Jordan Gahan jumped into racing with both feet three of years ago and won the rookie of the year award in the O’Leary Auto Group Pro Stock Division. This 2nd generation driver has finished in the top ten in points in both seasons of racing in our top division. Wade Wilson, Speedway 660 announcer, recently caught up with Jordan to talk about the 2012 season, his future goals in racing and his racing scholarship.
Wade: First off tell us about your Race 101 scholarship for up and coming race car drivers who are looking to learn and improve themselves and their racing programs. What’s it all about?
Jordan: Race 101 is a unique program because it focuses on each student’s specific area of need. Unlike other programs, which are usually known as “driver development programs”, there is little focus on driving. RACE 101 is more about the technical and mechanical side of racing as well as marketing, public speaking and media relations skills. Race 101 is going into its 3rd year and is operated by Tony Blanchard, Adam Ross and Anna Marie Strawhand. These three amazing people have been involved in every aspect of racing all of their lives. They accept students from all over North America and look for people who they feel are the most ambitious and deserving.
Wade: Wow…that’s pretty impressive! How do you think the RACE 101 scholarship will help you become a better driver?
Jordan: It’s definitely going to help a lot. From the driving standpoint, I’m going to have a better understanding of what my car is doing and what our team needs to do to make the car better. Being a successful racer is a little different. I’ve learned a ton already about marketing and building better strategies to make marketing partnerships with businesses, and how to ensure these businesses see a big return in their investment in me and my race team.
Wade: You jumped into a pro stock a couple of years ago when you were still going to high school. That first season you had a top ten in points and were rookie-of-the year. Did you think you would have that kind of success that quickly?
Jordan: I didn’t know what to expect. I had a lot of sleepless nights prior to my first race, wondering how it would go. But starting in a lower division wasn’t an option for me. Pro stock cars were all I had ever worked on and also what we had sitting in the garage. My first few races went way better than I expected, but then I started to experience a few issues with the car’s handling. So early on, I had a taste of both the ups and downs of racing. I have to admit I got a bit discouraged, but my mom, who is the most positive person I know, encouraged me to keep working hard and believe in myself. That helped a lot!
Wade: Last year Colter Wiggins, another young driver jumped into his dad’s pro stock car and had a top 15 in the Auto Value 250. Do you think being around race tracks and shops as a kid and watching your dad’s race at Speedway 660 helped drivers like you and Colter?
Jordan: Yes it sure does. By the way, I want to congratulate Colter on his amazing run in the 250 and wish him all the best in 2012! Within the first couple of hours of driving a pro stock, I ran my fastest lap times to date. I credit it to watching my dad do thousands of laps at Speedway 660. I spent four years being his spotter and that helped make it easier when I first got in the car. I already had an idea how to get around the place.
Wade: The 2012 season is just around the corner. What are your plans this season and what will it take to move up in the pro stock standings?
Jordan: My plans are to be a top five car on a consistent basis. Marketing is also going to be very important. I need to be able to afford to run all of the races this season, and even travel a little bit if possible.
Wade: What are your long-term plans and goals for racing? Where would you like to see yourself in a couple of years and five years?
Jordan: I want to start tour racing in two years. It doesn’t matter what tour though as long as it’s Pro Stock or Late Models. In five years I want to be able to race 10 months of the year. I really like the type of car I currently race and would love to be able to make a living racing this type of car. I believe they are the best form of circle track car out there.
Wade: Racing is a family and team sport. Plus you have to have some good sponsors to be competitive. Who would you like to thank for helping you?
Jordan: I definitely want to thank my family and crew. Most of my crew is family, my brothers Josh and Jonathan, of course mom and dad, Melissa and Kim Macintyre, Ryan and Barnaby. My marketing partners: Fastenal is always there for me, Praxair, Cormier Foundations and Consolidated Services have also helped me so much. I’m really excited about working with Traction Heavy Duty Parts this season, and hopefully lots of other new partners.
Wade: Who are your favorite drivers at Speedway 660, in our Maritime region and NASCAR?
Jordan: Speedway 660 really has a lot of awesome drivers and is just a great all-around facility. My favorite driver would have to be my dad Paul Gahan. He taught me so much, made it possible for me to start driving and has supported my racing efforts. Shawn Tucker has been a tremendous help over the years, even before I started racing. And guys like Greg Stewart, Rollie Macdonald, Dave O’Blenis, Glenn Rasmussen and Scott Frasier made racing in our region and Speedway 660 what it is today. I really look up to all these pioneers of our sport. As far as Nascar goes, I like Ryan Newman, he has an engineering background and I respect that in a driver.
Wade: Good luck in the upcoming season.
Jordan: Thanks a lot Wade, I can’t wait to get back to the track and see all the great fans, sponsors and Speedway 660 volunteers and employees. By the way, I hope to see you on the front stretch a time or two this season to do a few of those podium finish interviews!