Over the past couple of years, Bobby Tolton has made himself known in asphalt racing through success in the mini stock division, as well as endeavor into the OSCAAR Modified Series. During those years, he’s had several highs, and lows in racing.
“I find it hard to choose a “most memorable moment” to take from my racing career,” he told Short Track Musings. “I have a multitude of different moments that are memorable for many different reasons, wether it was a “first” for me, a great race with a competitor, someone that came into my life because of racing, or a big race win. They are all memorable to me and helped shape who I am. At the end of the day I am proud to say that any success we have seen as a team was earned as a team. This family is built on a foundation of blood, sweat and tears an is driven by the perfect blend of determination and passion.”
However, even with the success he was able to have, he admits that he’s been trying to find a way to put some fun back into racing over the last couple of seasons.
“I have recently bounced around between all the asphalt tracks in the province and was at a point where I just wasn’t enjoying myself anymore, no matter where I was racing,” he said. “Around the middle of the season last year, I was ready to throw the towel in and pack it in. And that’s when the idea floated around to head to the dirt.
“We scrambled to convert Brandon Crumbie’s asphalt car to Ohsweken rules and gave it a whirl. And even though we were behind the 8 ball and only qualified for two features in five tries, we were still having a blast. And that’s what we’re looking at headed into 2017. We are putting the family fun back into the weekend as well as heading somewhere that your budget doesn’t define you.”
During the limited starts he was able to make, he admits one of the biggest things he noticed was how much the weather and itinerary for the night affected the track conditions, therefore making the track different each time out. As a result, he said, “instead of adjusting the car, I will have to focus more on adjusting my driving style and how I run the track.”
As noted, Tolton did begin this journey last year with a series of limited starts, one of those ending in a bit of dramatic fashion with a roll over.
“There was a little bit of excitement that followed with our 4th trip to the dirt,” he recalled. “We finally had the car coming around and qualified well through timed hot laps.”
Ultimately, the race didn’t start out as well as hoped as contact with a competitor on Lap 1 cut a right rear down heading into turn one, resulting in the rollover, as well as other cars collected. From the experience, Tolton noted there were three big takeaways.
“First of all, it really put into perspective that people need to take safety equipment more seriously,” he said. “After watching the videos I find it hard to believe that I walked away without a single ache or pain to follow, and I owe it all to the gear that is designed to keep me safe. Secondly it occurred to me how under appreciated the safety staff at the track are. In reviewing my on board footage, within 10 seconds of the car coming to a stop there are 3 staff members at the car. And that kind of response can be the difference between me going home to my children or not if things were to turn bad. My hats off to the men and women that dedicate themselves to us every weekend.
“And my final thought on the rollover is even though I may not have been smiling when I climbed from the car, by the end of the night after seeing the amount of people that actually cared for someone they had never even spoke to, and the amount of people that jumped in to help get the car back together and in the trailer. It had me thinking I had found what I was looking for to put the spark back into racing. It’s not about me holding the checkered flag, it’s about the journey it took to get there, and who stuck around for the ride. The memories made will last far longer than a trophy ever would.”
With fun being the name of the game, the only expectation now going into the year is to keep that rolling throughout the entire season.
“We don’t do this for a living and none of us our going to make a dime doing it,” he said. “I am going to build the best car within my means, and hopefully it’s enough to run competitively. If as a family we work hard, work together and have fun doing it, success is bound to follow.”