Note – This article originally appeared in the May 15, 2015 edition of the Ohsweken Speedway souvenir program.
“TOP 10”…WITH CRATE SPRINT CAR DRIVER JOSH SHANTZ
By Tommy Goudge (May 12, 2015) – Our series of interviews for the 2015 season begins with sophomore Crate Sprint Car driver Josh Shantz, who spoke with us during the week before Opening Night. Josh won his first Crate Sprint Car feature on August 22, 2014, and collected 7 top five finishes on his way to finishing 4th in the championship standings.
Josh Shantz – Fast Facts:
Division: Strickland’s GMC Crate Sprint Cars
Car #: 18
Birthdate: May 5, 1996
Hometown: St. Agatha ON
Occupation: Automotive Tech
Facebook Page: Shantz Motorsports
Car Owner: Danny Shantz
Sponsors: Kal Tire, Piper One Freight, Nicholson Realty, Shoppers Drug Mart, Creative Edge Graphics, Demtool, McFarlane, and Baden Auto
TG: How did you get involved in racing, and who were the people who helped you learn the ropes when you were starting out?
JS: I started racing go-karts with WRKC. Everyone was supportive – my competitor and friend Tyler Turnbull and his dad Collin were awesome, and a huge help all through the karting days to when I won my first championship in 2008. From there I moved on to Mini Stocks where Mark Da Silva was my mentor through the two years of racing in that division. (Mark) was my car builder, and friend that taught me how to get around Flamboro Speedway. From there I moved on to Crate Sprints at Ohsweken.
TG: What do you remember about the first time you saw racing at Ohsweken Speedway
JS: I thought it was awesome. I remember getting chunks of dirt flung at me in turn 1 from the 360’s (Sprint Cars) and thought it was the coolest thing ever – to be going so fast, with all these other cars…I was amazed, and needless to say I was hooked!
TG: If money were no object and you could race anywhere, in anything, what would you choose?
JS: A few major races I’d like to compete in would be the Chilli Bowl, Knoxville Nationals, Snowball Derby, and well basically anything, anywhere, and anytime!
TG: If you could change one thing in racing (a rule, etc…), what would it be?
JS: That’s a hard question. Tracks and promoters do a pretty awesome job with rules packages and keeping fans coming back…I’d like to see more national type events, racing Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, maybe even a weekday show, or just a bigger schedule.
TG: We hear all the time that it is hard to draw young people to short track racing, either as fans or racers – How do you think more members of your generation could become interested in racing?
JS: Well, I know for a fact when my friends come over when I’ve got work to do on my Sprint Car, that they are about to get put to work. They help out, and if you’re involved in the preparation of a race car, who wouldn’t want to see how it performs on Friday night? You just have to bring them out to the track once, and they’ll be hooked…and if they’re not, chances are you need some new friends (laughing)!
TG: Which driver do you most enjoy competing against, and why?
JS: I have enjoyed racing multiple drivers. I really like racing guys like Ryan Hunsinger, Aaron Turkey, and Jake Brown – the top drivers in my division. They test you, make you drive harder, and force you to get better, because if you want to win, you have to beat the best.
TG: What piece of advice would you give to someone looking to get involved in racing that you would like to have been given when you started?
JS: Never give up. You’re not going to be perfect your first week – or ten – that you’re out there. I know I was told that more times than I could count, but as a driver, you’re always comparing yourself to the best driver in your division. You just keep your head up…improving, learning, and charging towards the front. It takes a lot of seat time!
TG: Who is an autograph you got as a kid that seemed to be a big deal to you at the time
JS: Kyle Busch, and it’s still a big deal!
TG: If you have kids someday, who would you point to as a good role model in the pit area?
JS: People like Flamboro Late Model driver Nick Roth. I followed him around for a full season trying to learn about race cars before I started at Flamboro. He let me wrench on his car at the shop and the racetrack, and made me feel like part of the team.
TG: I’m asking each person to give me a question for the next interview – Do you have a question for the next person?
JS: If you could choose to race one person you’ve raced against in the past again, who would it be?
Do you have a question you’ve always wanted to ask your favourite Ohsweken Speedway personality, or suggestion for someone you’d like to see featured in a future edition of “Top 10″? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and stay tuned for future editions of “Top 10″ printed in our weekly program, and on www.OhswekenSpeedway.com!