Questions with Eddie Companion Jr
1. How long have you been involved in motorsports?
I went to Catamount and Thunder Road as soon as I was born (1980). In the late 80's, both my parents worked for ACT, my mom working the front ticket booth at Airborne, my dad was Technical Inspector. My dad pit crewed for Brett Wheeler's then Flying Tiger car. I hung around the shop alot, then my dad took a job working for Brian and Doug Hoar. I pretty much grew up on that team, staying for about 7 years before I started racing street stock in 1998.
2. What is your earliest memory in motorsports
I remember getting to take a go-kart around Catamount before it was closed. I have pictures with Tom Curley mowing the lawn in the background. It was pretty cool.
3.Do you see motorsports gaining in poplularity or will it start to decline as people get bored with it?
I guess it depends, with corporate greed growing everyday, Nascar could very well bite itself in the butt and see a decline. Its important for them not to forget how and why they built the empire that is nascar today. I don't think motorsports can ever get boring, but if Nascar starts pulling dates from the tracks that MADE Nascar then they could very well see a decline.
4. What is the best race you have ever seen live?
I haven't seen that many races live as far as nascar, but I did get to catch the Rockingham spring race in 2002 and I thought that was quite an experience. I think there has been too many great races at Thunder Road to count, but the Milkbowl is always the best.
5. Do you think NASCAR running Winston Cup races has an effect on the attendance of local short tracks across the USA?
If anything it gets people involved in either watching the sport, or being involved in it. I think people will start checking out their local short tracks, or they should anyways.
6. If you were in charge of NASCAR but could only make one change, what change would that be?
I would drop all super speedways and road courses and only leave the Daytona 500.
7. What advice would you give to a young driver looking to get into racing?
It takes money, even in an entry level division, but if you are committed I highly recommend it. Start buying things early like tools, maybe a truck, then a trailer, and a good car that has been raced before. Once you gain some racing knowledge, then you can get into building your own cars. So many times you will want to give up or quit your rookie year. Don't.
8. How did you get involved in motorsports?
Basically just traveling with my dad, like I said, he's bounced around a few teams, and me getting to follow him around when I was young was a great learning experience.
9. In your honest opinion... what's the best race track in the world? What is the worst?
I love Bristol on a Nascar level, but local short track, Thunder Road is unbeatable. I have had many generations of family members who have raced at Thunder Road, and the history alone keeps me coming back. Plus I love the fact that the track scares some people. I love it. Worst track? Pocono. Its the most ridiculous waste of good land I have ever seen.
10. Do you think the internet has helped people get information about racing or do you think it is just a vast wasteland of sites full of rumors and lies?
It depends. As I have learned, the internet is a very powerful tool, use it wisely. Its too easy to get up on a soapbox, but not a very good idea. I am on the internet constantly, and you can get info right away, thats what I like, just be careful.
11. You can have dinner with anyone in motorsports ( living or dead) , who would you chose? Why?
Honestly I think I could have a million questions for Tom Curley. He has certainly built something great in the northeast, and hes seen alot more then I have. I have alot of respect for what he does, and what he built, I think I would like to hear some of the ways he got to where he is today.
12.What is your opinion on "bending" the rules and working in that grey area of a rulebook? What about out and out cheating and disreguard for the rules?
I mean with an ACT rulebook, its hard to find a gray area. In any division. But what I have been told, the Busch North rulebook has alot of gray areas. My theory is, if you dont clarify, then infact it is a gray area. If your not searching, your competition is, and beating you. The word "Spec" comes up alot now a days, and I think it is the best thing for the sport. I dont like blatant cheating (i.e. engine mods, tire work, suspension work). I think its certainly wrong and shameful. But I dont think its right when you get disqualified for something that isnt illegal either.
13. Its the last lap of a dream race.... who are the drivers and at what track would you like to see them battle it out?
Davey Allison, Dale Earnhardt Sr., Jeff Gordon, Brian Hoar, Junior Hanley, and myself at Thunder Road
14. What is the one thing you wish more fans would know about motorsports? How could they possibly learn that one thing?
That racing a car isnt easy. I was a "grandstand driver" well before I got into it, then once I started driving I had a whole new respect for the drivers and teams. Its hard to learn a lesson like that without driving on the tracks themselves, but I figure if someone thinks they can do it better, buy a car and get involved.
15. How do you think racing has managed to keep a somewhat wholesome imagine while other major sports have what seems to be endless scandals involving drugs, crime, etc?
There is scandals, there is crime, and there is certainly drugs, alot of the time people dont hear about it. The difference is though, Nascar and/or smaller outfits are preoccupied alot of the time with preparing, qualifying, practicing, and racing. I believe that the less down time anyone has, the less they can get themselves in trouble. Besides racecar drivers dont make the obscene amount of money that pro sports athletes make.
16. What could be done in racing to get it more diverse as far as minority involvement?
I dont know if there is a way. I mean if you single minorities out like that, they will feel alienated. But I mean if there was more drivers that were minorities, it would certainly draw a more diverse crowd. Look at Yao Ming in basketball. He draws big with the asian crowd at his home games. Almost 13%.
17. What do you think about Imported car manufactors getting into major league auto racing in the USA?
I love import cars. My street cars have been "souped up" import cars for the last 5 years. The quality can not be matched. But in NASCAR, I am very unsure. I like the idea of the crowd it could bring, but I love "good ole American NASCAR" as well.
18. Your choice.... one ticket to a big league NASCAR race or a seasons pass to your favorite local short track... which would you chose and why?
Bristol, I promised I would see a show there before I die and I mean it. The track is unreal, and its definetly a "real drivers" track.
19.Where do you see yourself in 5 years as far as motorsports goes?
Who knows, I cant see myself in 5 minutes. I hope to be more successful, but goals aren't for me. Take it as it comes and you will never be disappointed.
20. When you want a break from the world of motorsports, what are some of the things you like to do?
Yeah breaks are certainly nice, but hard to get. I like to hang out with my friends, we try to travel and see new places. I live in downtown Burlington and there is a ton of things to do in the summer. I like to stay moving.