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2007 Plans

February 12, 2007
Columbus Sports Beacon
John Sechrest

Interview with Casey Neal

Q: Well, Casey how have you been since we last spoke?
A: I have been good John thanks.

Q: What have you been up to lately?
A: Working out a lot, trying to find some money to race on and putting plans together for this season.

Q: What have you been doing to work out? I think I asked you that last time.
A: I have a workout regimen for Race Car Drivers that I follow. Lots of steel weights and bicycling for the Cardio.

Q: Are you having any success at finding Sponsor dollars?
A: When it comes to Open Wheel Racing, there is no TV time for Jr. Formula Racing in America. Without TV time there is not really very much of a ROI for the people putting the money up. The first question you get asked is "what are the TV numbers?". Star Mazda and Atlantics are shown a month or two after the race and sponsors are just not really interested in hearing that. My dad says NAFTA has got everything screwed up
(ha ha Casey laughs). You know we are really poor people when it comes to the racing world. My dad is a retired Auto worker, and that is not conducive to racing (ha ha Casey Laughs). The IRL or Champ Car expect the drivers to bring their own money, do their own marketing and it is hard to find it.

Q: You have any plans to race any Karts this year?
A: Not really, we are saving our money for cars.

Q: What are your plans for 2007?
A: Right now we are looking at doing some  ASA Stock Car Races with Larry Varney. We hope to do some more open wheel racing too. Maybe in Star Mazda, IPS or Atlantics. It just takes a lot of money to do anything in open wheel.

Q: ASA Stock Cars? How did that come about?
A: It became obvious to us in late last year after the Gelles Montreal fiasco, that we may not find funding for this year in Atlantics.

Q: What happened at Montreal with Gelles Racing?
A; Oh it was mess to start with. The car was so un-prepared. The engine was bad, the car wouldn't shift. After Cosworth put a new engine it, the shifter actually broke during qualifying, they said they fixed the shifter, then all I had was 3rd, 4th and fifth gear for the race. Try racing Montreal without first or second gear. It was a fiasco. Nuff said.

Q: Back to the ASA Racing.
A: We made the decision that if we wanted to race in 2007 we would have to approach it a little differently. We decided to try our hand at going in circles
(ha ha Casey laughs). We had to learn how to do it and Dad decided we should start at the bottom and work our way up to learn as much as possible as soon as we could and not pick up any bad habits. So Dad called Clay Hair in South Carolina he is the winningest Legends Racer ever and we tested a legends car with Clay. Those cars are neat, pretty fun to drive really, they have a bunch of power and no tires, so they were fun.

Q: So your going to race Legends this year?
A: No, that test went way better than we thought it would, so we kind of by-passed any more Legends stuff and then went to Mike Loechers Finish Line Racing School. He was supposed to be the best or number 1 rated NASCAR type school. That's where the NASCAR drivers go to hone their skills is Mike Loecsher.

Q: How did that go?
A: That went really well too, Going in circles or I guess I should call it Stock Car Racing is pretty easy really. I mean you have to do half of what you do when you road race. You only turn left, its half the job. Well anyway we were actually pretty fast on the first day and by the second day I got with in 2 or 3/10 of Mikes time on the New Smyrna track, which we thought was pretty good since that was first time I had ever been in real Stock Car. Mike said he had taught Dario Francitti and Wheldon and named a bunch of Open Wheel drivers and said I had made the transition form Open Wheel Traction control cars to Stock Cars faster than anyone he had seen.

Q: So it was a NASCAR Stock Car you were testing?
A: No it was a Hooters Pro Cup type car, about 600 horse power I think.

Q: How did you choose ASA Racing?
A: We didn't choose it really. After the deal with Finish Line we were put in touch with Larry Varney whose family owns the ASA Stock Car Series. Everything just came together and we put a deal together with Mr. Varney. They are building a new car and it should be done by end of April. We will miss the first and maybe the second ASA Challenge Series races but we should be ready by the third race.

Q: Do you have sponsors for the ASA Racing?
A: Actually we do. The costs are just so much less in Jr. Stock Car Racing than in say Atlantics. Where $100,000.00 really doesn't do much when you need $750,000.00 for an Atlantic, now a 100 grand will pay for the whole season. If we can get a few $10,000.00 sponsors then we can race.

Q: So Elf the F1 Motor Oil is one of your Sponsors? Elf in stock car racing?
A: Yes, they have been a long time sponsor in our Kart Racing program and they are moving up with us. They are wanting to establish a larger presence in America like they once had. And they, Elf Lubricants would like a position in NASCAR and this is their beginning. It may be under the Total Lubricants badge instead of Elf though.

Q: Tell us about your new ASA team?
A; We are putting the team together now. It will be an all new team with quite a bit of ASA Racing experience. So far its coming together nicely for such short notice. Someone said we will have over a hundred years of racing experience tuning on the car, so that will help a lot in coming to grips with this style or type of racing.

Q: So when is your first ASA race?
A: Hopefully by the end of the April. We are going to do what ever testing it takes to get fast quickly. I think we will be alright.

Well Casey we wish you the best of luck. It is always a pleasure to talk with you. You never stop smiling and you are such a great kid, with a great attitude and racing record you deserve to race somewhere.

Every time I see you or speak with you, I think about the quote Danny Sullivan said of you, "this kid has more talent in his little finger than Mario Andretti or Dan Gurney combined" its absolutely astonishing that you are not in open wheel racing somewhere. We will continue to follow your achievements and if there are any companies out there looking for a very talented and articulate Race Car Driver, Casey Neal fits the bill.

Thank you Casey ......



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