Post RaceSaver Nationals℠ Interview with Jeremy Schultz
By Greg Soukup
Stuart Minnesota’s Jeremy Schultz is this week’s interviewee. The 39-year old has been racing sprint cars for 4 years now. He is, I believe, a typical budget racer. He shares his thoughts with us about last year’s RaceSaver Nationals℠ and more.
Q: When did you first get into racing?
Jeremy: Actually, I was about 20 years old. There was a local Yamaha dealer that we had bought some 4-wheelers from. They were part of what we called the District 23 Circuit, so I got into racing 4-wheelers before racing sprint cars. My uncle was a flagman for Arlington Raceway here in Minnesota for many, many, many years. So, I had been around it and around go-kart racing.
Q: Well then, when did you start sprint car racing?
Jeremy: 4 years ago when the Racesaver class actually started up here in Arlington where our local track is. They adopted the whole Racesaver deal, and it was budget racing. Being a family guy, and a working guy also; somebody who can’t afford a really expensive motor in the 360 class, it worked out really good for us.
Q: So, you really like the Racesaver class then?
Jeremy: Yeah, I do. And the reason I’m saying that is I would like to go faster, and jump into the 360 stuff. But, just for the budget part of racing, for me that’s the best thing. With our racing, it’s the Schultz Family Racing; our family is all involved in it, and the Racesaver class is inexpensive. That’s why I like it. One of the guys that I met down at the Nationals a couple of years ago, John Carney II, everybody knows him, he said it the best. ‘Racesavers, 360’s, 410’s, their laps times are really close; within a couple of seconds of each other’. I talk with John pretty frequently, at least once a month. We became really good friends. 2 years ago he pitted next to me at the Nationals. Going to the whole Eagle Raceway experience, and the Racesaver Nationals, that’s what I like about it too. It’s good racing, the racing is side by side; you get to meet a lot of people. It seems like everyone is more of a competitor on the track, but you go back to the pits and everyone is willing to help everybody. That’s what I like about the whole Racesaver deal.
Q: How many of the Nationals at Eagle have you been to?
Jeremy: I’ve been there every year since Roger started it. I crashed and burned the first year, but the last 3 years have been a little bit better for me.
Q: Speaking of that, where did you finish at last year’s Nationals?
Jeremy: I want to say in the C Main; I would have to go back and look up to see where I finished, position wise. I made it into the C Main with my points standings, and that’s the highest I’ve ever placed out of all 4 years. The years before that I think we had D’s, E’s and F’s. But, I was a little bit inexperienced.
Q: You do enjoy yourself at the Nationals, don’t you?
Jeremy: Oh God yeah!! The last couple of years we rented an RV from a local town up here and drove down there. Meeting Darren and Dylon Knudson was one of the best things that happened to me too. They were a big part of my success. This year was my fourth year in sprint car racing and without them I wouldn’t have the success I had this year as far as the set-up goes and talking with Darren on the phone at my local track is great too.
Q: What do you think of the Racesaver rules?
Jeremy: They’re fair, I think. I don’t know if there’s anything that I would change about them. I think they’re in place for that guy that has a full-time job all week and making it budget racing. I’ve heard a lot of guys say ‘What’s the deal with the hydraulic wing sliders?’. Well, that’s just an added cost on there. I believe that the rules are in place to keep everybody competitive. It’s more the driver that’s doing it all. Everybody pretty much has the same motor, the same parts. As far as the rules, I like them for the whole fairness of everything.
Q: What was it like getting to race against all of those teams from all over the country?
Jeremy: It’s awesome. The best part of it is that you can follow a really good racer, and John’s one of them. I got to hot lap with John the last couple of times he was down at Eagle, and just following a driver like him who’s been racing for 15 years and all of these other drivers who come from California, and Iowa and Missouri, Montana and Colorado; you get to see all of these different drivers. You can learn different things from them and make yourself a lot better. That’s another thing I like about it. Seeing all of the other drivers and racing against all of the drivers can make you a better driver. That’s what I enjoy.
Q: The 3-day qualifying format; what do you think of that?
Jeremy: Talking with the other guys again; they said ‘Let’s do passing points; let’s do this; let’s do that”. Honestly, it’s kind of luck of the draw; the whole deal. Racing Friday night and racing Saturday to set the first nine or the second nine and then the last day setting the last nine, I like that. It’s luck of the draw and last year I got on the pole of both of my heats both Friday night and Saturday night. I made the best of it one night for sure. I like the way the format is.
Q: I realize that you haven’t had a chance to participate in it yet, but what do you think of the 3-wide start?
Jeremy: I don’t know what I’d think about it; I haven’t been in it yet as you said. I’ve never started that way before. John would say ‘Just follow the car in front of you and don’t crash’, but he’s usually up front. Until I experience it, I can’t tell you. I wouldn’t be afraid of it; it would be a “Here we go” type of deal. You’ve got plenty of laps to hopefully catch up. It is a smaller track, so the guys in the front are already close to the guys in the back. There’s cautions; things can happen that will work your way and you can move your way up. And, the $1000 to start is something else too!! You’ve got 27 cars in there and you get $1000 to start, so that’s a great deal to start with.
Q: Can you think of anything that we haven’t talked about that you would like to tell the other teams and fans that haven’t made it to the Nationals yet?
Jeremy: The only thing that I would say is that if you haven’t been to the Nationals yet, it’s a great time. I think all of the things that Roger does; I mean the guy’s working his butt off day in and day out over the whole Nationals weekend. He’s been by my pit and I said “Roger; do you need any help?” and he’ll let you know if you can help. It’s just a great experience. A lot of cars, a lot of racing and it’s a good family environment. After the races you can come down and meet racers from all over the United States. It’s like our own Knoxville Nationals!! I think there’s a great group of racers that show up every year to give the fans a fantastic show. That alone is an experience for a fan to watch. It’s great racing; side by side. I wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for my sponsors; getting me through the season and then getting me down to Eagle. I know there’s drivers who don’t have sponsors and they’re working out of their own pockets. This year we’re going to take a break from our regular racing and attend more shows at Eagle before the Nationals and try to make Darren and Dylon happy by coming down to Eagle a couple times a month.