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Dana Wick as interviewed by Bob O’Neill
I first got the racing bug in 1999, when my first race car was a 1972 Pontiac Ventura with a 400 big block. My first big race was the “Thunder Car 200,” which at that time was an all weekend event. I was put into the wall on lap 10 or 12; it was a crappy thing to happen, both sides of the car was bent underneath, I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t afford to build another car so I stopped racing but I continued volunteering at our track, the quarter-mile, paved oval Edmonton International Raceway in Wetaskiwin, Alberta. I continued volunteering until 2001. I was the unofficial tire guy. The track had a tire machine and I was the guy changing tires. It kept me busy and I got to watch racing every week.
I returned to racing in 2007 helping a friend with his late model car, mostly changing tires and holding up his hood, but the cars, the smells, and the ambience of the race track couldn’t keep me away any longer. They had a Claimer Class which was cheap to run; I suppose other tracks call them Hornets, just a basic car with basic safety.
In 2008, I built 2 cars. One was a Toyota and the other a 1998 Ford Escort. It was fun driving but I very much like to build them. During the off season I wanted to build a Daytona, so I got one which was virtually rust free. Even so, we broke every nut and bolt replacing parts; we called her Christine.
My girlfriend, Lauren, was my pit crew, and she started getting the bug. NASCAR changed their driving age to 14 so my daughter is going to be racing with us, and Edmonton International Raceway has a new class using stock cars; young drivers from 12-15 were allowed to race. So, Gabby will be racing in the NASCAR Whelen All American series in the Feature Stock Division and EIR Future Stock Divisions, using the same car for both, as she as just turned 14. This year, we will all be racing in the NASCAR Whelen All American series Feature Stock division. The number on the cars for this year will be # 24 for Dana, #5 for Lauren and #1 for Gabby.
The basic rules for the feature stocks are
4 cyl SOHC front wheel drive normally aspirated cars with automatic transmissions.
Bob: What was your record last year?
I can’t remember my stats accurately as I do it for the fun, but I finished 9th in the provincial standings in the NASCAR “Whelen All American Series” and 11th in track points
Bob: What are your plans for this year?
The preferred race cars in our class are Honda Accords, so the plan is to beat them. I would like to at least have 1 feature win; more is always nice, and a few top 5 finishes. Gabby will be racing in 2 classes with the same car so I’m hoping she keeps her mind in the game and does well. Lauren has determination and can drive well. As long as we don’t crash and beat the cars up I think we will do well. All we can do is try our best but more importantly have fun together.
Bob: Do you have a crew? Who are they and what are their roles?
Dana: Other than ourselves, we don’t have a crew. This year will be tough with three cars racing. If we have run without one, we will manage. I use Allpar for tech and setup information and the folks on here have been a great help. We compile the info so we can use it. Unfortunately our season doesn’t start until May so some of the tips we can’t use until we can get the cars on the track. I was thinking about setting up an online crew through Allpar for tech stuff and to let others know how we are doing.
I came across Allpar when I first got my Daytona; I was looking through the web to get info on these cars almost every site had a link to Allpar so there I went. They have been a great source of information for us; replies have been great; the site in whole is full of valuable information for any Mopar enthusiast.
Bob: If you like we can set something up for you in the Daytona forum just for that purpose. We can be your ‘virtual’ team. With your driving and the input that you can get from other Daytona owners perhaps we can work together to help you win more than one feature event this year.
I appreciate that. I think it would be good to focus an area of the Daytona forum on racing teams.
Bob: Do you race as a team or do you race solo?
In this entry level class it’s been more solo since until this year I’ve had one car. This year with 3 Daytonas, I suppose we are a team and we call ourselves Daytona Speed Racing.
Bob: It must be costly to run three cars. So you have any sponsors?
Sponsorships are hard to come by money is tight and sponsors don't look at entry level racing as a great unique form of advertising. We race 20 weeks every weekend from May to Sept. I am trying to get $200 or $300 of advertising from sponsors for 20 or so weeks. This is a real challenge. We have a sponsorship proposal and the track helps us out with a sponsorship program. This provides the sponsors with tickets and a BBQ. With three cars our costs will be around $7,000 for the year. We use dollies to haul our cars we would love to have a trailer but in this class we can keep the cars at the track during the week.
This year we are bringing awareness to cancer initiatives such as Scrapping for Cancer. Brody Chapman is a 13 year old friend who has been battling cancer since birth, another friend Doug Marr has leukemia and a site, walking with angels, promotes onematch.ca, linking bone marrow donors to people needing a bone marrow transplant. We are also in contact with Relay For Life,
as there is another young fellow Danny Barnes, and his family, dealing with cancer as well. They get our support and we can help them through our racing program by bringing awareness and through an event may be able to do some fundraising for them.
Both Lauren and I have applied to onematch.ca to be donors. These initiatives pay nothing for our support, that’s why we look for sponsors.
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