Interrogation by Gary "Hammerdown" Costa
Bob Statler; Through a father's eyes.
Bob, how are we doing my friend!?
Bob: Great, I'm really excited about the 2005 racing season.
Before I begin, I would like to offer my congratulations to all who are associated with Statler Motorsports on a tremendous 2004 season....
Bob: Thanks Gary, it was a culmination of everything the team has learned over the years.
Give us a little background on you.....
Bob: Raced go-karts as a kid, tore up a lot of tires street racing as a teenager and crewed on an asphalt Supermodified at the old San Jose Speedway on Tully Road. Jason and I messed around with dirt bikes, atv's, bmx, micro midgets and finally the 410 Sprints. There's something about the aroma of methanol mixed with a little rubber and dirt, it is hypnotic.
I feel ya! The kid ain't doing too bad is he?
Bob: Jason had a great 2004 season, we are all very pleased about what was accomplished, he won features in winged 360 and 410 Sprinters and had a couple of top fours running non-winged with USAC/CRA. The GSC Championship was really the biggie, that was the main goal.
How does it feel to be the Father of The King Of California!?
Bob: Felt real good at the GSC banquet, or was that the beer? Seriously, I'm very proud of my son, but I've always been very proud of him. He's a stand up guy, that is what's important.
The chemistry between Jason and Mark Bristow is a sight to behold.....
Bob: Mark and Jason have really come into their own both individually and as a team. They each seem to know what the other is thinking. Jason trusts and has confidence in Marks calls. Geez, they are even starting to look alike!
Let me rewind for a moment..... When Jason made the jump from Micros to Sprint Cars in '89, what were you feeling that first race?
Bob: Dazed and confused, I had virtually no experience with dirt Sprint Cars, and the rest of the crew (the Leigh High School Varsity Football team) had even less. I thought we may have bitten off more than we could chew.
It hasn't been an easy road has it.....
Bob: That first year, we had no experience, no money, no spares and no brains, but we just wouldn't quit. We would rent a car trailer on friday, load the race car on Saturday, and return the trailer on Monday. That was the pattern we followed all that first year. We had to repair nerf bars rather than buy new ones, our wings were rebuilt not replaced. Soon people realized that we were there for the long haul and began to help out. I've always taught Jason that what you get out of things depends on what you put in.
A few up's and downs along the way?
Bob: Up's and downs, or do you mean upside downs? There have been some of those along the way. I've always said-what don't kill you makes you better. Racers have bad luck streaks as well as good luck streaks. The up's and downs are just part of the game. If you can't accept that you better do something else.
When Jason is in a slump, or gets down on himself, what are some of the things you do to keep him going?
Bob: I try to focus him on the positive things. You can usually find something positive to talk about even when you're in a slump. When you're deep in a funk it helps to look at the big picture not the little one-in other words look at the whole season, not just a couple of races. If that doesn't work I usually go try to hide somewhere, I'd hate to have him after me!!!
Yeah, you and me both!!!!!! Sprint Car racing is an intense deal. When Jason is out there lining up for a heat race for example, what's going through your head?
Bob: I look over the field, see how many cars he has to pass or beat to transfer, and see the squirrels that could bite him. Most of all I want to see a clean safe race.
Unfortunately there are the dangers associated with the sport too. How do you handle that?
Bob: You live with them, that's all you can do. Anybody that thinks the sport is safe has got their head someplace where the sun don't shine.
OK, let's switch gears...... Were you at the Santa Maria Outlaw win?
Bob: No, Carolyn and I were visiting some friends in the hills overlooking Lake Oroville. There was no phone, so we didn't hear about it until Sunday afternoon. We were ticked off to say the least, your sons biggest win and we were roasting weenies out in the boonies.
In your opinion, how tough do you think the competition is out here on the West Coast?
Bob: Tough!!! Whether it is 360, 410, wing, non-wing, the top 10 drivers in each group could make a living racing in other parts of the country.
I couldn't agree with you more Bob! I mean, we have some really talented drivers out here. Your son obviously being one of them.....
Bob: Thanks for saying that Gary. I think that there are a lot of talented drivers out there that may not get a chance to show their stuff. The left coast needs to get it together and come up with a logical progression for the young ones to take as they move up. Imagine having a bunch of talent and not having a way to showcase it.
Where do you hope to see Jason at in 5 years?
Bob: I'd like to see him living happily in Grass Valley with Stephanie and a couple of kids. Oh, and also be a 5-time King of California.
Any advice for any of the Fathers out there, that are getting their kids into racing?
Bob: Make a plan, stick to it, have access to a lot of money, cause it ain't cheap. Most of all support your kids. Participate in whatever sport they want to become involved in.
Anything else you would like to share, that we haven't touched on?
Bob: I'd just like to thank all the friends, crews, racers, sponsors, girlfriends and wives that have helped us out along the way, we couldn't have done it without you!!!! I'd also like to thank all the "Hosers" for what they are doing for the racers. They are a rare group of people that stand out above the crowd.
I am honored that you let me "Interrogate" you. From one bald guy to another, thank you!
Bob: Thanks for wanting my perspective, that's cool. Just remember, I may be older than you, but you're better looking.
Not sure about that one my friend, I'm pretty ugly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
To keep on the latest news regarding Jason Statler, be sure to visit them on the web at www.StatlerRacing.com
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