A Short Track Christmas by Mike Twist, Jeremy Troiano, Matt Kentfield and Matthew Dillner
51 Found Out What The Holidays Mean to Some of Your Favorite Drivers
Speed51.com caught up with several short trackers to see what the holiday time means to them. Some talked about family traditions, others retold their favorite stories and a few talked about what they expect to be doing this season.
Happy Holidays from the entire 51 staff and crew!
Woody Pitkat (MODS) -
“The best Christmas gift I ever got was almost one I didn’t get. I was either 13 or 14 years old and we were at my house. My sister was getting all these presents and I barely got anything. I was being the biggest brat in the whole world. I was yelling and screaming because I didn’t get much for Christmas. So we got ready to go to my Grams’ and we went up there and I saw this brand new four-wheeler sitting out there for me. I was just like, ‘oh I love you guys. I’m so sorry I acted like that.’ They were so mad that I was being such a brat that they almost told my Grams just to hide it and not give it to me.”
The holidays mean something slightly different to everyone. Some of us celebrate Christmas, some celebrate Hanukkah and some of us celebrate something different entirely. Some of us party through the night for New Year’s and some can barely make it up until the Midnight hour. But one thing is nearly universal and that is the fact no matter what the holidays mean to us, it is a great time of year for taking time to be around family and friends, and enjoy the hectic season.
Michael Ritch (Pro Cup) -
“A lot of food. That’s what I look forward to. We all get together, me and my family, and we prepare big meals. I’m telling the truth. The food and being with my two and four-year-olds. They’re starting to come around and they know what Christmas is about and Santa Claus and all that. All the family members are around and we sit around and we’re able to BS a little bit. Sometimes it’s about racing, sometimes it’s about hunting. Right now, my father loves to fish and this is the time to be at the coast because the blue fin tuna are running so that’s something we get around to talking about.”
Andy Seuss (MODS) –
“Our biggest tradition are the Christmas wreaths that my Mom makes out of Hoosier tires for our crew. It’s a good way to get rid of our tires from the year and share the holiday season with the same people who we share our racing season with. This year, we are having Christmas at my Brother’s house. Hopefully, I’ll get some racing stuff for presents. Our family is actually known for buying all of our gifts at a speed shop. We’ll get a clipboard or stopwatch for my Mom, some tools for my Dad and something for the racecar for me…and we love it!”
Andy Santerre (BES Owner) –
“I had three sisters growing up and Christmas was really big in our house. We couldn’t wait for Santa to get there. My oldest sister, Laurie, she would get up at three in the morning for gifts. We would have to go to bed early so Santa could show up. He always left his gifts under the tree unwrapped. My oldest sister would make the first trip down, then come back up and wake everyone up. It really is just about spending the whole day with family. Now, I have a new little addition to my family in Samantha.
This year, we are going to start a new tradition and stay here in North Carolina. We’ve lived here in North Carolina for 11 years and this will be the first year we stay down here.”
Grant Enfinger (SLM) –
“Christmas to me is really about the family. A real close second to that is getting a break from working on the car. It’s nice to get a break from school and working as well. We are normally so wide open, we just make ourselves take a break from the racecar. We go to Pensacola every Christmas Eve. We don’t have too many traditions though.”
Josh Hamner (SLM/PLM) –
“Christmas is a time of giving and being with your family, and realizing that there are more important things out there than racing. I just like to hang out with the family. One of the most exciting things is when (little sister) Lindsay gets up and sees all of her presents from Santa. That is pretty cool. And I usually like to take my guys to do something together. That is something I’ve done throughout the years.”
Dan Spence (Race Director, Five Flags Speedway) –
“It’s a great family time. There are a lot of memories there; some pleasant and some not so pleasant. There are a lifetime of memories there and many of them fall around Christmas. My most recent memory is that one of my grandsons was born on Christmas Eve. He will be three this year. It’s also about the people who lose sight about what Christmas is all about because of commercialization. It is really about the birth of Christ. I just try to sit back and spend a little reflective time on this down time and reflect on the spiritual side of things.”
Danny Sammons (MODS) -
“There’s not a whole lot of traditions, but because we always are so busy because of the shows and everything right now, Christmas is just a day that we don’t work. We take our time for a change. I’m engaged now, so I have to split my time between two families, so Christmas is still a busy day for me. I get to see my family and I get to spend time with my future in-laws. We can just kick back and see everybody and have a day off from work, just getting away from the hustle and bustle around this time.”
Travis Sauter (ASA MW) -
“I really want Santa to bring me a sponsor for my team. I don’t have a lot of stuff. I need a lot of
stuff to go back racing. That’s really all I asked my mom and dad for. I made a list of tools and stuff that I need.
