Interviews

CATCHING UP WITH…… Dan Kviring (Part 2)

With nine feature top-10’s and 16 heat top-five’s, Dan Kviring put together an impressive rookie campaign with the Outlaw Midgets presented by Canadian Tire Innisfil en route to placing third in the year-end standings.

The first part allowed us to get his reflections on the 2022 campaign, including most memorable moment and favourite track. But why did he want to get involved? That is where the second part begins.

So what made you want to go racing with the Outlaw Midgets? I know you were helping Mikey, which generated the interest. But why did you end up getting behind the wheel and the fun you’re having? Because by the way, it sounds like you’re having a ton of fun.

It’s a blast. I mean, I would lie to you if I said I wasn’t grinning right now just talking about it. I’d be lying to you if I said before I go to work in the morning and after I come home from work, I went and looked into the garage and saw the racecars in there and had a smile and get those shivers.

I’ll be honest, I’d gotten away from racing in 2013. I had raced 2009 to 2013 in the dirt circuit with the Mod Lites and got away from it because we started our business and poured everything into the business. I said to my wife that I honestly felt my technical skill was starting to go away from the mechanics of things because my trade is different that I’m certified in. I started going to races to watch, and that’s a racer going to a race track after retiring is the worst thing because you want to get back into it.

So being up at Bruce Power, the closest racing was asphalt. I know hardly any of the players in it. It was so foreign. But I fell in love watching this 36 car, I think it was Ken Grubb. He was out there and he was putting it down to the people. It was so great. I’d come home and my wife knew I was getting back into racing. So when the call came into the pit side to help Mikey, I wrenched on the car and I knew this was trouble.

I think Mikey even said, “Why don’t you sit in it?” That is honestly – that is what I do now with my cars. If someone comes and shows interest, the first thing I say is sit in the car. I start it up. Once you do that, they’re either hooked for life or they may not like the noise. I got in the car, Mikey fired it up and I went, “Yeah…” So we started making plans.

At that point, I didn’t think about going dirt racing. Then I thought to myself, “You know what? I’ll be happy if I buy a car and put my son in it.” My son had raced a bunch of go-karts when he was younger, and did really well. Then we got away from that as well. So I said to him, “Hey, do you want to go back racing?” I took him to a race, let him see it, and he wanted to race one of those.

So I bought a used car that wasn’t even a car – it was more of a frame and a bit of parts. I thought over the winter I could build it. I had a good look at it, actually talked to Mike Westwood. He had a look at it and he was straight up and honest. He said, “Man, this car should never hit the track again. I could build you one for the same price it’d take for me to fix this.” So I said, “Perfect, let’s do it,” but he was all booked up. So I looked for one that was for sale.

Mikey gave me a call about two weeks later and told me he found two cars for sale. I’m going to sell my old car off – so we bought them. I tore both cars apart over the winter – him and I – repaired everything that needed to be done it, got them painted, new sheet metal on them. We were ready to rock and roll and then COVID hit so I really couldn’t get out. I think I went out to two practices and just wasn’t going anywhere. We knew the racing would be done, or very limited. So it was just a matter of waiting until 2022 to where we had a full season and I could really make a run for it.

I’ll be honest with you – the club I got behind because they’re inexpensive for how fun they are. They’re easy to work on. If you have any issues, there’s people there to help, and I’m one of those people. I want to help everybody. So they started making fun of the boxes that I used to bring – they were rubbermaids and had all kinds of parts in them. I’d just be searching the internet, find someone getting rid of something and I’d say, “That’s parts we can use there,” or from some of the cars we started with we got the parts. I think they’re joking around in saying I got the tickle trunk from Mr. Dress-Up with all the parts.

All of the sudden, everybody was doing it and I think they got tighter as a family. That’s a big draw because if you come into this, you may not know anything about these cars. I really knew nothing. But it wasn’t long that somebody would say, “Hey, I seen you out there and you’re doing this. You maybe shouldn’t do that. You should do this as it may be a little bit smoother for you,” or “hey, I can hear your engine. Your jetting is all wrong and you need to fix it.” I think the one guy said, “Your spark plugs are wrong or the jetting it all shot.” I told him I had no idea on how to work on a snowmobile engine. He came over and taught me. I’ve brought that to help anybody else that asks.

