AN INTERVIEW WITH PAS SENIOR SPRINT RACER "HUBCAP" MIKE COLLINS!
(Perris, CA, July 25, 2012)
This Saturday night, July 28th, when The PAS Senior Sprint Cars take to the track in a triple header program along with the Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Cars and the California Lightning Sprints Cars at Perris Auto Speedway, one of the competitors will be 55-year-old "Hubcap" Mike Collins of Lake Forest, California. On Tuesday afternoon, Collins took time from his busy schedule at his business http://hubcapmike.com/ to talk with Scott Daloisio about his life in racing, his son's racing endeavors and his business.
Daloisio: How long have you been involved in racing?
Collins: I have been going to the races since I was probably 2-years-old. Man dad used to work on all kinds of racecars when I was a kid.
Daloisio: Where was that at?
Collins: Up in the Portland, Oregon area. He built Indy Cars, built a McLaren, he did work for Smokey Yunick. He worked for a lot of different people. He was never a driver, but a real "Gear Head."
Daloisio: Who were some of the guys who drove his Indy Cars?
Collins: The most famous would be Jimmy Clark. Art Pollard, too. Jimmy Clark was leading a race at Riverside in one of his cars and he missed a shift and blew up the engine. He came in the pits and apologized and said, 'Sorry, I missed a shift.' I thought it was pretty impressive for a guy of his caliber to say, 'Hey, I made a mistake."
Daloisio: How long did you live in Oregon?
Collins: Until I was 13.
Daloisio: Is that when you moved to California?
Collins: Yeah, my parents got divorced. My mom decided to move to California with her brother. We ended up in Santa Ana for a while. Then we lived in Tustin. I have lived in Orange County ever since.
Daloisio: What all have you raced?
Collins: Just about everything really. I started racing Street Stocks up at Speedway 605 (across the freeway from the current Irwindale Speedway). Then we went to Corona Raceway and raced there for a while. I was never good mechanically. I am not a tuner. I that is because my dad used to throw me out of the shop all of the time. I always had a knack for avoiding wrecks. I kind of retired from racing and then this indoor go-kart track opened up down the street from me and I started doing that. I always wanted to try an open wheel car so the next thing you know, I am renting a Focus Midget from Cory Kruseman. I did that for 7 or 8 races and that was the end of that, but I always wanted to drive a Sprint Car. So, I called up Bill Perkins one night and said, "Can you bring the car to practice?" He said, 'yeah, I can bring it.' I kind of fell in love with it. It was something I never experienced - driving a car with that much horsepower and that much torque. It just scares the wholly heck out of you when you get that thing crossed up.
Daloisio: We need to back track for a minute. You visited the Perris Auto Speedway victory circle long before you got in a Sprint Car, right?
Collins: I won a main event there in a Street Stock. I only ran for like one year and I ran like 7 or 8 races in row. It just takes up to much family time. So, it is really hard to commit to it. The really good thing I have with the Senior Sprints is the Perkins family takes really good care of me. They take care of the cars and get them ready for me. All I do is get in it and drive it. That works out really, really well for me.
Daloisio: You seem to like running up against the cushion and of course the fans love that. Have you always done that when driving a car on dirt?
Collins: You know, when I ran my car at Perris on the night that I won, I was running up high and everybody else was running low. Even in the Stock Car, I liked running up there. To me, I guess, it is closer to the fence and you do not hit as hard. Once I figured that out in the Sprint Car, I have been getting better at it. Hopefully I can do it all the time. It is safer up there.
Daloisio: Senior Sprints started about 10 years ago at Ventura. The PAS brought them in on a part time basis last year and a full-time basis in 2012 and Santa Maria just had its first Senior Sprint race. Do you think Senior Sprint Car racing will continue to grow?
