By Carin Sundin
OHSWEKEN, Ont. (July 27, 2018) – Ohsweken Speedway is pleased to have Wall of Fame driver Mike “Pinball” Giberson join “In The Driver’s Seat” this week. Giberson is the driver of the HRW Automotive Mini Stock No.11.
Each week “In the Driver’s Seat” showcases a driver from the Middleport Mechanical Thunder Stock or HRW Automotive Mini Stock division and provide some insight into the driver in the fire suit and behind the wheel.
“Pinball “would like to send special thanks and appreciation to his pit crew Christine Giberson-McKay, Mike McKay, Eric Anderson, Bruce Thompson, without their dedication and help, Friday night racing at Ohsweken Speedway would not be the same. Giberson’s No. 11 Mini Stock is a proudly self-sponsored team.
How old were you when you started racing? What division/class? How long have you been in the Mini Stock division?
MG “Some may be surprised to learn that my first race experience was road racing in an Austin Mini back in 1977, when I was 19 (wow I’m old!) I did that until 1980. I started Mini Stocks in 1994 at Cayuga Speedway and then Ohsweken Speedway, and there is no end in sight yet!”
How did you get involved in racing?
MG “I first started watching the races at Speedway Park in the late 1960’s. The ride in the Austin Mini came about after my boss said to me, “Do you fancy driving a race car?” Then came the iconic Chevette, which came about after reading an ad in the local paper that stated Cayuga Speedway was looking for race drivers. That’s how the “Pinball” Giberson Chevette was born and we only decommissioned her four seasons ago.”
What was your scariest situation in a race car?
MG ”A few come to mind. One was a somewhat fluky crash. I had a bumper insert enter into the car in the left front (drivers) fender well area. It skinned my shins lightly and dented the transmission tunnel, which is located in the center of the car. It wasn’t bad but it could have been a lot worse. Or there was the first roll over I had, in which Clinton Geoffrey gave me the nickname “Pinball”. It was probably the worst of all the rolls. I had “swapped paint” with just about everyone on the track in that roll and there was even some of my competitor’s colours on the under carriage and roof skin of my car! And one other moment comes to mind, back in the day I let my wife drive the ‘vette in a Ladies Race.”
Do you get “race nerves” before a race?
MG “ Not really, when you’re as old as I am the only dirt to be worried about is when its 6 feet over you!”
What is your favourite race moment to date (as a driver, fan, growing up, etc.)?
MG “Definitely the first year at Ohsweken (1996). It was the final points night and I had started last and raced hard to finish third and clinch the points championship!”
If you could race in any other class, which would it be?
MG “I don’t really see myself moving up or on to any other class at this stage. I can barely keep my mini stock in running order, could you imagine a more elaborate car?”
What advice would you give anyone who is interested in getting into racing?
MG “Go for it! Make friends! Have fun! Set reasonable goals… then exceed them!”
What driver do you most admire? Do they influence your driving style?
MG “Going way back to Speedway Park days I’d have to say it would be Geno Begolo, Ivan Little, Mike Zajak and Don Turner were my favourites to watch. Modern times I find Glenn Styres and Mikey Kruchka very exciting to watch, pounding the track on the extreme high side (I hope Glenn can get back out soon!) I like the high side as well, but that might just be to stay out of the way of the quicker cars!”
If you could compete in any race, what would it be? Which track?
MG “Well, despite my love for dirt oval racing, I think a trip back to the early 1970’s and into a Can-Am Series road racing car would be a blast! Known back in the day for their crazy power, especially compared to the typical small displacement cars of the era, I would love to have been able to be behind the wheel of one of those.”
Do you have any race day or pre-race superstitions?
MG “Not really – I do like to wear Fred Eaglesmith shirts at race events, and Ohsweken shirts at his concerts. Cross promotion of my two favourite activities!
Mike “Pinball” Giberson is an Ohsweken Speedway icon. His dedication and sportsmanship earned him his induction to the Ohsweken Speedway Wall of Fame in 2015. Giberson was the inaugural Ohsweken Speedway Mini Stock division champion in 1996. He is also a three-time winner of the Art Hill Memorial Award, an award given to the Mini-Stock driver who exhibits sportsmanship both on and off the track, strives for a high level of competition and acts as an ambassador of Ohsweken Speedway. We wish Giberson and the No. 11 HRW Automotive Mini Stock team a continued safe 2018 season. Thank you Mike “Pinball” for sitting In The Driver’s Seat this week.
Canadian Sprint Car Nationals Tickets and Camping Available Now!
Advanced reserved seating tickets are on sale now for the 14th annual Canadian Sprint Car Nationals on September 14-15 are on sale now! The event features two full nights of Sprint Car action, including Saturday’s $10,000-to-win Feature Event. Visit www.ohswekenspeedway.ticketforce.com or call 519-717-0023 to order and for more information. For the full 2018 schedule of events, click here.
Ohsweken Speedway Live Stream
Can’t make it to the track or don’t live within driving distance? No problem! Check out all of Ohsweken’s weekly Friday Night Excitement action live online for free via the Ohsweken Speedway Live Stream. The stream goes live at 7:30pm EST each race night at www.OhswekenSpeedway.ca and on our official Facebook page.
Ohsweken Speedway’s 23rd season of weekly Friday Night Excitement features four divisions of racing, including the Kool Kidz-Corr/Pak 360 Sprint Cars, Strickland’s GMC Crate Sprint Cars, Middleport Mechanical Thunder Stocks and HRW Automotive Mini Stocks. Visit www.OhswekenSpeedway.com to view the schedule or call (519) 717-0023 for more information.
About Ohsweken Speedway: Founded in 1996, Ohsweken Speedway is a motorsports complex which includes a 3/8 (0.375) mile clay oval track. The facility is owned by the Styres family, and located in the village of Ohsweken, Ontario, Canada. Ohsweken’s weekly Friday night racing program runs from May to September each year, featuring 360 Sprint Cars, Crate Sprint Cars, Thunder Stocks, and Mini Stocks, while the season finishes each year with the annual Canadian Sprint Car Nationals. Ohsweken Speedway also hosts weekly Micro Sprint racing on Thursday nights.
OHSWEKEN SPEEDWAY MEDIA
Phone: (519) 717-0023
Ohsweken Speedway thanks the following partners for their support in 2018: Arrow Express, Kool Kidz Ice & Water, Corr/Pak Merchandising Inc., Renway Energy, Case IH O’Neil’s Farm Equipment, Hoosier Tire Canada, EPIC Racewear, McDonald’s Restaurants of Paris & Brantford, Ackland Insurance, Strickland’s GMC, Lucas Oil Products, Burger Barn, Pinty’s Delicious Foods, Creative Edge Signs & Graphics, Insta-Insulation, Middleport Mechanical, HRW Automotive, and Gale’s Auto Aftermarket.