Over the course of the next few weeks, several drivers will be featured on the Lebanon I-44 and Monett Speedway website. Drivers spend their offseason working out the kinks of the previous season, sometimes mentally, physically and especially mechanically. Some are moving to new classes, while others are exploring new options in their respective classes. This section will hold updates on some of your favorite speedway drivers. * Drivers are being contacted as time allows and as driver availability permits.
Brandon McCormick, 42, Late Model Driver Brandon McCormick outlined his off-season in one word: relax. Brandon said charging onto racetracks around the Midwest for nearly 7 months straight can leave a person pretty uptight and he is spending his time off soaking up his free time. Brandon said his weekends are quieter without the roar of an engine; if he is doing anything, it is spending time with friends and family. His off-season is also giving him a chance to devote more time to his job with Daryl Capps Autosales. He said after his last race of the 2005 season, he put his cars in the garage and didn't touch them for a month.
2006 racing season plans: Brandon will continue running in the Mid America Racing Series circuit, after finishing 10th in the 2005 points race. Car status: Brandon will run with two cars in 2006, keeping one car as a spare. Right now, both cars are stripped with the chassis being tweaked by his builder, Phillips GRT. Brandon said he has constructed four bodies for his two cars - enough to have a spare for each. He said the only real time spent on his cars is on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, where he is, in his words, only "piddling."
Best Christmas present: driving shoes made by Nike. Racing quote of the day: "You get the itch," Brandon said. "You want to go fast or slide something sideways." Did you know?: Brandon likes to cook and listed pork chops, steak and spaghetti as his more frequent meals. Don't ask him to bake anything, though. Brandon said his attempt to make a loaf of bread turned into a lump similar in consistency to a "hockey puck."
Brian Schutt, 15s, Late Model Driver Brian "Shooter" Schutt said he doesn't quite know what to do with himself when he isn't chasing positions on a race track. "In the off-season, we're kind of lost," Brian said about he and his wife, Rachel. Brian said he has spent the majority of the off-season getting "ahead of the game," tweaking his cars and preparing to go full-throttle for the 2006 season.
2006 racing season plans: "We're going gung-ho to try and win a championship," Brian said. Brian's biggest change for the upcoming season is the purchase of a new truck with a sleeper to haul his trailer. He said the truck can allow himself and his team to attend bigger shows and not have to worry about overnight accommodations. He plans going to bigger shows such as the Show Me 100 and the World 100.
Car status: Brian will run two Phillips GRT cars for the season and said one car is officially ready to go racing. His second car will sport an experimental Hatfield engine that he hopes will set him apart leagues from the competition.
Terry Beckham, Jr., 118, Modified driver Terry's off-season hasn't been as short as some of the drivers at I-44 Speedway. Terry said he competed in some later season races during 2005 and plans to start up again in March. He said he is just now getting over an illness he had at the start of December that slowed him down from his usual fast pace. But Terry will no doubt be a serious contender not only on mid-Missouri tracks, but tracks across the United States.
2006 racing season plans: Terry will be attending the USMTS show at the Thunderhill Speedway in Mayetta, Kan., March 17 and 18. He said he will be attending as many USMTS shows as possible this year that are "half-way close."
Car status: Terry will begin his first full season with his Allen Autosports car. "It's absolutely the fastest car I've ever driven," he said. Terry's cousin builds all his motors and he said he will have two cars this season. He is working closely with Allen Autosports to create a research and development car and put to work ideas he said he has had for years. He hopes to debut the car in early April.
In his own words: "I love Lebanon. I've always enjoyed racing there," Terry said about coming back to I-44 Speedway. "I'm enjoying what I'm doing. I'm living my dream. I'm doing what I want to do."
Did you know: Motorcycles are Terry's other passion. "That's what mentally and physically keeps me in shape in the winter." With several family members and close friends, Terry is known to race on his cousin's motorcross field. He said can spend anywhere from two to three hours on any given day on his bike. "I've spent more time on a bike than anything," he said. The 36-year-old driver said he has spent 16 years in the cockpits of cars, but has spent 28 years on the back of a bike.
ARTICLES BY DUSTY LUTHY