Questions with Justin St Louis, ACT Street Stock driver and 2003 Flying
1. How long have you been involved in motorsports?
I've been going to races since Ma carried me to Catamount in the womb. My dad started racing a Pinto at Thunder Road in 1993, then I worked with John Adams and Terry Pearce for a couple of seasons. When I turned 16, we started talking about getting me into a Street Stock, and by the time I finished my junior year in high school in 2000, I was already a rookie winner.
2. What is your earliest memory in motorsports
The first really clear memory I have of racing was in 1987 when Beaver Dragon flipped down the fronstretch at Catamount. I remember everyone just sitting there silent in the stands waiting for him to crawl out, and I remeber seeing the wreck on American Sports Cavalcade when we got home.
3.Do you see motorsports gaining in poplularity or will it start to decline as people get bored with it?
There is no way anybody can get bored with racing. If you've ever been to a stock car race, you know what I mean.
4. What is the best race you have ever seen live?
The 1994 Memorial Day Classic at Thunder Road. The asphalt was brand new, and Ralph Nason was flying. Everyone, everywhere hates Ralph Nason, and did he ever get booed. He was challenging for the lead and hit the wall, so he was out of contention. How they cheered! Then Dennis Demers and Dave Dion went at it for a while, and they ended sliding through the infield grass in Turn 3 battling for the lead. A few laps later, Dion started sliding back, and he finally got dumped by Dave Whitlock. Whitlock came up through, passed Demers for the lead, then Derek Lynch passed Whitlock. Beaver Dragon and Claude Leclerc came up through, and it was a great finish. All that happened in the final 20 laps.
5. Do you think NASCAR running Winston Cup races has an effect on the attendence of local short tracks across the USA?
If it does, it shouldn't. If you stay home to watch a race on TV when you have the option of going to a short track and seeing the real thing, then you're foolish. There is nothing more exciting than seeing Tigers broadsliding through Turn 4. You NEED to see this stuff.
6. If you were in charge of NASCAR but could only make one change, what change would that be?
Get rid of Texas, add another short track race.
7. What advice would you give to a young driver looking to get into racing?
Make sure you've got a big bank account, you'll need it right around July.
8. How did you get invovled in motorsports?
My dad really got me into it, from the time I was two or three. He used to make me little paper race cars, and he'd color them up like Robbie Crouch, Jamie Aube, Jean-Paul Cabana, it was great.
9. In your honest opinion... whats the best race track in the world? What is the worst?
The best race track I've ever been to is Thunder Road. You just don't see racing that good anywhere else. The best rack I've raced on would probably have to be Canaan. That place has three grooves, and it's the smoothest track I've ever been on. The worst track I've been to is probably Adirondack. The track itself is beautfiul, but there is no such thing as a rule book or a procedure there. We ran Jerry Winch's Tiger against the Late Models in practice, and then raced against the Renegades in the feature on the same day. Ridiculous.
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?
Of course it's full of rumors and lies, that's why my website is up! The internet is great for getting information, especially locally with sites like Outside Groove. It's also a great source of entertainment for those that get involved in the websites, and it creates a lot of hype about our races, both positive and sometimes negative.
11. You can have dinner with anyone in motorsports ( living or dead) , who would you chose? Why?
Robby Gordon. I just want to ask him what his problem is. He's my hero. GO #31!!!
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?
We cheated with our cylinder head for the first half of our first season and we finished second in a race at Thunder Road. Then after six guys got tossed for having cheated heads we switched to a completely stock engine and won a race by half a lap. Cheating is not only risky, it doesn't make that big of a difference. If you want to cheat, go ahead, but I've beaten lots of cars with a $300 junkyard motor.
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?
Did you see Darlington? Ricky Craven and the evil Kurt Busch... it doesn't get any better.
14. What is the one thing you wish more fans would know about motorsports? How could they possibly learn that one thing?
I think true fans of racing understand what needs to be understood, and new fans will eventually figure it all out and appreciate the sport from all sides. What I wish is that people that disregard racing as a legitimate sport would give it a chance. We spend a lot money and pour a lot of effort and sometimes even blood to finish 1st or 2nd or 16th or 30th. Try 50 laps without power steering, I dare ya. This is as much a sport as football, hockey, golf, or skeeball.
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?
I honestly don't know. There have been a few minor problems in the past, and I've seen some drug problems even within local racing, but it seems to be limited to just a few of the same people. I think most racers are just too busy to want to be involved with that kind of lifestyle.
16. What could be done in racing to get it more diverse as far as minority involvement?
I think what NASCAR is doing is on the right track (and that's the last time you'll ever hear me say that). Willy T. Ribbs is a champion road racer. Carlos Contreras is, too. Bill Lester would be great if he was in better equipment. Nelly owns a truck team, and that will hopefully spark a lot of interest. I think there aren't many minorities involved with racing around here simply because of the demographic we're in.
17. What do you think about Imported car manufactors getting into major league auto racing in the USA?
It's a beautiful thing. Toyota makes and sells more cars in the US than anyone else, why shouldn't they race? I hear Nissan wants to get into truck racing. Good! Toyotas kick but in the Dash Series and NHRA, they should be in Cup and Trucks too. The new starter division ACT created is awesome. I've got a VW Rabbit that I want to build for my crew to race.
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?
I'd want an LCT season's pass so I could get across the ferry to Airborne for free. I'll gladly pay for my pit pass.
19.Where do you see yourself in 5 years as far as motorsports goes?
I hope that in five years I'll be starting my first or second year in the Late Model divison. We've got a lot to learn in the Tigers, and we're probably going to take our time.
20. When you want a break from the world of motorsports, what are some of the things you like to do?
Go over to someone's house, lean on their race car, watch them work on it, and eat a sandwich. That's the good life.