“It changed a little bit recently because I just got married last year. But growing up with just my Mom and Dad, we’d just do something on Christmas Eve or we’d just do something with my Mom’s side of the family. Then we’d go to Midnight Mass or something like that. Then on Christmas Day we’d go over to Grandpa Sauter’s. Everyone would hang out over there, us and my millions of cousins. Everyone hangs out over there. Nothing real big, no real traveling. Everyone lives here in Necedah. When we get to Grandpa’s, he has a lot of children and the four boys all raced, Jay, Tim, Johnny and Jim, Jr. So that’s always racing talk among the guys, but there’s a lot of girls, too. There’s a good mix of conversation.”
Tim Jordan (LM) –
“This time of year is pure craziness. There’s lot of shopping and hustling around. It can be kid of like racing. You can’t forget anything or it could make for a long day.”
[NOTE – When Speed51.com caught up with Tim, he was headed to the local mall, which is just a stone’s throw from the Waterford Speedbowl, where he is the 2006 Late Model Champion]
“Maybe this is where all of the money from racing ends up,” said Jordan, when he was asked about the connection between the mall and the track. “It’s probably near the track to remind me that I should be spending money somewhere other than the Hoosier Truck.”
Gary St. Amant (Pro Cup) –
“My most favorite part of the Christmas holiday is the family part. We spend it together. That is the number one thing for me. It is a little bit different this year, because included in Christmas this year is racing for Jordan. That adds a little bit of the racing part back into the Christmas holiday. I never get away from it. That is pretty much my life.”
One of the Seuss team's "Hoosier Wreaths" (51 Photo)
Zach Brewer (NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour) -
“My Grandma always used to give us these chocolate covered cherries every year. I think everyone in the family thought they were the nastiest things. We never told her and we all kept them. Everyone has all the boxes from all of the years. Nobody ever liked the chocolate covered cherries, but she gave them out every year. Everybody smiled and took them home or re-gifted them or threw them in the trash. Nobody ever had the heart to tell Gran that they didn’t like her chocolate covered cherries.
“I decorate the tree with my girlfriend Kim. We’ve been together eight years. I pick out the tree and help her decorate it. We play a little Christmas music and decorate it. I’m definitely the guy that puts on the lights thought. I am definitely the Clark W. Griswold. I like to put up the lights. Not just the little lights, I have to have the big lights like ol’ Clark.”
Kenny Horton (SK Modifieds) -
“I spend Christmas with my wife and three kids and the rest of the family. It’s kind of a quiet Christmas at home. My middle son KC, Matt and Kyle…they are all future racers. I am going to enjoy Christmas with them, my wife Lynn, my Mother-in-Law and my Mother and Father.
“On Christmas Eve we start out with the fish. My brother-in-law Paul makes a great clam chowder. That’s probably the thing I remember the most is that. All the different foods, from the chowder to the manicotti. My mother-in-law makes the best passate. It’s an Italian soup.
Matt Hirschman (MODS) -
“Our Christmas is pretty relaxing. We’re never home on weekends. This year my brother and his wife had their first kid in October ,so it’s the first Christmas for my parents having a grandchild. That will be nice.
“I spend a lot of time with my family but it’s all about racing. Our business is racing, our hobby is racing. Everything we do is racing. Christmas is different because it’s for reasons that are anything but racing. Most of gifts are racing related anyway. I’ll get some racing books and racing videos. I will end up watching races and reading racing books on Christmas. We pretty much are about racing 365 days a year. It’s good to spend time though and have any work/racing commitments though.
Mom will probably start out making a good breakfast. She’ll make the dinner. She makes good food all the time so it doesn’t matter if it’s a holiday or not. It’s good all the time. What’s on the menu? I don’t know you’d have to ask Mrs. Hirschman about that but I know it’s going to be good.
John Freeman (Busch East Series) -
“I got a Bandolero for Christmas when I was 11 years old. I would have to say that it was my favorite Christmas present ever. They actually got the thing in the doors of the house and into the living room. I don’t know how they did it. It was sitting there in the living room where the coffee table was supposed to be. It was serial number 0012, one of the first Bandoleros ever made. I had been begging and begging. Humpy Wheeler had been bugging my dad to get me to race one of them since they created them. I was finally told no and that it was just something we weren’t going to do. Then on Christmas morning it was there. That was the start of my racing career that Christmas morning.
“This Christmas I will be hangin’ out with my family and eating a lot of food. Christmas is definitely a spiritual holiday and I respect that by all means. It’s a time to spend time with family. I have a birthday right after Christmas so things usually get doubled up because of that so we have a good time with it. My birthday is on New Years Day.”