10 Questions with…Mike Held

Driver of the #72 Coachwork Auto Body Super Late Model

How did you get into racing?
My dad worked for EH Wolf and Sons. They sponsored Joel Laufer and, as always, the Memorial Day race. They would use that race as an Employee Appreciation Day. I was 10 years old at the time and we went to the races – I loved it right away! We became Slinger regulars every Sunday, cheering and booing our favorite drivers and their rivals. At 13, we started go-kart racing and have worked our way up slowly ever since.

Why do you choose to race at Slinger Super Speedway?
Slinger is the best! It’s my “hometown” – it’s where I’ve lived most of my life. We have raced almost everywhere else at some time or another and nothing feels like Slinger. It’s also close for my family to support our efforts as much as they can.

Who do you need to thank?
Who do I not thank would be a shorter list…obviously my parents; they gave me everything they could as a young racer. We are first generation, blue-collar family racers. We learned the hard way and still are. My parents are always there to support my sister and I. Most recently my beautiful wife Kristy, AKA “Miss Slinger Speedway 2018”. Kristy and her dad are always so positive and influential. My crew: My dad (Jerry), my brother-in-law Ryan, and my friend Gus. I’ve been racing for a long time with average at best success. There have been a few people that have been there a long time: George and Cheri Forge (from MotorMasters) have been great people to me all of these years and I have a great relationship with Pathfinder too. I appreciate most of my competitors as they are the ones that help drive me to be better.

What is your real job?
I’m the owner and production manager of Coachwork Auto Body in Allenton

What do you do to make it affordable to race?
I just don’t spend all the money LOL. I have what I have. I don’t take any money from my business to race anymore, so I just try to lead a simple life and keep everything in perspective. I would like to thank the one sponsor I have: Rahn Sewell from the THE FINISH LINE BAR & GRILL in Slinger. Gus got me that sponsor last year and it has carried over to this year. Rahn is very supportive of our efforts with many words of wisdom and encouragement. I have had some sponsors in the past that I would like to thank: MLK Carpentry-West Bend, Continental Motors-Hartford, and Custom Grown Greenhouses in Milwaukee.

What is your favorite racing memory at Slinger?
My favorite racing memory…not sure if I have a favorite. If I had to say one, it would be all those years with my parents and sister, along with many family members, in the stands watching Joel Laufer and Robbie Reiser race…and Al Schill dominate from the back in that modified. That was exciting!

How did you get your car number (#72)?
I kind of came up with that number in a lot of ways, but mainly because I played a lot of sports growing up and those two numbers seemed to be what I had most of the time. It’s also a combination of my favorite racers.

Many have commented on your improved finishes this year (“he’s FAST!”) – what did you change?
What did I change from last year to this…NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS! Seriously, thanks for noticing! Mainly I entered supers at a transition phase in my business career and took for granted too much of the effort it took to be competitive in a super. We went through and educated ourselves on what we thought we were lacking and it’s paying off thus far. We have a decent amount of work to do yet, but it feels good to be somewhat relevant consistently again.

What else do you want people to know about you?
Ha! That’s kind of hard to say. I’m pretty quiet mostly unless I get a microphone in my hand. Basically, I’m one of the most competitive people you can meet. I’m stubborn and very driven. I want to find success in everything I do. I want to be a hard racer, and that seems to be looked at differently in today’s standards compared to what it used to mean.

Which Slinger driver (past or present) do you respect the most?
Well, I guess I will choose the racers I have seen and raced against. I think Dennis Prunty – he has been the same racer since I met him in like 1995ish. He has always taken time for me if needed, and it is always appreciated. Conrad Morgan – What a career he has had! Having Conrad is a cornerstone for racing and Slinger. Jerry Eckhardt – He has done it his way and is still going strong! Brad Mueller – He’s been pretty good to a lot of us racers and is a great competitor as well. It’s hard to pick just one.