10 Questions With….Matthew and Zachary Oelhafen

Memorial Go-Kart Drivers
Join us tomorrow for the annual Memorial Go-Kart Tribute Night! Kart features, Balloons to Heaven at 5:50, and Silent Auction items!!

Tell us a little about yourself.
Matt: I’m 14, I go to Kewaskum High School (I will be a freshman). After high school, I plan on going into sports business. My favorite food is burgers from our farm (Nordic Beef Farms) and I like the Marvel series movies because of how futuristic they are. I’m also a 3-sport athlete: football, basketball, and track.

Zach: I am 12 years old, and I’m going into 7th grade at Kewaskum Middle School. I plan on becoming an engineer in some way because I just like to tinker with stuff in my own shop here. My favorite food is tacos.

Tell us about the Memorial Go-Kart program.
Zach: MGK (Memorial Go-Kart) is a non-profit organization remembering those families who have lost loved ones at a young age and remembering one of those kid’s dreams. That kid was Parker Klumb, who tragically passed away after a drunk driver hit him on his bike. Parker had always had a dream of racing go-karts with his friends and shortly after the incident, MGK was born. Soon karts were being made by drivers and mentors and now the tradition has been kept alive for 13 years.

Matt: It was all started by the death of Parker Klumb, who was hit by a drunk driver while riding his bike. This year marks the 13th annual tribute event that will be on Sunday August 23rd. This will be my seventh one. My Aunt, Brenda Oelhafen passed away due to a car accident at age 15. She was also a race fan and is included in the memorial.

Why did you choose to start racing go-karts?
Matt: Randy Gindt approached my dad, Brad Oelhafen, about me racing when I was seven. My dad has been the mentor of the #27 and #17 karts for 5ish years now, I race the #27. My cousins, Kayla and Cody Oelhafen, had also raced with MGK in the past and we had gone and watched; I always thought it looked like fun so we signed up!

Zach: Racing has been a hobby many of my relatives and family friends have enjoyed! One of these family friends, Randy Gindt, was one of the first mentors and helped build two karts which are still in our fleet today. Randy got out of it a couple years back, so he handed down all of his stuff to my dad, who kept our team going. We really couldn’t do what we do if it weren’t for the both of them.

You are third generation racers, tell us about the ones who came before you.
Zach: My Uncle, Brian Oelhafen, and a couple of classmates (including Randy) built their first car at their high school and at my farm. My grandpa, Jim Oelhafen, helped ensure the safety of the drivers by making the roll cages weigh more than the entire car. Soon my Grandpa was building a car that he raced and a couple of years later, my dad followed suit.

Matt: Well my dad raced a bunch of Enduros at Slinger before I was born. My grandpa also raced some Enduros and some Slinger Stingers. My Uncle Brian raced a bunch of Slinger Stingers and is actually a track champion.

What do you like about Slinger Super Speedway?
Matt: I like the history my family has there. There were some years when as many as six cars came from our farm to Slinger for the Enduro. There are many Enduros we have on tape. I also like that they allow us to run our go-karts there a few times a year.

Zach: Slinger Speedway has a lot of history behind it and you don’t have to look far to find someone you know. On top of that, some seriously good chicken tender baskets! I would give them a 10/10!

Who do you need to thank?
Zach: My dad for convincing my mom to let us do this, my mom for recording us and strapping us in, Randy for telling my family about this, Dale Anderson Masonry for sponsoring #27 kart, and Wiedmeyer Express for sponsoring #17 kart. Last but not least, the volunteers of MGK and Slinger Super Speedway for letting us race.

Matt: First, I would like to thank my dad. He has given me almost all my knowledge of racing. I would also like to thank my mom, Heather Oelhafen, for recording my races for years so I am able to rewatch them and fix my errors. Lastly I would like to thank all my teammates from over the years, the older guys on my team who I watched for years and learned a lot from. Now that I am the oldest on my team, hopefully I can give the same tips. I would also like to thank my sponsor, Dale Anderson Masonry and the sponsor of our other kart, Wiedmeyer Express – we really couldn’t do it without them.

If you could bring one fictional character to life, who would you choose and why?
Matt: I would have to say Hulk. I don’t think anyone could tackle him in football or stop him in basketball, so I’d be guaranteed four state championships for both throughout high school.
Zach: Not sure… Maybe Iron Man to power the world with arc reactors and all types of gadgets.

How did you get your kart number?
Zach: The #27 was on the kart when we got it. I believe that number showed up on one of Parker’s sports uniforms. We also have a #63 kart which was from our ages when we got that kart as I was seven and Matthew was nine. So we multiplied them together to get 63. When our dad ran Enduros he was #62, so us being the next generation made #63 a good fit.

Matt: Well my story isn’t very good as basically the #27 was the only kart that had room for me.

Do you see yourself moving into other divisions at Slinger after go-karts?
Matthew: Possibly like a Slinger Bee or Sportsman. I don’t think I can see myself driving a Super Late Model or anything up to that level. I wouldn’t mind trying another division at Slinger, though.

I’d have to say the same, like a Slinger Sixer or a Bee.

Which Slinger driver (past or present) do you respect the most?
Matt: Outside of my family I would have to say Dennis Prunty or Brad “JJ” Mueller. Both of them are friends of our family and both are great drivers.

Zach: Brad “JJ” Mueller because he’s an genuinely nice guy and never fails to make me laugh!