Street Stock racing is where it’s at: A Conversation with Roger Slocum.

The DMR Auto Sales & Service Street Stock Division provides race fans with an exciting brand of racing every time they roll out onto Speedway 660. The competition is tough in 2013 because there are several veteran drivers and a brand new crop of rookies just up from the West Wood Estates Bandolero and Fredericton Jewelers 4 Cylinder Divisions. Wade Wilson recently talked with Roger Slocum, a veteran driver who feels right at home in the seat of his race car.

Wade: Hello Roger, how long have been racing and how did you first get involved in this sport?

Roger: I always had an interest in cars and racing. It all started out one night when I attended a race at Speedway 660 in Geary about eight years ago. I said to my wife “I sure would love to get into one of those cars and go racing” and she said “why don’t you”. I really was surprised at her response and took her up on it quickly. So then I bought a car and solicited the help of Tuck Shirley, who was a pretty good race car driver at 660 for several years.

Wade: I like to call street stock racing old-school, because it reminds me of the kind of racing I used to see back in the sixties when I was a kid. I use the term old-school because it can be a little rough and tumble out there.

Roger: It sure can get a little rough at times and I think the crowd expects some contact when it comes to the DMR Auto Sales & Service Street Stock Division. Plus the tires we use don’t have the grip of those that are used by the Re/MAX Group Four Realty Pro Stocks and Martins Home Heating Sportsman cars. That means we slip and slide a little bit more than they do, which in turn means we get into each other a bit more. As a fan I always came to the race track wondering how Smokin Joe and Rick Cashol were going to race each other that week.

The #15 of Roger Slocum is off to a great start in the DMR Auto Sales Street Stock Division this season. Roger came to the races a few years ago, liked what he saw and after his wife Laura Mae gave him a little encouragement he saddled up in a street stock. He loves racing and is pretty happy right where he is!

Wade: Some drivers occasionally let their emotions get the better of them. But you seem to take things as they come and never get too high or too low when it comes to your racing program.

Roger: I never waste good energy on things I cannot change. I like to go out and enjoy the competition and bring the car home in one piece. If you get too excited and over-drive the car or retaliate if a driver gives you a bump that might mean several late nights in the garage doing repairs so you can go racing the next week. So I never get too excited, unless I win!

Wade: The DMR Auto Sales & Service Street Stock Division is having a bounce-back year. We’ve got a great mix of wily veterans and a new crop of kids racing in your division for the first time. That sure makes things interesting.

Roger: I was excited to see the division grow, because the number of cars took a bit of a dip the last couple of years. The Bandolero and 4 cylinder divisions have introduced the sport of racing to a new group of people and now we are starting to see some of those folks move into other divisions. It’s great for the growth of our sport. You know, everyone has to start somewhere. I soon learned that when I started. You may think you know it all, but you soon find out that you still have a lot to learn when you start going door to door with the veterans.

Wade: You got off to a real fast start in 2013, winning the first two street stock features. But it’s a long season and the competition is tough. What’s it going to take to be in the championship hunt when we hold Speedway 660’s Fan Appreciation Night of Champions in late August?

Roger: I think I am going to have to be a little more aggressive. I don’t mean spinning people out and putting the bumper to other cars. I think I need to be up on the wheel, take a few more chances and when there is an opening I need to go for it. There is some stiff competition out there, but I feel a little more confident this year. However, I have to keep car 54 in my sights as well as a few others!

Roger Slocum won the first two feature races of the 2013 season. Since then, five time DMR Auto Sales & Service Street Stock Champion Rick Cashol has stepped up and trails Slocum by only nine points in the standings, heading into action this Saturday night.

Wade: You seem really happy and content racing your street stock. Have you ever given any thought to jumping into a Sportsman or Pro Stock ride?

Roger: I have given it some thought, but it would be tough because I do all the work on the car myself and my day job takes me away from home during the week.  Plus it costs a lot more to run Sportsman or Pro Stock and you need more sponsors. I am pretty happy where I am right now and really enjoy running a Street Stock, so that’s where I think I’ll stay.

Wade: I am always amazed at Speedway 660 fans and how much they love their racing. It must be a thrill for drivers to race in front of great crowds, especially when you earn a podium finish in a feature race?

Roger: We would not be able to race if it wasn’t for the fans. It is great hearing and seeing their excitement. And everyone is so nice. After winning a race it’s amazing to see and hear the fans and other drivers congratulate you on your successes. This certainly gives you a feeling of pride.

Wade: Some people say racing is a purely mechanical sport, but I say it is a people sport, because it takes a commitment from a driver’s family and crew to develop a strong race team. Who helps you get to the track and do what you love to do every Saturday night?

Roger: My wife Laura Mae is my biggest supporter. She comes to the races every week along with my sister Vanda. It’s great to have them there. My brother Mancel is always waiting at home with a can of spray paint ready to cover up the scrapes. This year I have Nick Mott helping out when he can. Through the years different friends have helped out and I have appreciated it very much. It is a lot of work at times.

Wade: These are challenging economic times for people and businesses. It can be difficult to find sponsors and keep them. Who do you want to thank for sponsoring your racing program?

Roger: My primary sponsor is TD Bank. Other strong supporters are: Armour; Terry Lemon-Ace Hardware; Chipman Home Hardware; Brent Lewis Contracting and; Rayan Investments. I also want to thanks DMR Auto Sales & Service for coming on board as our new Street Stock Division sponsor this year.

Wade: How do you feel about the future of racing?

Roger: I feel very encouraged with the new ownership group at Speedway 660 and the improvements they have made at the track so far. And the bando and 4 cylinder divisions are bringing more drivers into the sport and some of them will move up to other divisions in the years to come. I have a few years left in me yet and plan to keep racing as long as I’m still having fun out there every Saturday night.

Wade: Thanks for doing this Roger and best of luck for the rest of the season.

Roger: I enjoy reading these weekly Conversations, thanks for asking me to do one. By the way, we need some sun. If this rain keeps up I could win Championship after only three or four races…lol!

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