ST. AMANT PLANS FOR FUTURE WITH NEW RIDE By Mike Twist.
Pro Cuppers St. Amant and Tatman Join Forces for 2006
Gary St. Amant is one of the most accomplished short track racers in American history. He’s won so many championships and major races in his career, that they are too numerous to list.
More importantly, they are going to take steps to build a team for the future – one step at a time.
“Our initial plans and goals are to be competitive,” said St. Amant. “We want to get some top fives and then a win. Eventually, we’d like to be a title contender. On down the road, we’ve made some plans to maybe house a couple of teams in the Pro Cup Series and bring in not only up and coming drivers, but also up and coming crew chiefs and tire changers. Maybe we could get some type of affiliation with a Cup team down south to do that.”
St. Amant has done everything in his career from winning the Snowball Derby to capturing the ASA National Championship to standing in victory lane for the All-American 400. Using what he has learned in that time to build a new team and have the opportunity to share his experience with younger participants in the sport is something that he looks forward to.
St. Amant has also shown that he is someone who thinks into the future. He was ahead of the curve in 2004 when he left the familiar confines of the ASA National Tour to join up with the USAR Pro Cup Series. Two years later, ASA was dead and buried, while Pro Cup has an abundance of entries and a solid schedule of televised races on SPEED Channel.
Now, St. Amant is building a future for himself yet again. This time, he is lining up with part-time Pro Cup driver Dwayne Tatman to form a brand new team. St. Amant will run the full schedule of Pro Cup racing in 2006 for the team and will use the #61, while Tatman will continue running his own #24 in a limited schedule of events.
“There’s no doubt about it that I enjoy that,” said St. Amant. “I’d like to share some of what I know. Racing is what I know. I not only enjoy driving the cars, but I also enjoy working on the cars. I’ve been very active in the car set-up and what it takes to get a car around the racetrack. I just think that it’s a natural step to take for myself in the future.”
The sky might be the limit for the Tatman team, but first, they need to get ready for the Pro Cup Northern Series opener on April 1st at South Boston Speedway (VA).
“We’re starting out a little bit behind the eight ball,” said St. Amant. “We don’t have a lot of time to get ready. We’re
"I’d be lying if I wasn’t upset that I didn’t win the title," said Huffman, who won a series-high nine times but finished 18 points behind Gordon. "There were a few sleepless nights after the final race. We just had some bad luck not of our doing, and that cost us, but Benny and his team deserve the title. They got a great team, and Benny’s a great racer."
While the announcements of the overall Hooters Pro Cup Series champion, divisional champions, divisional rookies and the overall Miller Lite Rookie of the Year Award was a mere formality, there were several surprise award winners at the season-ending gala.
The Four Champions Award is one of the most prestigious and emotional awards given during the banquet. The award is dedicated to the memory of Alan Kulwicki, Dan Duncan, Charlie Campbell and Mark Brooks, who were all lost in a plane crash on April 1, 1993. The award is presented to the Hooters Pro Cup Series driver that best exemplifies the winning spirit in the face of adversity. In 2005, George Brunnhoelzl III was that driver.
Gary St. Amant has always been a hands-on driver. Now, he'll get to help build up a team.
St. Amant has been good at looking down the road of racing in his career. For example, he got out of ASA before the series started to go under.
“I think that there is going to be some building to do,” said St. Amant. “I have a couple members of the team that are coming with me, but basically it is like putting together a new team. I’ve been around long to enough to know that it is awfully difficult to do that and come out of the box expecting to win the championship.
“I feel like we are putting some key people in place though that by the end of the year, we could very well be a title contender.”
“Bullet Racing was a two-hour drive for me and my Dad and we helped to take care of the cars,” said St. Amant. “Working with Dwayne is going to be easier. He’s only about an hour away, so we’ll be closer to home working on the cars. It’s a great opportunity for myself. Eventually, we’ll have a winning team. My Dad is going to be the crew chief. We’ll be working together. We’re seeking some associate sponsors and trying to put together a complete team.”
St . Amant and Tatman are still putting the finishing touches on the #61 team, but there’s no doubt in their minds that it will be a winning combination when they get the right pieces together.
St. Amant's ride from last season - the Jegs.com #11 of Bullet Racing.