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Chasing the Thrill Austin Svoboda

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Austin Svoboda has grown up in a racing family and races against both his father and his brother. It's mostly business at the track, but they help each other out as much as they can and it's a true bond for their family. Every night of racing is a learning experience figuring out what you did and the effect it had on your car. Watch this behind the scenes video of Austin at US 30 Speedway chasing the thrill.

Video Transcript

Austin:“I have to change gears in this, I forgot about that. Last track we raced was McCool Junction, which is a little bit bigger track. Some call it a half-mile, some call it just a big three-eighths. We’re going to Columbus tonight, or US-30 Speedway, that has they are a third mile track so it's a little bit smaller, you're down a gear. Historically speaking, Columbus is usually pretty slick, dry slick, which I prefer. The more slick you get, the further deeper we go in gear.”

“I did race the sport mods before, and I just moved up one to want maybe a little bit of challenge. Definitely got it. It's a lot tougher to come by wins in this class than sport mods. Racing the A Mod versus the Sport Mods, I mean everyone's just in control of their car most the time you know. It's easier to race with guys, easier to pass and get passed by guys. I used to race against my brother pretty much three days a week, which is how much we raced. So, we saw each other everywhere we went because we went there with each other. Pink Panther is kind of a tradition I guess with our family. The 16 one was always pink. My dad liked that car when they were kids and they'd go to the races, so he made his cars pink. I mean we got definitely gotten away from the all the pink, but we still have the pink panther so that's kind of my dad’s nickname.”

“My dad’s going to race tonight. 41st year this year. I don't race against my dad as much this year because he races two classes. He runs this car modified and then he runs his late model over there too. He runs that more than he runs the modified. Columbus is probably one of the main tracks I've raced my entire career. I’ve been here since I was a kid watching my dad race. The track historically is dry, slick, and smooth. I already went look at the track and it's looking to be dry, slick, and smooth.”

Austin: “My buddy usually does this stuff but he’s not here, so I guess I get to do it myself. My buddy Trevor Fozzard usually takes care of torquing the lugs and setting air pressure and fuel, and a lot of different stuff so I can kind of focus more on the setup of the car. So that makes it a lot easier on a guy. Probably should change these tires, put some other tires on for now. These are the tires I had last week. They were brand new last week for one night so I'm going to go ahead and put a different set on, just so I don't burn up a good set in the in the heat race.

Last week at McCool Junction I got my first win starting 8th. They always say the first one's the hardest to get so hopefully the next one's come easy. I actually feel more relaxed now that I've got a win under my belt because before it was kind of like I'm just this field filling car that just you know is out here. I mean don’t get me wrong, I've been getting top five and stuff, but you’re never satisfied until you get the win. I feel a little bit more comfortable and I can trust the car more. I can go out and drive it like I have and it's just natural."

Austin: "The track’s already slick or getting there anyway. So, we might need to throw something more at it now. I don't have as much side bite as I'd like to have. Did you watch hot laps? What do you think?”

Austin's Friend: “You weren’t any different than anyone else out there.”

Austin: “I feel like the back end wanted to go up the track to me. Maybe that's just me. Granted, it could've been greasy or just slick, or a mixture of both. I don't know kind of slimy wasn't it?"

Austin's Brother: “Yeah it was a little bit, but I still feel like my car is doing the same thing where in the middle it almost doesn't want to turn. It just seemed like it makes it tight across the center if you can stay in the gas, it’ll keep it turning, but if you have to get out of the gas and it wants to drive straight."

Austin: “I do this a lot. I overthink it and then I either tweak something that probably didn't do anything, or I just run it the way it is. I haven't ran the set up a lot of times and consistently you know, so I haven't known what it's going to do at every single track. I've ran it basically at one track quite a few times, but I just need to get more consistent with the setup.

It'll be dry. There won't be any moisture left by the time I get out there. We're the last heats usually. It's nice though because the heat race would have kind of a similar texture as the feature will be. Once it gets slick, it’s not getting any slicker, so we’ll just have to find something to make it stick a little better. Go one step there and if it isn't enough, we'll go another step for the feature and hopefully it will be enough.”

Pit Crew Trevor: “Yeah, I think he might have went a little too far, more eager from hot laps but he should be pretty good for the feature.”

Austin: “It went okay. I still don't have the side bite I need. It would get in the corner, I just didn't have a lot off the corner, so I’ll make some adjustment there. I definitely have to figure something out for the feature, but I think we’re going in the right direction. It’s just you always need a little more. What did you think?”

Pit Crew Trevor: “I don’t know. It didn’t have a lot of drive.”

Austin: “Getting in really good I felt like, but in the middle, it’d snap and just be sideways off.”

Pit Crew Trevor: “Yeah”

Racer 2: “Have any big adjustments going into the feature?”

Austin: “Probably should have. I don't know what to do though. You tell me, what should I change? We're all buddies here and we talk and share you know different tips here and there. But I mean for the most part we're pretty kind of like ‘hey what's going on, tracks pretty good’. You know, give each other crap here and there. ‘better not get in my way, better not break check me, whatever’”

Producer: “Racing with your dad and your brother, what’s that like?”

Austin: “It's challenging I’d say at times. You always are cautious when you get close to them around them because you don't want to screw them up that way. Honestly when I race with my brother in sport mod, I was better off when he wasn't racing with me. I could concentrate on what I was doing and run my own stuff and not have a care in the world. Just kind of race my race. Even every time the yellow comes out, you're like ‘I hope that wasn't my brother, hope that wasn't my dad’ or whatever. More drive off the corners is the plan. By the time we get the setup right you shouldn’t even need a driver. The thing should drive itself.”

Austin (to his father): “Well what are you doing, speed secrets over here?"

"Well my entire life that's all I've done is just come to the races with my dad. I probably take it for granted to be honest with you. I mean it's easy for me to go run over and ask my dad a question or ask my brother a question, or you know vice-versa. It's easy for them to do the same and we kind of help each other out as much as we can. We bond a lot through this stuff. Not really at the track as much. At the track it's kind of business but you know in the shop, at home, and we just talk about it.”

Austin: “I don't think about until I get in the seat strapped in and everything and I'm sitting there before I pull out on the track. Then my mind starts rushing. What's going to happen. When you start third row outside, what are you doing in the first corner. You kind of know the guys around you. You got to know what they're going do a little bit, just from racing them in the past. You try to pre-plan it, get into the first corner then it usually doesn't go that way. Then you get there and you're like, ‘well that was different’.”

Pit Crew Trevor: “Wasn't too bad. The track’s really slick. He didn’t get any cautions, so he got kind of spread out. It’s hard to pass cars but overall it wasn't too bad.”

Austin: “I didn't think the car was that bad. It’s just kind of hard to pass on such a slick track. I usually try to work around the track a lot and I mean I didn't work around a ton. Obviously, there's not that much place to go. Running right through the middle or so, I went a little bit lower, went higher and it just wasn't a lot of difference anywhere I went it seemed. Got some work to do but every night is a learning experience. You learn more that way about what you did you know, what it did to your car, and stuff so we have room to improve. Just have to massage our way to it. We go to Beatrice tomorrow and see if we can get better.”

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