Monday, August 8, 2011

The Inside Track with Kyle Brinkmann

Kyle Brinkmann is your average sixteen-year-old, high school Junior, from Elkhorn, Wisconsin.  Wait, did I mention he races?  He’s the driver of the F&F Tire World, Fleet1 Logistics, and St. Baldrick’s Foundation Ford for JET Motorsports.

Photo Credit Kyle Brinkmann Racing
Ever since I was little I was around racing. I didn’t really like to watch it on TV or sit in the stands. I wanted to drive. We went to the Wisconsin Motorsports show and stopped at the Badger Kart Club booth. Once I saw that kids my age raced karts – I wanted one. That next spring I was in a karting school and it just kind of took off after that!”  Kyle was the 2004 BKC Kart Club 100cc Sprint Kart Rookie, the 2007 CSR Super Cup Series Rookie of the Year, and in 2008, was the CSR Jr. Super Cup Series Wisconsin State Champion.  In 2009, Kyle started three United States Super Truck events – at the young age of fourteen.  Last year, he competed in both the ASA SCAG Power Equipment Truck Series and the USST National Tour.  This year, he is competing full-time on the ASA SCAG Power Equipment Truck Series for JET Motorsports and is currently sitting in the fifth position in the ASA National Driving Championship. 

Photo Credit Kyle Brinkmann Racing
I did a karting school at Sugar River Raceway in Brodhead, Wisconsin. That’s the same track Danica Patrick started her career. The instructor said I did really well so we decided we would start looking for a kart. Over the winter a good friend of the family, Steve Jennison, and my dad purchased me a 100cc sprint kart. My grandfather bought me a brand new enclosed trailer. They hid it all from me until Christmas morning. We started racing it the following spring and have been racing karts, mini cups, and now the truck series ever since. Steve has since passed away, but his memory remains in our hearts and team.”

Every racer has a favorite driver growing up and one that they model their career after…quite a few drivers say Mark Martin, and Kyle was no different, but his reasons were.  “My all time favorite driver has always been Mark Martin he’s been a family favorite since the short track days. Actually the #2 in my number 52 represents Mark’s number from the short track days. The No. 5 is in honor of Jim Sauter who happened to be my grandfather’s favorite back in the day. Papa pulled rank and got the 5 before the 2 on our family team.”  “Mark Martin. My dad and grandfather have watched him race since Mark was 16. My dad and grandfather said Mark was so mature for his age, both in and out of the race car. I have taken what they told me about how he handled different situations and try to be the same way. Drive hard, but smart and be there at the end. Off the track I try to be respected by the other drivers by giving respect in return – just like Mark.” 

Kyle said that his favorite part of racing is the adrenaline rush.  “I played hockey, football, and baseball growing up; no other sport provides that level of intensity and excitement.”
Photo Credit Kyle Brinkmann Racing

It wouldn’t be normal if Kyle didn’t have his favorite and least favorite tracks.  “My favorite has to be Madison International Speedway. Madison is like our home track even though we travel most of the time. I ran my first truck race their back in 2009. I won the CSR Super Cup Series Wisconsin State Championship there in my mini cup car and a few races at MIS.  My least favorite would have to be Wisconsin International Raceway (WIR).  I had my only wreck of my career there in 2010. I was squeezed into the outside wall and flipped our family owned truck in the air three times. I was fine but I thought my career was pretty well done at that point.  Mr. Bob Murphy (#85 Camden Murphy Racing) came to my aid and offered us the ability to build a backup truck he had in storage. During the build we contacted another driver, Tom McCardle, to buy some parts he had online. Tom brought the parts out so he could see the truck we were building. Tom started coming out every night from a town 70 miles away to help us get it ready. Tom then handled crew chief duties at the next race. We worked real well together as we started last after a brake issue in qualifying and worked back up to fifth in just a twenty lap race. Over the winter Tom called and said he, along with his wife Ellen, would like me to drive for them on the ASA truck tour. I have been racing for JET Motorsports ever since. Ironic but the wreck kind of jump started my career rather than ending it. Maybe WIR should be one of my favorites after all?”

Photo Credit Kyle Brinkmann Racing
As I ask all of the drivers I interview, I asked Kyle if he would consider moving up to a NASCAR Series one day.  “Well funny you would ask that as currently I am scheduled to go to Caraway Speedway in late October to test for Andy Belmont Racing. If all goes well I could be in selected ARCA and K&N East Series races next year. Every driver wants to make it to the top but it takes money and the right people to believe in you. Just having someone like Andy Belmont trust me with his million dollar equipment is quite an honor. I am hoping all goes well during the test weekend.”

Social media helps quite a few up-and-coming drivers to get their names out there or helps them gain sponsors.  “Social media has had a tremendous impact on my career allowing for fans and sponsors alike to keep in touch and to learn more about my accomplishments. I have made many important connections through social media that are providing racing opportunities. My ability to connect with Andy Belmont Racing can be credited to social media.”

Thank you, Kyle, for allowing me to interview you.  Good luck during the remainder of this season and at your test at Caraway in October!

Check out Kyle’s website: 

1 comment:

  1. Great article Kyle, good luck with the testing.