Shawn Tucker and the other Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour drivers are headed to Speedway 660 this weekend. Tucker, who is one of the most successful drivers on the tour, also runs Tucker Racing Products in Fredericton. Wade Wilson, Speedway 660 announcer, had a chance to talk to Shawn as he prepares for this weekend’s big race.
Shawn Tucker, a three time Parts for Truck Tour champion, a two time Auto Value 250 champ and winner of the Speedway 660 tour race in 2011 headlines a competitive field of pro stock drivers for this weekend’s Atlantic Dodge Dealer’s 100.
Wade: Hi Shawn, you must feel pretty good about coming to Speedway 660 this weekend. You’ve had a lot of success here.
Shawn: It’s always nice to race at Speedway 660, sleep in your own bed and get a week off from travelling to other tracks around the Maritimes. We grew up here, have lots of friends in Fredericton and our sponsors are from here too, so it’s always a homecoming for us. And yes, over the years Speedway 660 has been a good track for us and we’ve had some of our best runs here.
Wade: What makes the Parts for Trucks Tour the best Pro Stock tour in Canada?
Shawn: First off, the Parts for Trucks Tour is a professional outfit. The tour management, employees and volunteers do a great job. They treat everyone fair and are enthusiastic about racing. The race teams are really awesome too. They all work hard because this tour is so competitive and you have to be on top of your game every week. And the fans around the Maritimes are absolutely the best. They know their racing and appreciate the effort the tour teams make on the track every week.
Wade: You won tour titles in 2004, 2007 and 2010. What will it take in 2012 to win your fourth championship?
Shawn: Winning races and championships on the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock is not easy. It takes an unbelievable amount of time in the shop and race teams have to be meticulous in the way they prepare their cars for each week’s race. Obviously the cars have got to be consistently fast at every tour track in the region. Pit crews have got to make quick decisions and work fast during cautions to change tires, make adjustments or repair the car. Drivers have to stay focused every lap of the race. And on top of all of that, you need to have a little luck thrown in for good measure!
Wade: You’ve got a lot of fans here at Speedway 660 and you have given them plenty of thrills over the years. What is it about this track that brings out the best in you?
Shawn: Speedway 660 draws great crowds for our races. These fans are passionate about racing and although they have their favourites, they really do appreciate all of the drivers. As for the track itself, I like it here because it has two distinct grooves. It forces drivers to decide which groove to run. It’s a tight track, but that good outside groove gives us room to race and work our way through the field and hopefully have a good finish.
Wade: Looking ahead to SpeedWeekend, you are the defending Auto Value 250 champion – as a matter of fact you are a two time winner of that race. What’s it like buckling up in front of over eight thousand fans for the biggest race of the season?
Shawn: SpeedWeekend is the highlight of the racing season. That Saturday night Sportsman race is always hotly contested. On SpeedWeekend Sunday it is always amazing to watch the crowd grow in size during the afternoon qualifying. Then during pre-race ceremonies and driver introductions, looking up at the huge crowd from down on the track really gets me motivated. These fans come to see a great race and inspire all of the drivers to give it their best effort. We have been fortunate enough to be in the Speedway 660 Victory Lane on two occasions when the fans go wild and the fireworks go off. That’s a pretty amazing thing. Oh yeah, that big cardboard cheque is a pretty good deal too!
Wade: You come from a racing family. Your Dad Leroy was a pretty good wheel-man back in the day. How much influence has he had on your racing career?
Shawn: My Dad is my inspiration and the guy who made it possible for me to get into racing in the first place. He continues to be a big influence. He’s really still as competitive now as when he used to race and motivates me to do my best every time I get into the car. I am proud to be part of a family race team and it is an honour for me to be the driver for Tucker Racing.
Wade: Racing is not just a pastime or hobby for you – it’s a way of life and a way to make a living. Tell us about your business Tucker Racing Products?
Shawn: We are not just a stock car shop or operation. Tucker Racing Products sells and installs high performance parts for all sorts of vehicles. We do build stock cars, set them up for the race track and repair cars too. The fact that Speedway 660 is right here in our backyard has certainly helped grow our operation and we appreciate the race teams in this area who support our business.
Wade: Good luck in the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour race this weekend Shawn. I know you guys will keep the great fans at Speedway 660 on the edge of their seats for the entire race!
Shawn: Thanks, we’ll do our best, but as I mentioned earlier it does take some luck to win one of these races. We were fortunate to win the Speedway 660 Tour race and the Auto Value 250 in 2011. I am sure the Atlantic Dodge Dealer’s 100 will be a great race on Saturday night and we’ll do our best to keep the fans on the edge of their seats or maybe even bring them to their feet a time or two!