CATCHING UP WITH…… Kevin Spiesz (Part 2)

After discussing the thoughts going into 2023, favourite tracks, and more in the first part of the interview, the conversation continued with much more to be discussed……..

So, we also know the club is expanding every year with rookies every season. What’s the advice to offer them?

Don’t get discouraged, and don’t get in a hurry. You have to drive them. That’s a hard one, because you don’t want to get in the way – but you want to run it as hard as you can to learn what’s there. So keep your line, don’t be all over the track. If you’re running here, stay running in that spot. Everybody else can work their way around you. Don’t over push it because these cars will bite you back in a hurry.

We’ve seen that plenty of times because as we’ve talked about, it’s open-wheel – and these are small cars.

We’ve had guys that have raced other cars and come into these things and they push it a little too hard, and they spin you around in a hurry. With no suspension, they get hopping sometimes and they’re harder to stop.

So what’s rougher – Flamboro Speedway or Peterborough Speedway?

Oh, Flamboro.

I’ve heard a lot about Peterborough’s pavement from late model guys, then watching Frostoberfest, I saw a lot more bounce there.

Corner one and two. The rest of the track there is good. If it’s a drainage pipe or something in one, when you hit that and the car kind of jumps, there’s another bump somewhere in that same area just pass where the first bump is. If you can’t settle the car down there, it can really throw it off.

Who would you consider your racing hero?

Oh wow. I have a bunch of them really. I grew up watching Don Biederman and Junior Hanley and I can’t pick one over the other, because it was always a Biederman vs Hanley. It was the two of them that made the racing what it was back in the day, and then you threw in Bill Zardo, Randy Slack – but for me, Don Biederman and Junior Hanley were my heroes growing up.

You mentioned Bill Zardo and given the recent events, is there a memory of him that stands out above others?

At Cayuga Speedway (Jukasa Motor Speedway). Me and my friend Jeff were there camping to watch the an ASA race they ran. There was some entertainment, but we had our own little campfire going and had some people over. Bill Zardo wandered along and asked if he could join us – and Pete Shepherd Sr. was also there. It was quite a deal. Kerry Micks came along. So we had probably three or four different drivers show up that night at our campfire and then the next day, when they were doing the driver introductions, Bill Zardo is lying in the infield with his cowboy hat and boots on, lying in the grass before they were doing their stage thing. That is something that I won’t forget. So I got to meet him actually up and close and personal, and it was an experience.

He certainly had a bigger than life personality at times, and I know I got to experience that with him back behind the wheel this past season.

Oh, absolutely. When I heard he was coming back, I actually went out and watched him race while we were getting our own stuff ready just to see the nostalgia. And the super bird? That was impressive.

And it all came together with the win Bill had a Peterborough. I mean, I call it the best Hot Rod race of the season simply because it was perfection. Him and Tom Walters – old school battling. Sure, some bumps traded, but nothing that went over the line. The definition of old school racing.

Yep, and that’s exactly what it was. You give your space, and you leave it a little high and make the guy go around you on the outside. You go into the corner, you give him a little bump, he knows you’re there. You don’t take him out – just a little nudge and don’t forget I’m here and I’m going to get that spot.

One more question, and this discussion leads into this. Every driver has a code of respect, conduct they want followed when racing someone. What is your code?

For me, respect – I’ve had talks with people through the years and one was a guy that we were racing at Sauble (Speedway). He was having a bad night, he was all over the track. We were trying to get by him, trying to get by him, and I finally got by him. Another guy got by him, and he came up in the corner and clipped me, spun me around, and took three cars out. Then he went off the track and didn’t bother to come and check to see if I was okay, if my car was okay, or if anybody else was alright.

I had walked down – course you’re a little bit steamed and I said to him, “This is a family. If you take somebody out, you go make sure that person is okay, and then you see if there’s anything you can do to help get the car back up for the next day, or whatever it was.” That kind of thing really hits home with me. If you cause something, you should kind of own up to it and see first check if the driver is okay – because again, it’s a family. If you’re going to take your son out, you’re going to make sure he’s alright.

I like the fair play. Yes, there’s games that get played – and you understand that, but when there’s some of the sneaky stuff, I don’t go for that.

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