl and takes care of sponsors. In the end, we are a team and everyone helps where and when it’s needed.
What kind of hours does a “crew guy” put in?
Too many to even count. During racing season, if you didn’t get in a wreck, it’s at least two nights a week. If setup changes need to be made, that can be another 12 hours on the weekend. A minimum of 20 hours per week, so it’s another job for sure. If you did get in a wreck, it can be every night after work (6 hours) and on the weekend it’s easily been 15 hour days. You do it because you love it!
If you could have dinner with any three people (alive or dead, real or fictional), who would they be and why?
Nikola Tesla – I’m trying to constantly learn. With our car being a Pecaro chassis, we are the only ones besides Tommy who run it. So we don’t have the advantage of having 50 other cars out there running the same chassis to compare notes with. It’s a harder way, but you learn a lot more and I think that is what sets our team apart. Tesla was always about innovation and pushing the limits of science. That’s what we try to constantly do.
Snoop Dogg – Just because it’s Snoop Dogg
Bootie Barker – he’s my favorite crew chief
What is your favorite food?
My favorite place is Mazatlan in Delafield. The Tacos Vaqueros are the best, always on corn tortillas, and their chips, salsa and guacamole are phenomenal.
Which Slinger driver (past or present) do you respect the most?
Brad “JJ’ Mueller because he’s just a good guy – the kind of guy even if he’s had a bad night he’ll still talk to you. He’s joking around all the time, and willing to answer any questions I have. Plus he’s always raced us clean. Not to mention he can still wheel a car.