Collins: Yeah, I think it will. We hear all the time of some guy who is going to get a car and bring it out. Quite a few people have interest in it. It is pretty costly to field your own car, so that is kind of a drawback to it, but there are more people all the time. There are the CRA regulars who if they had a 360 motor to put in it, they would and they would run with us. We are really competitive and all the cars are about the same. We can put 10 cars on the racetrack and all 10 will be within half a lap of each other at the end of a race. That is saying a lot. There are not many classes of racing that are like that. I hope the fans enjoy it. That is the main thing. If they enjoy it, it will continue.
Daloisio: Last weekend was a great racing weekend for you and you were not even in a car. Explain.
Collins: We had went to Ventura (prior to last week) and there was a little issue and I got a little upset at Ventura Raceway. I packed the car up and went home. I usually don't do that, but I was really upset. Racing is a very passionate sport and you do things at times that you probably should not do, because you are all wound up. That is exactly what I did. So, the car was already to go (last week) and Bill Perkins calls up and says, 'the All Coast Challenge is this week Mike, do you want to drive?' I had already told Mitchell (Mike's son) he could race the Stock Car at Perris, so I told Bill no. Then I got to thinking about it. I have been watching Brody Roa for about the last year driving Sprint Cars and Go-Karts. You know, that kid is a talent and he is really good on a dry slick track. I have never seen a guy as good as he is on a dry slick track. He does not crash equipment and he has a good presence about himself. I called Bill and asked him what he thought about putting Brody in the car. Bill thought that was ok, so I called and asked Brody if he was interested. He said he was kind of busy and he was going to Cal-Speed to help a guy with a Go-Kart. I called Bill back and he says, 'well what do you think about this person or that person?' I told him I would really not feel comfortable with them driving my car. I knew if Brody went in it he would go fast and I would not have to worry about anything getting torn up. I really had a lo of confidence in him. About that time Brody called me back and asks, 'are you talking about me driving the Sprint Car or the Go-Kart?' I told him the Sprint Car. He said, 'Oh, that is different.' We struck a deal and he went in the car and the rest is history.
It was a great day. We went Go-Kart racing at the Perris Flat Track in the day and my son won the main event. We then went to Perris Auto Speedway and he (son Mitchell) raced the Stock Car and did pretty good considering he has never raced that kind of environment before. I was really proud of him. Then I got a call from Brody right as we were loading the Stock Car up at Perris and he says, 'Hey Mike, guess what? The car was hooked up and we won.' That is all he said and that is all I needed to know. It was a pretty exciting day.
Daloisio: What does the future hold for you and your son in racing?
Collins: I would like to run Sprint Cars as long as I can. With Mitch? I am not sure what we are going to do next. Not sure if we are going to continue in the Stock Cars. We are thinking of maybe a Speedway Sprint. Something like that for a year or two and we are probably also going to stick with the carts for a year or two. He is having a good time with it. He is almost 18 and will be off to college, so who knows what is going to happen.
Daloisio: The fans love the graphics on your Sprint Car. What are they?
Collins: Here at hubcapmike.com, we re-produce a few hubcaps and one of them is a 1957 Cadillac. If you talk to any custom guy or lead sled guy or 50's guy they will tell you that is most desirable cap you can get. We re-produce it and we sell quite a few of them. A friend of mine does graphics and he said we can take a hubcap and multiply it. So that is how we ended up with that design. It is a wrap and it serves us well. It looks pretty good. It is a unique piece.
Daloisio: Tell us a little bit about your business.
Collins: We sell and ship hubcaps all over the world. We ship a couple hundred packages a week. I have been doing this since 1984. We started out with used stuff, but now most of it is new, but we still sell a lot of used stuff, too.
Daloisio: Who helps you in your racing effort?
Collins: The Perkins family. If it was not for them I do not know what I would do. Bill, Will and Kenny Perkins get the cars ready for me. Matt Jones of Y.O.A. (Yamaha of America) get the Go-Karts ready for us. IF it was not for those people, we just would not have time to do it.
Daloisio: Sprint Car sponsors?
Collins: Hubcapmike.com, Wesco Performance, Direct Drives and Controls and Sprint Car Driving Experience.
