Interrogation by Gary "Hammerdown" Costa
No B.S.with B.F.
Bill Foland BF, what's happening!
BF: Not much, just getting ready for a new racing season.
Can you give the fans a little background about you....
BF: Well, I sell parts for Kaeding Performance and travel to all the Golden State races with the parts trailer to take care of the racers. I also enjoy taking a ride in a race car every now and then when my schedule permits me to.
What are your daily duties at Kaeding Performance?
BF: I do just about everything there from shipping and receiving to working the counter, pumping fuel...etc. Whatever needs to be done on a daily basis.
You're father, Burt Foland was a gasser back in the day.
BF: My dad had most of his success before I was old enough to enjoy seeing it. He won the Johnny Key race twice, the BCRA midget Championship twice and won 100's of main events in Super Modifieds, Sprints and Midgets. He could win on dirt and pavement. But I guess he is mainly known for his exploits on the old Tully Road San Jose Speedway Asphalt oval.
Any stories that you would like to share about him?
BF: I guess the best story I can remember about him (and there are many) was the time he won his 2nd Johnny Key race, he came from 3 laps down!!! Can you imagine that? It was 150 laps back then and he made up those laps and won the race, that to me is amazing. I guess another would be the time he drove Ollie Johnson's midget in a USAC midget race at San Jose Speedway and battled Tommy Astone (who was driving my dad's former ride, the London #4) for 100 laps to take the win. My dad raced well into his 50's and won main events in the 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's. He never officially retired so maybe he will be making a comeback again here soon.....
Besides your father, who was your hero growing up?
BF: I would have to say that I had two hero's other than my dad and they would be Bob Miller and Brent Kaeding. They let me hang around and helped me learn the part of racing I had no idea about....the technical side. For that I will always be grateful to both of them and now it is my livelihood. Bob Miller is the most giving person you could ever come across, I would do anything for him. It is truly unbelievable that Bob isn't in the Sprint Car Hall of Fame yet. That man gave everything he had to this sport and he should be recognized for it. Brent has always been there for me since I was a young man until now and he has given me the opportunity to make myself better and has helped me achieve my goal of becoming a race car driver too.
You're a voting member for the National Sprint Car Poll. How do you guys decide who is Rookie of the year, driver of the year, etc,.
BF: Actually you nominate a few people in the different categories, then you vote on them after the nominations come out.
How did you get selected to be a voting member?
BF: Probably because I used to write a column for Bobby Gerould's HammerDownUSA.com.com and HoseHeads. I met Tom Schmeh at Knoxville one year and he asked me and I said yes.
You have won the prestigious Dave Bradway, Jr. Inspirational award. Can you explain to the fans what the award signifies, and what it means to you?
BF: To me, that award will always be special, because Jr. was the ultimate racer, he loved racing, loved life, loved the fans and the racers all the same. He was truly a great man and he is sorely missed. When I won the Award in Reno a few years ago, I have to admit that I couldn't understand why I won it, but it was so shocking to hear someone talking about me and showing me on the big screen, that I was overcome with emotion and could hardly speak when I got to the podium. To say I was honored is a huge understatement. It is my most treasured memory of my life.
Tell us about the racing you've done so far?
BF: I have only driven a handful of races in a midget on dirt and probably 10 Sprint Car races of Pavement. Both are very fun but so much different. On the pavement, you have to keep the car so straight and steady and make sure you don't break the tires loose. On the dirt, you are up on the wheel at all times, sawing it back and forth, it really gets your attention. The Midget react so much quicker than the Pavement Sprint Car, but I love to race them both.
"The Hogs" What makes them so successful?
BF: Well I actually haven't worked on Brent's race cars for a few years now, but the reason they are successful is the fact that everybody knows what their job is and it gets done. Now they have two cars so it makes it that much more impressive to see them in action. Brent is a master motivator, he will get the best out of you and treats you well so you want to come back for the next race.
What does it take to be a Hog?
BF: You just have to give it your all and be ready to go the extra mile at any time. They are all pretty good guys, even though some people are intimidated to approach them.
How is Billy Albini doing?
BF: Billy is doing very well, except for the fact that he still hasn't been able to eat food since last May. The Cancer is gone but he really wants to be able to eat and of course have a beer with the boys!!!
What's the biggest challenge for you in racing and why?
BF: I would have to say driving, because it has been frustrating at times but also very enjoyable. Anybody that has ever strapped themselves in a race car has my utmost respect.
What's your personal plans for yourself racing wise. For the little you've raced, you've sure shown a ton of promise.
BF: Thanks, I appreciate that. I actually don't have any plans for this year yet. I would like to drive my dad's Beast Sprint Car but he has so many irons in the fire right now, it will be tough. I would enjoy driving a midget again, I really liked it, I would also like to be able to drive a Winged Sprint Car or a Spec Sprint.
What can be done to keep costs down?
BF: Racing costs money, it always will and it is becoming more apparent that not everybody including myself can do it out of pocket. The weight rule isn't a big factor because people still have the lightweight component and bolt weight on. The tire rule is good in California, it evens the playing field.
You mentioned to me, that you would run anything, so that tells me that you have a competitive nature......
BF: Ya, I started late in life so I want to try every kind of race car that I can. I have always been competitive. I played baseball when I was younger and I couldn't stand to lose. I have taken that with me to racing. I have done my share of losing in racing, it sucks, but it makes it that much sweeter when you win. You took a vicious flip in a midget.
How hard is that to put out of your mind as a driver, and not be afraid to stick it in there?
BF: I haven't been back in a race car since I crashed at Watsonville. But I know the next day, I knew I wanted to get back into a race car whenever I can. I am not a quitter, never have been, you have to put that part of it out of your mind, cause if you think about it when you are racing, you might as well not even be out there.
Has your confidence ever been shaken?
BF: Ya sure, but I learned quickly to try to do my best and not step over the line. The race car will only go as far as you want it to go. I tried to push it too far a couple of times and it bit me. I learn something every time I get into a race car.
If you could race anything, what would it be?
BF: A winged 410 Sprint Car
What's your career highlight been so far?
BF: I haven't had too many, but I guess when I won Trophy Dash at Carson City and a couple of heat race wins at USAC Western States races.
How about your lowest?
BF: Crashing trying to qualify at Turkey Night a few years ago. I had to convince myself that I wanted to do it again after that. I am glad that I kept with it.
With all your travels up and down the highways and byways, I know you have a ton of stories. Care to share some memorable ones?
BF: Don't know if I can on here, you never know who is reading this stuff, but let's just say that I have had the time of my life at or on the way to the races. (As well as after the races).
Where do you hope to see yourself 5 years from now?
BF: I just hope that I am healthy and I have a chance to race full time somewhere.
Any misconceptions you would like to comment on?
BF: I don't know, I think I am an open book, what you see is what you get with me. I will tell you what is on my mind and I hope that I have the respect of my peers.
Are we ever going to see a return of BF's BS?
BF: You never know, I have been threatening to write a new column, maybe this will be my inspiration to do it again.
Finally, I want to thank you for taking the time, and letting us fans to get to know you better. I wish you the best of luck with whatever you choose to do this season....
BF: Thanks, I appreciate the chance to respond to your questions and I wish you the best with this and everything you have going this year. I hope to see you all at the races this coming year and don't be afraid to come up to me and say hi.
You got it BF!
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