Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Inside Track with Chad Hackenbracht

Chad Hackenbracht is making a name for himself in the ARCA Racing Series.  Hackenbracht, an Ohio-native, started racing in 2003 in Mid Western Quarter Midgets, and raced in that series until 2006 when he moved up to Legend cars, quickly catching the attention of a driver development service.  In 2007, Chad left the Driver Development Service and got a ride with CGH Motorsports.  The 2010 season marked Chad's first full season in the ARCA/ReMax Series. 
Credit:  Chad Hackenbracht 

Chad's revelation of deciding to be a professional race car driver is 'out of whack' compared to other drivers', he says.  "I saw it on TV and said, 'Hey, I want to do that!'  I didn’t have any family already in racing like many others.  My parents sort of shrugged it off for a bit and didn’t really pursue it until I asked again a few months later." 

"Everyone, I guess, thought it was off-the-wall at first since no one around me did it; nor was our small town in Ohio any sort of racing town.  Everyone at school thought I was stupid and said there's no way you'll make it into NASCAR, kind of like a 'Good luck, you're crazy' type of thing." 

"The hardest part of racing for me is putting myself out there.  I'm pretty reserved and shy, so throwing myself in front of people I don’t know at all is a bit new to me.  For instance, walking up to Rick Hendrick and handing him my card….probably not one of my strong suits," says Chad when asked about the hardest part of racing for him.  "My personality on-track is very similar to my personality off-track.  I am very calm; hardly say a word on the radio, and I never get upset.  I think across all of our bad luck last year, I only got angry maybe twice and I bet I said a total of 100 words on the radio all last year!"

I recently became interested in fans meeting drivers, so I had to ask Chad what his favorite fan encounter had been so far.  "This seems to be a pretty common question that I'm getting more and more, so I'm going to have to come up with something for this.  I really don’t have anything in particular that sticks out.  I guess the time I signed a prosthetic leg in Talladega would have to rank up there as an interesting one, I don’t know about favorite."

"I love to race at Salem and Winchester; they are both high-banking short tracks that I've run very well at in the past.  At the same time, I love to race at the big tracks like Kansas, Chicagoland, and Michigan." 

Credit: Chad Hackenbracht
Chad had an interesting answer if all he thinks about is winning, "For me, not really.  I guess it could be since it's been so long since I've been to Victory Lane, but really I just worry about getting in the car and driving to the best of my ability and with the given circumstances.  I have a mental coach that tells me to think about the equation A x B = C;  A being the things that I can control, my mindset, etc; B are the things out of my control, like blown tires, other people wrecking, etc; and C are the results.  So don't worry about the B factors, just do your best with what you can control." 

Different drivers define "successful driver" in many ways:  fan-friendly, a lot of talent, sponsor-friendly, etc.  "In today's environment, what makes a successful driver is not so much talent; it becomes more talent-based when you make it to Cup, I believe.  But starting out trying to get into NASCAR is all about money.  A successful driver is someone that can sell themselves to a sponsor and talk themselves up.  It's also what you can bring to the table for a sponsor, so I think that a successful driver coming up is measured by how personable they are."  I think many of us can agree with this 100%.

Speaking of sponsors and sponsorship, Chad and his No. 58 team may not have the funding to go to the next ARCA race at Salem on April 29th, so they can use any help they can get.  "I hope we've got someone on the car for some amount of money, but it's tough in this economy.  Really, I suppose there's not much the fans can do besides tell anyone they know that they need to support their driver!"  You heard him, people; tell everyone you know so we can try to get him sponsorship to run at Salem in April and for the rest of the season!
Credit: Chad Hackenbracht 
This past ARCA race at Mobile International Speedway, Chad finished second behind Eddie Sharp Racing's Cale Gale, after starting eighth.  This was Hackenbracht's career-best finish in thirty ARCA races.  This propelled him into third place in the Championship standings, ten points behind second place and twenty-five points behind first place. 

If you're interested in contacting Chad:

Throughout this entire you've been wondering how to correctly pronounce 'Hackenbracht,' right?  No worries, it's pronounced 'Hock - en - bra.'  All of your problems have now been alleviated! 

Check back next week to see pictures from my tour at Chad's shop in North Carolina! 

No comments:

Post a Comment