This weekend, just after we watch the big royal wedding, we’ll be hanging out with kings.
We’re heading up to Shawano on Saturday for the first official race of the Dirt Kings Late Model Tour’s second season.
I watched with great fascination as my friends Sandy and Jason Schultz and their daughter Katelynn built a whole late model car racing season from the ground up last year.
They designed the brand, recruited sponsors, secured licenses, booked tracks, signed drivers, wrote press releases and hosted the races.
Their inaugural season proved to be a great success by all standards. It included nine events on eight different dirt tracks across the state of Wisconsin, with 58 different drivers competing for the title of King. They averaged 28 cars per race and, eventually crowned six kings.
I worried about everything for them last season — the weather, the safety, the expense, while they calmly took care of every detail. Their Tour turned out to be the fastest growing dirt series in the Midwest and last season they attracted more than 23,000 fans.
It helps that both Sandy and Jason have the perfect combination of marketing and racing expertise, and that their precocious daughter Katelynn shares both their interest and photography skills.
Sandy grew up around race tracks and, according to her bio, used to help her dad, former racer Bob Abitz, work on his race car “handing him wrenches and helping him change tires.”
She and Jason met at a Nascar Midwest Tour race in 2001. Both have worked as tech inspectors and, apparently, neither needs much sleep.
We’re pretty excited to see them in action Saturday at the Gehm’s Club 117 Kings Classic at the Shawano Speedway.
Maybe we’ll see you there.