You can see "Hubcap Mike" running the cushion and all of the other PAS Senior Sprints, Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Cars and the California Lightning Sprints in action this Saturday night, July 28th. Spectator gates will open at 5:00 PM and the first race will be at 7:00.
The entire 2012 PAS schedule is listed at the end of this release.
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Perris Auto Speedway wants to thank its corporate sponsors for the 2012 season. 1-800LoanMart, 777 Racecars, Aaron's, Ahern Rentals, All Coast Construction, Amsoil, Ayers Hotel and Spa, Budweiser, Champion Towing, City of Perris, Comfort Inn, Day Construction, Daytona Boat & RV Storage, Frazee Paint, Hoosier Tires, K&N Engineering, P.I.P.E., Pepsi-Cola, Pick-A-Part Auto Salvage, Prolong Super Lubricants, Scott Sales, Snap-on, Soboba Casino, Square H, Swedish Speed, Temecula Valley Pipe & Supply, Trench Shoring, US Foods, Valley Auto Salvage and Zanzabuku Sports Lounge.
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Perris Auto Speedway is located on the Lake Perris Fairgrounds (home of October’s Southern California Fair), approximately one hour east of Los Angeles and one hour North of San Diego. To get to the track, take the 215 freeway, exit on the Ramona Expressway and go three miles east to the fairgrounds.
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PAS Senior Sprint Points
1. Bill Badger - Santa Clarita - 276
2. Bruce Douglass - Ventura - 267
3. Victor Davis - Ventura - 258
3. Wiley Miller - Yorba Linda - 252
5. Brian Williams - Newport Beach - 249
6. Ed Schwartz - Santa Fe Springs - 186
7. Mike Collins - Lake Forest - 180
8. Erik Rickard - Carson - 154
9. Bob Aldermann - Santa Inez - 132
10. Steve Robinette - Vista - 79
2012 PERRIS AUTO SPEEDWAY SCHEDULE
July 28 - California Racers Hall of Fame Night: USAC/CRA Sprint Cars, PAS Senior Sprints, California Lightning Sprint Cars
August 4 - Off Weekend
August 11 - Off Weekend
August 18 - USAC/CRA Sprint Cars, PAS Senior Sprints, California Lightning Sprint Cars
August 25 - Off Weekend
September 1 - PASSCAR Super Stocks, Amsoil Street Stocks (Race #3 "1-800LoanMart 2012 PASSCAR Street Stock Challenge), Modifieds, Factory Stocks, Sport Mods, CDCRA Dwarf Cars
September 8 - Night of Destruction 4: "Perris Leap" Trophy Truck Long Jump and Engine Meltdown, Trailer Figure 8 Races, Figure 8's, Auto Roller Derby, Demo Cross
September 15 - Glenn Howard Classic: USAC/CRA Sprint Cars, PAS Senior Sprints, California Lightning Sprint Cars
September 22 - PASSCAR Super Stocks, Amsoil Street Stocks (Race #4 "1-800LoanMart 2012 PASSCAR Street Stock Challenge), Modifieds, Factory Stocks, Sport Mods
September 29 - Off Weekend
October 6 - Southern California Fair: USAC/CRA Sprint Cars
October 13 - Southern California Fair
October 20 - Off Weekend
October 27 - PASSCAR Super Stocks, Amsoil Street Stocks, Modifieds, Factory Stocks, Sport Mods, CDCRA Dwarf Cars
November 1 - 17th Annual Budweiser Oval Nationals Practice
November 2 - 17th Annual Budweiser Oval Nationals: USAC National Sprint Cars, USAC/CRA Sprint Cars, PAS Senior Sprints, California Lightning Sprint Cars
November 3 - 17th Annual Budweiser Oval Nationals: USAC National Sprint Cars, USAC/CRA Sprint Cars, PAS Senior Sprints, California Lightning Sprint Cars
November 22 - TBA
November 23 & 24 - 1-800LoanMart Street Stock Turkey Bowl $15,000.00 purse