10 Questions With….Zach Braun

(who recently turned 21!) Driver of the #30 Late Model Memorial Go-Kart Alumni & Volunteer

How did you get into racing?
I was in Cub Scouts and Mike Egan [super late model #89] did a presentation on Memorial Go-Karts. I was really into racing at the time; we went to the track every single weekend and I could hear the cars from my house. Afterward, my dad talked to Mike, who is also a family friend. It turned out Mike needed a kid on his team, and I was in the age group he needed, so we started racing. I raced karts from age 10 until 15. My last year I raced Bees and karts at the same time. Then Bees for four years (2012-2015) while also helping out with karts because I wanted to give back in any way I could. In 2016 I started in late models.

Who is your favorite NASCAR (or other pro) driver?
I would have to say Joey Logano. I like the way he races people, and the way he handles himself off the track – how he handles all the hate and all the people that don’t like him. He just goes out and shows his pure talent. He’s aggressive and gets after it!

What do you like about Slinger Super Speedway?
The high speed in the turns for sure. Plus the close racing; our doors are a couple inches away from each other, but everybody runs hard and clean. Oh, and I like that it’s close to my house – I’m only five minutes from the track

Talk about your experiences running in the Memorial Go-Karts (MGK).
As A Driver: I loved racing the go-karts; it’s the most fun I’ve had racing! It’s where I started…where I learned everything. Being a first generation racer, I learned…how to work on the go-karts, how to work with my hands, how to fix things, and how to race smart without crashing (especially since it wasn’t my kart – I didn’t own anything on it). I also learned how to make friends and have respect. Mike Egan was really helpful with all of that.

As A Volunteer: Over the last couple of years I’ve done everything. I drove the pace kart, did a lot with lineups, making sure kids were in the right races, and doing inverts. This year I’ll be in the scoring tower doing the transponders and the lap times, and printing off results. If anyone wants to get involved in Memorial Go-Karts, they can go to the website http://memorialgo-kart.org, and click “Get Involved” or contact Kathy Fies, her contact info is at the top of the website.

As An MGK Scholarship Recipient – I’m so thankful for that $1,000! It helped me start off college right.

Who do you need to thank?
Crew: Zach Greer, Garrett Konrath, my dad-Jeff, and Jacob Schraufnagel

Sponsors: Savaglia Financial Advisors, Shumway Family Dental, DACO Precision Tool, Bonafide Security Solutions, and Richfield Service

Anyone else: My mom-Tammy, Mike Egan (for getting me into racing), Nick Egan, Ed Holmes (he’s our chassis guy, and helps out with setups and any work we can’t get done in our own garage), Braison Bennett (for helping get me started in the late models), and John & Ricky Heinan (for letting me keep my late model in their garage when I didn’t have any room, and for helping me put the car together and getting me started in late models)

What is your real job?
I have two jobs currently: (1) Part-time for my neighbor, working on cars and doing petroleum tank work. (2) Part-time at Legendary Whitetails as a forklift driver. I’m also a full-time college student at UWWC, and will be transferring to Platteville in the fall for a degree in mechanical engineering.

What is your favorite racing memory at Slinger?
Winning the Memorial Go-Kart Tribute Race [the “main event” for the karts, in August]! Before the race Mr. Egan told me that if I won the race, he would sponsor me in the Slinger Bees.

How did you get your car number (#30)?
The first Slinger Bee we picked up had number 30 on it, so I went with it. I wanted #3, but someone else already had it. So I just left the stickers on and went with it.

If you could have dinner with any three people (alive or dead, real or fictional), who would they be?
(1)Alan Kulwicki – to talk about engineering and racing; how he was a successful short-track racer
(2)My great-grandpa, Marvin Braun – He was a national boat racing champion and an engine builder for boats. I never got the chance to meet him, so I would love to sit down and talk about his racing and about family with him. My grandpa always says he would really be interested in the racing that I do, and probably would love to help me out.
(3)Joe Hignite – He’s my friend who passed away in 2017. It would be nice to catch up with him and talk to him about things.

What job would you be terrible at?
[Zach’s dad offered his opinion…] “All of them. He’d be a terrible pace car driver” [Back to Zach…] I’d probably drive too fast and smash into things. I’d try to run away from other cars. I’d be a terrible Uber driver – just ask any of my friends! My friends would also say I’d be a terrible singer/rapper. I think I’m pretty good though! (laughs). They’d also say DJ – my friends hate my music.

Which Slinger driver (past or present) do you respect the most?
Lowell Bennett. I’ve always liked him; he’s a clean racer and a down-to-earth guy. Every time I go to Braison’s, Lowell knows me by name and talks to me like we’ve met 1000 times. He was one of my favorites growing up too; I liked the way his car looked, he’d sign things after races without complaining, and he even gave me a t-shirt for free one time and signed it. They are a really nice family too.