1 WEEK TIL NATIONALS! -Interview with Shayle Bade
By Greg Soukup
A week from now the gates of Eagle Raceway will swing open to allow racers from all over the country, and even from out of the country, to try out the high banked 1/3 mile during the practice night. Billed as the “Fastest 1/3 mile in the world”, Eagle Raceway will challenge one and all who come to run at the 2016 Racesaver IMCA Sprint Nationals.
Today we speak to a young lady who has made a name for herself in her short stint in the Racesaver sprints; Shayle Bade from Lincoln, Nebraska.
Q: You started racing sprints when the Racesaver class came to Eagle Raceway, right? What is your opinion of the class?
Shayle: Correct. I’m really glad that Roger Hadan did something like this for the whole racing world. It’s opened doors for a lot of drivers who don’t quite have the budget for a 360 or a 410, plus all of the travelling expenses. I’m glad he offered something cheaper that a lot more people can do. When I was thinking about racing sprints at the end of 2012, Billy Alley was going to sell out his whole operation. He was going to give us a really good deal; brand new cars, brand new motors. So, my dad said that if I could find enough sponsors, that I could do it. Well, you know how hard it was going to be to find that many sponsors. I didn’t have any experience in a sprint car yet; I had come from mini-sprints. I had never been in any kind of sprint, let alone a 360. So; when Roger said he was going to offer the Racesaver sprints, and that it would cut down the price of racing a sprint, my Dad said that we could do that. That was a HUGE deal for me; finally getting into a sprint car. I was as happy as could be! The whole Racesaver class is really taking off. We have so many more drivers at Eagle now; and not just any drivers, but some really GOOD drivers. So; it’s a win, win, win situation all around. You can’t go wrong running in the Racesaver class.
Q: You’ve raced in all of the Racesaver Sprint Nationals that we’ve had at Eagle Raceway. Did you enjoy the experience?
Shayle: I LOVED IT!! I’m not going to lie; the 3-wide start really scared me at first. It’s a little crazy, but it works!!! The last 2 years we haven’t had any problems. I qualified each year so far. The first year I qualified on the third night, which was scary. Then at the last Nationals, I qualified on the first night; which was really weird, because I didn’t have to race on the second or third night to try and make the feature.
Q: So, you think the 3-day qualifying is a good deal then?
Shayle: I think it’s a really good deal, because it gives more people a chance to get locked-in for the Sunday A Feature. If you have a really crappy night on the first night, and your motor isn’t running right, maybe the second or third night will be better for you. Either way you can have 3 different track conditions, 3 different sets of drivers, so you have lots of variables. I do like the 3-day qualifying.
Q: What is it like competing with racers from all over, even out of the country?
Shayle: I really enjoy racing against all of these different drivers, because every state, every different track has its own type of drivers. Whether they’re super-clean and super-fast all of the time, or the dirty just get to the front however they can kind. It’s tough, because you have to adapt to so many different drivers you don’t know at all. Lots of them it’s the first time that you’ve raced against them. Either way, you as a driver have to adapt to all of these new racers. In the end, that makes you a better driver.
Q: The Racesaver class is all about the tech measures. Are they really necessary?
Shayle: The rules have to be that tough; as they should be!! The rules are what makes the class. It’s SO hard to get even a little bit extra in the Racesaver class. That is so rare in the sprint car racing world. You can buy a $20,000 360 motor, or you can buy a $60,000 360 motor. The good thing about the Racesaver motor is that the tech is so hard that you have closer racing, the competition is going to be so stiff; which makes it better for the fans to watch and it’s way crazy for the drivers. Everybody is neck and neck, because it’s not the motor. If you have to start at the back of the pack, or even mid-pack, a little extra horsepower isn’t going to help you; and on a slick track it might even hurt you. I really like the strict rules and that is something that the Racesaver class has that no other class does. A rule is a rule; you can be under but you can’t be over. Is that hairline of difference really going to make that big of a difference? Is it worth the chance of a disqualification? No!!
Q: Any final thoughts that you would like to pass along?
Shayle: Just that if you can make it out to the Nationals, you really should. It’s going to be a heckuva show.