It’s that whole family. It’s like I said in one of my – we talk all the racers. We have a special messenger group, Facebook page – we all talk to each other. I know we had a couple tough races where there was a lot of tenseness, maybe after the race with some crashes, but we were still family and will always be family. I think that’s the biggest draw because it’s fun. It’s challenging. There’s great people, and they’re clean. I never saw one thing malicious out there. Nobody wants to see someone get hurt. We all have jobs the next day and we can joke around with each other. It’s like brothers and sisters, honestly. It’s just so great.

So what do you feel that you can do better behind the wheel to be even faster moving forward into 2023 and beyond?

I’ll be honest with you. In the last couple races, my program started to come together. Due diligence on working on the racecar after every race. Before I go to the track, I have the racecar nut and bolted, gone over it top to bottom, have it scaled, and know where the racecar is at when I get to the track.

Throughout the whole time, I tried little bit of different set-ups to see what would work based on the different bankings of the tracks or the tightness of the turns. So past experience that I know, I’m starting to bring into it. At the end there, I was starting to dial in. I knew how to drive. I could get control of the car and I was getting more comfortable carrying the car further into the car and carrying my speed and back on it smoothly.

Now it came down to making the car faster. With our engines, we have a pretty tight set of rules. They have to be stock. The only things that can be changed to an OEM aftermarket. So they really have their deal on that and I don’t get into the engine because I don’t know enough about it. But I really tied in all my clutch work – made sure everything was square, laser straight, free as could be, all the bearings were perfect, nothing binding. Once that all plays together, the car rolls smooth.

What are your goals for the next season based on 2022?

I want to get a podium. I want to get one of the at-track plaques. I’d be happy with third, I’d be ecstatic with second, and I’d probably be crying on the frontstretch with a first. There’s good stiff competition out there and I look back on my whole year.

I think one of my best opportunities was the last race we had at Sauble. I went out for practice and I turned some pretty mean laps. I came off the track and Jessica (James) even said, “Man, you’re flying out there. You’re going to be tough.” I went to go out for my first heat and I think I was starting a pole, maybe second, and I couldn’t get the car started. I had the vacuum line come off and a wire broke, and it just wouldn’t stay running. I got a DNS – zero points. I went out for the second heat and finished second in my heat, so the car was flying.

It came feature time and we were making some pretty good moves. We had a pack ahead of us and I think me and the 18 car were back and forth, and I think he got by me so I tucked in behind him. I was just kind of pacing these guys and actually picking targets on the track to see where they were versus where I was each lap. I felt like I was gaining on them so if we could get through this pack….

I came off turn two and we had some guys in the front got tangled into three as we got there – it’s almost instant from one corner to the next. They start spinning and I remember seeing him in the vision I saw there in this is where the cars are at, this is where I’m going. The 18 car was spinning, but moving downwards – I don’t know if he hit the brakes and it just upset the car and jumped out in front of me. I tried to go up and around him, but I just clipped him with my left rear tire. It put a bit of a bend in the axle.

I thought to myself it’s not that bad, I’ll just go out and kind of wait because we had about 10 more laps and I’m a firm believer that you need to finish to get the points. So I kind of held back. We got the green flag, we go piling into turns one and two, and there was a major accident there. I remember seeing Dave spin out of the way, slam into the car, and as soon as I could process that coming into the corner, I touched the brakes and cause the wheel was bent from the last one, it locked up and spun me around, backed me into the wall and bent the frame.

I ended up having to bring the car home and it’s on three wheels and I cut the left rear corner off and reset it. I thought that was probably my best chance if I hadn’t been involved in those. I think I could’ve gotten a podium. But hey, that’s racing. So lessons learned and try to not think about what could’ve been, but what you could do next time. You know what? I think getting further ahead and where I’m qualifying, starting keeps me in the front pack per say so it’s just a matter of clean racing, and carrying that speed. But yeah, I’m hoping for a podium.

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