US Karting News TM
“Trackwalks” with Aaron Stanford
Aaron Stanford is certifiably “Kart Crazy” ! Whether he’s doing 90+ mph down the straight of a west coast road course, or wearing a head set while keeping a watchful eye as race director over a Gold Cup regional event. He seems most at home around kart racing.
But for all of his accomplishments in karting, we’ve been most impressed with the way in which he’s directed racing, and handled racers this past season. We caught up with Aaron recently, where else but at the track, and took the opportunity to find out a little more about this dedicated karter.
USKN: Aaron, obviously you’re a very busy guy. With a full time job outside of karting, a full road race schedule, and race directing NW Gold Cup events on your off weekends. How do you keep it together, while getting it all done?
AS: That’s a very good question. Not sure how to answer that. When there's no racing going on, we try and spend the weekends doing family things with the kids. It’s difficult at times with all the kids but we make it work. We go camping or find things in town to do. Anything from slumber party's with the kids to dinner and movies out. It all seems to work out somehow. Never a dull moment in this house!
USKN: Have you enjoyed race directing the Nw Gold Cup series this year?
AS: I have, it keeps me busy, but I have no complaints. The racers have been great, and for the most part they have worked with me when controversial issues arose.
USKN: How did you find your way into karting in the first place?
AS: My father started racing go-karts in the early 60”s. I was raised around go-karts. I went to a lot of the races with my dad. On some of the off weekends we would run the go-kart at John Muir Elementary School. I would do laps on the lower playground while my dad would give me driving tips. My actual first race was at the Marysville street race when I was fifteen years old. My mom and dad had been divorced for awhile. I was living with my dad and decided I wanted to try racing, which I wasn't allowed to do when living with my mom. She was afraid I might get hurt. Imagine that… My first race was all it took for me to see that I wanted to race karts. And my racing career started there.
USKN: You’re a committed Shifter Guy; you’ve competed and won at both the regional and national levels. Do you see shifters returning to prominence?
AS: With the economy the way it is. I believe any stock class will do well relative to other, more exotic classes. And yes I believe the shifter classes for the most part are making a comeback. Look at stock honda it’s a cheap form of racing where everyone is equal with limited modifications allowed, this let’s the drivers make the bigger difference, not the motor. I think “stock” anything is going to be a key factor in kart racing going forward.
USKN: With your position as a sprint kart race director, and actively road racing you get a bird’s eye view of competitive karting here in the Northwest. How do you think the industry is doing from a driver participation standpoint?
AS: The industry of karting hasn't really changed much from a drivers standpoint. Things go up in price, just like in life. These days it’s about the money really, how much do I have to spend, and how much is it going to cost.
USKN: Has the economy affected one series more than the other?
AS: I believe road racing has been affected the most by the economy. In road racing we must rent the tracks that we race on. The prices just keep going up each year which makes it harder to keep the sport affordable for the average family. In the sprints much of the racing still takes place at the clubs. This helps keep costs down for them, it makes a big difference for sure.
USKN: Are there changes you’d like to see going forward that might improve the overall state of kart racing in the Northwest? Any you’d be willing to discuss?
AS: I would really like to see the road courses work with the road race clubs on pricing of the tracks. Find a middle ground where the facility makes a modest profit, and the clubs are able to pass those savings through to the racers in the form of cheaper entry fees. I would also like to see one gold cup series where all racers can run all the sprint tracks we have available to us. Instead of the alternative, multiple series which ultimately lowers kart counts for all the races.
USKN: So Aaron, you’ve been racing how long?
AS: I have been racing go-karts for 23 yrs. I have sprint raced. But most of my time has been spent road racing.
USKN: And how long do you plan on continuing?
AS: I will continue to race until I am unable to drive a kart.... but even if I can’t race anymore I will find a way to be a part of kart racing somehow.
USKN: Any future plans in karting other than just racing and directing?
AS: I would like to get more into promoting the sport. Find potential sponsors of races or race series.
USKN: Any announcements yet for the 2011 season?
AS: Nothing major yet. Still seeking sponsorship, so I can continue to afford racing.
USKN: There must be some people and/or organizations who help you keep your program going. Could you mention a few?
AS: My dad is a huge part of my racing. Out of 23 years he has only missed like 3 races ever. Lisa Krager my girlfriend motivates me to keep racing even when times are hard. She believes in what I do. That's a huge thing to have in my corner and life.
Some sponsors I have, help make racing a lot easier:
Nos energy drink
Dumonde tech racing oils
Paul Hawkes/over lake oils
NGK spark plugs
Those are a few who help keep me going in the racing community.
USKN: Aaron, thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Keep up the good work !
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