The Influence of Dad, Part 1
Updated: Jun 14, 2019
It’s Father’s Day on Sunday, and a common theme I hear from racers I talk to is what an important role their fathers have played. So several drivers from the region submitted comments talking about that influence.
There will be two separate blogs, another will come out on Friday. Here is Part 1:
Rich Pavlicek (#174 IMCA Modified, Casselton, N.D., on his father, Steve “Duffer” Pavlicek
“He still is my greatest influence and my hero as a racer. He worked his tail off to be able to do it. Respect.”
Megan Blomgren (#44 Wissota Street Stock, Eagle Bend, Minn.)
“My dad has always been there for me and is my best friend that I look up to. He has believed in me and told me I can do anything I set my mind to. I never in a million years thought I would be behind the wheel of a race car. Every step of the way he has supported me to be a better driver, helping me learn how to take care of the car mechanically and work on making a better pass on the track. He knows how to read and adjust the car so I have a better grasp when I go out on the track. Without him I would never have set foot on the racetrack and I am thankful every day for this experience he has given me.”
Tyler Hall (#60 IMCA Modified, Fertile, Minn.)
“I for one wouldn’t be where I am today had my dad not raced back in the day...grew up watching him race mod 4 out at BRRP they still play the same songs when we pull out on the track as they did back then..he still works with me on the car pretty much everyday of the week.. I would just like to say how grateful I am for all he’s done for me.”
Kaitlyn Skalicky (#8JR INEX Legend, Fargo, N.D.)
To say that my dad has been the biggest influence on my racing career would almost be an understatement. He is the reason I ever sat in my very first gokart and fell in love with the sport of racing. I still remember the days where he helped me strap my helmet and remind me to get on the gas a little harder (haha)! After 7+ years in the gokart, the opportunity to race a Legend came around. He can be my biggest critic, but also my biggest fan. All he has ever wanted for me was to succeed and have fun. I will always look up to him for being a great racer, a great track promoter, and a great Dad / friend. I wouldn’t be where I am today without him. Thank you, Dad, I love you!
Austin Lammers (#33 Short Tracker, Pelican Rapids, Minn.)
“My dad didn’t exactly get me into racing, to be honest he was actually against me getting a race car, but from a very young age my dad did instill a love for cars in me. It was that love for cars that got me into racing, because of my father I loved being in a shop and tinkering with anything I could. When I bought my first race car I worked on it in a friend’s shop because my dad ‘wasn’t going to be working on a race car all the time.’ That lasted about a month before he said OK bring that thing home let's get it done. Ever sense then we have grown our relationship and created some of the best memories I have with my dad all because we work on that race car all the time. THANKS DAD!”
Brittany Smith (#5 Wissota Street Stock, St. Joseph, Minn., also defending Wissota Hornet national champ)
“I would not be racing if it wasn’t for my father. I grew up at the track watching my dad race, but I never thought the day would come where I’d be behind the wheel. That day came in 2016, my dad asked if I’d be interested and racing an enduro car he built in Brainerd one night. From my first night, in his old suit and dirty Nikes, I knew I was hooked. I couldn’t thank my dad enough for the countless hours he spends on the cars and the amount of support he gives me on and off the track. I would not be where I am without him. Happy Father’s day, I love you Dad.”
Tim Compson (#49 IMCA Stock Car, Valley City, N.D.)
“My dad was supposed to race his first race the day I was born. He worked all summer building his car, them I came along the first night he was going to race it.. I grew up around it during an awesome time. Guys built their own stuff back them. Spend all winter designing and building their cars. I gravitated towards it and it was always a dream of mine to race when I got old enough.”
Chase Boen (#48 Wissota Street Stock, Karlstad, Minn.)
"The greatest influence on my racing career was/still is my dad! My dad raced outlaw streets during the 90s and put racing in my blood. The past four years have created memories that no one can take from us! He is the hardest worker I know and I have always looked up to him!! He busts his tail off on my car and I cannot thank him enough!!”
MiKara Johanson (#16 Pure Stock, Edmore, N.D.)
Without my dad, my car would never see the track and I would have never started racing. He puts my car in front of his every week and makes sure my car is race ready before he even touches or looks at his. When I was at college this past year (August to May) my dad would be the one that would work on my car during the week, when I never once asked him to. I would come home on weekends and do as much as I could do but other than that, I owe it all to him. I also probably would have never been interested in racing if it wasn’t for him bringing me to the track when I was younger and now it is the one thing I absolutely love doing and it has brought some of the best people into my life that I know will be forever friends.
Scott Sailer (Owner of #76 IMCA Sport Mods driven by his son Reile and daughter Gwen)
“To try and sum up how my Dad (Bob Sailer) influenced my racing career in a paragraph is damn near impossible, but I'll try to keep it short.
“It began when I was about 10 or 11 years old in the mid-'80s. My Dad would bring me into the pits at Red River Valley Speedway during the Minn-Kota years. We were on #84 Greg Johnson's Hobby Stock crew. We had matching red polo shirts and my Mom sewed me a pair of white pants to wear. I was one of the very few kids in the pits at the time walking around with all the adults and top local drivers of the day. It didn't take long and I knew that the race track was my home. My Dad and I would venture out together every Friday night to the track and create a ton of great memories.
"In my teens, we began working at Buffalo River Speedway making many circles in the Dodge water truck with no brakes. I'd help back him up to the water pump to fill the tank, fetch liquid refreshments for him and the other workers, and pick rocks out of the track. It was a fun job every Sunday.
"It wasn't until 2002 that I had an opportunity to drive a race car myself. It was 'perfect timing.' My wife, Darcy, was pregnant with our second child (Gwen). But if it wasn't for my Dad, I wouldn't have been able to put the whole deal together. He helped me every step of the way.
"A short while later, my son, Reile, began kart racing. Again, my Dad was always there - never missing a race and helping us in the pits.
:In 2010, we began production of the TV show, “The Racing Life.” My Dad would drive us all over the state to the next track to follow a driver for the night. It was a thrill for him. Sometimes he'd inadvertently make it on the show by being in the background video. We called it, “Spot the Bob.” He really enjoyed being a part of the show and was even interviewed on episode 9 of season 1. (Watch: https://youtu.be/rclb1nvlvJQ)
"He came along with me the same year to a meeting of karting Dads. Together, we all formed the Red River Kart Club. He helped at the kart track as much as he could - mowing the lawn and never expected anything in return. That's the way he was.
"In 2013, he suffered a heart attack. He was in rough shape and missed Reile & Gwen's races for the first time. While he was recovering in ICU, still hooked up to hoses and wires, he made a steering wheel motion with his hands to indicate that he wanted to know how they did at the track. You know he missed racing. He eventually made it out of the hospital and back home after a couple of weeks. A week later, he felt that he'd recovered enough to come to the kart track to watch Reile and Gwen race. He never made it. He passed away quietly while waiting in his chair to go to the races.
"Since then, I think about him just about every day, especially at the track, wishing he was there to watch Reile and Gwen race against each other in their SportMods. He would've loved to have seen that.
"When I was a part of the reopening of Red River Valley Speedway back in 2016, I couldn't help but think of my Dad a lot. He would've done anything for the track, me, or my kids. And again, never expecting a thing in return. He was proud just to be a part of local racing - and he passed that on to me. "
Happy Father's Day! - Scott Sailer