Father and Son Drivers of the #14 Slinger Bees
Check out both tomorrow at our LAST event of the year…The Futures!
How did you get into racing?
Al: We only lived like three miles from Slinger Speedway when we moved out here from Milwaukee. My dad took me when I was 4 or 5 years old, and we watched Bill Johnson, Fuzzy Fassbender, and Dick Trickle. I grew up with the Fassbenders, working in the garage – that’s how I got into it. I bought a race-ready car from Mikey Wagner (Nick Wagner’s uncle) for $420 in ‘85 when I was a senior in high school. It had a dome light, and a radio set to WTKM.
Mitchell: We raced go-karts as a kid with my family – Nate, Brad, and Lexi. After Nate passed away, my dad kind of got out of racing. We got back into it, him and I, and it just sprung from there. We liked it, it was kind of a thing we did for him [Nate]. We just continued with that and here we are.
Who is your favorite NASCAR (or other pro) driver?
A: Kyle Busch. He doesn’t really take a lot of grief. He’s a competitive driver…I’m not going to say he’s dirty, but he’s relentless – he will get in there with the mix.
M: I would have to say Matt Kenseth because he started out at Slinger and short tracks, and is one of the best drivers around – especially from Wisconsin. I grew up watching him.
What do you like about Slinger Super Speedway?
A: I grew up with a lot of the competitors and it’s very close to home. It’s been my home track since I was like 4 or 5 years old.
M: The high banks and the speed. It’s just really cool! The people in the pits are like family, so it’s like a second home. It’s somewhere I really enjoy going to every weekend.
There were other racers in your family. Tell us about them.
A: Well, I was going to get out of racing…was weaning off of it and doing only mods. Then Nate [Al’s son] wanted to get into it. He was best friends with Johnny DeAngelis and they were in school talking about getting into the Bees. Johnny D got into it and Nate did too. Then we lost Nate in ‘09 to a car accident. My brother Freddy too – him and I used to race Street Stocks in Columbus and Slinger. I also lost him, in 2002. Lexi [Al’s daughter] raced for a short period right after Nate’s passing. She wanted to get in there and run to make him proud. Then she got married, then pregnant so those days were kind of over. She wanted to get into it again, but now she’s having number baby #2 in December. Then Mitchell was interested in racing, wanted to make Nate proud and wanted to get into it, so that’s where we are at now.
Who do you need to thank?
A: Crew – The Greers help us out. Mitchell goes out with Zach’s sister, so the Greers and us hang around and work on the cars. Tommie Elsinger and Brian Stanczyk help too. We got the Neu’s [Tracy and Ron] into it, so they help us out. Then the Rudser’s [JD and Kevin] are right next to us, so if we need anything, Kevin is really good about it.
A/M: Sponsors – Strobel’s Tree Service (Iron Ridge), ProAuto (Hartford), Dave’s Lanes (Hartford), MWR Technology (Joliet, IL), and Keith’s Marina (West Bend) came on board this year.
A: Anyone else – I want to thank Mitchell, everybody that helps us out in the pits, my mom (Karen), my immediate family, and all our friends and sponsors.
M: Anyone else – Evan Hassler, and my girlfriend-Megan Greer
What is your real job?
A: I’m an arborist for Strobel’s Tree Service and Stump Removal. Pretty soon I’ll be a greeter at Wal-Mart, if they still have that position. I’m not 25 anymore, that’s for sure.
M: I work for my dad; I guess I’m part of the ground crew for his tree service and I operate the skid loader when we are loading wood.
What is your favorite memory at Slinger?
A: Running side-by-side with my kid brother, Freddy, and inching him out at the line for a win, back in probably 2000 (or somewhere around there) in the Slinger Stingers.
M: Last year, winning the fast heat in my first season at Slinger.
How did you get your car number (#14)?
My nickname is “Al Schwannabe”. I was always a big, big fan of Al Schill for his actions on and off the track. So I decided to build our car every year to match Albert (oh, and we are both named Albert). The paint jobs were the same. I was #14 in the Stingers, and there was a #92 that kind of copied Conrad Morgan, so it was a Super Late competition between Schill and Morgan, and then in the Stingers they had a couple of cars that resembled those Super Lates.
M: Actually my number was originally 17 because that was Nate’s number in go-karts. That’s just been my favorite number; I had it for soccer and so did Nate. I switched to #14 in honor of my dad for how much he has done for me and is still doing for me. I’m kind of repaying him.
What is your favorite food?
M: Boneless wings at Buffalo Wild Wings with sweet barbecue
What was your first street car?
A: A summer brown 1970 Impala 4-door. I paid $125 for it and it lasted about a week. The cross member rusted out and the frame broke in half.
Which CURRENT Slinger driver do you respect the most?
A: Brad Keith because he just keeps coming and coming, using more technology and keeps trying different things. He gets faster and faster, week by week and he doesn’t give up.
M: Steve Apel because he’s an all-around good guy to know. He’ll help anyone out and he’s a very clean driver, but still knows how to race hard.