(via Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) – If it’s a cliché, so be it.
IndyCar is a traveling circus, and those in the paddock make up a fraternity. Within that fraternity, there’s also an exclusive clique: Wisconsinites.
“They’re kind of all over,” said Sam Schmidt Racing competition director Billy Vincent, a Kenosha native and 19-year veteran of the sport. “We all stick together, make sure we pass around our Spotted Cow and cheese curds, y’know.
“Especially when I was down there (in Mooresville, North Carolina, with Team Penske), we were all … if somebody was driving up to Wisconsin we’d all have our list for Woodman’s to get everyone’s beers and cheese and sausages and stuff like that.”
All kidding aside, Wisconsin does have disproportionate representation in the series. SPM, alone, has four crew members from the state, Vincent and his brother Brent, a fabricator, from Kenosha; Norm Hornitschek, a technician from Hartford; and Kenny Krajnik, an engineer from Mishicot.
Dozens of crew local members seem to walk a little prouder when the series makes its annual return to Road America, which it has this weekend.
Many of them got their start here the way Vincent did, helping his father, Bill, or working on the car of a friend or uncle or cousin during the June Sprints or another club event.
“All the aunts and uncles are finding old pictures of me, like, 4 years old next to my father’s race car up here,” said Vincent, 37. “It’s pretty funny.
“It’s not just Road America. It’s sort of a big racing scene southeastern Wisconsin and the upper Midwest. There’s Road America and there’s Blackhawk Farms (Raceway in South Beloit, Illinois), it’s not too far over to (Grattan) Michigan and Gingerman, and now there’s Autobahn (Country Club) in Joliet, Illinois.
“I think Road America’s the birthplace of it all right? … It’s funny. You start walking up here in this paddock, you see guys you haven’t seen in 10 years turning up from the Runoffs and the June Sprints and all that stuff from back in the day.”