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February 13th, 2011

 

 

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Dylan Lacey Interview

July 17th, 2013

Start’em Young

by Erin Tesseneer for Harry’s Racin’ Photos, July 17, 2013

New this year to the Historic Cleveland County Fairgrounds Speedway is the class called the Young Guns. It’s giving the youth in the local racing community a chance to race and compete each Friday night. Since its beginning, they’ve put on quite a show with trading a little paint, and bumping a few fenders here and there. The crowds have thoroughly enjoyed watching them, and they love to cheer them on as they show their skills out on the dirt.

The most recognizable name to come out of the Young Guns is that of Dylan Lacey. Watching him each weekend, he shows improvement in handling the corners, and you can see him maturing as a competitive driver. I got a chance to sit down with him between heats this past Friday. Even though he is a young man of few words, you can see the excitement on his face when talking about racing.

ET: How old are you Dylan?

DL: Ten.

ET: How does it feel to be one of the youngest competitors out here every weekend?

DL: It feels, really… I don’t know. Just exciting.

ET: How old were you when you started racing?

DL: Ten. This year.

ET: So you just started this year?

DL: Yeah.

ET: Who got you started in racing?

DL: My dad.

ET: How did he get you started?

DL: He raced when he was eleven, so I started saying last year that I wanted to race. My dad talked to Roby [Combs], and they started a class for us.

ET: So y’all got the Young Guns started out here this year?

DL: Yeah.

ET: Well y’all are doing a great job. Who are some of your racing heroes?

DL: My dad, and there’s a Late Model driver named Ron Parker.

ET: When was your first win?

DL: My second race. I don’t know what date.

ET: And it was this year?

DL: Yes ma’am.

ET: What do you remember most about that win?

DL: That there was three cars, and I felt really happy.

ET: How do you feel when you get out here on the track every weekend?

DL: A little nervous.

ET: And how do you handle that?

DL: Just go out and do it.

ET: Do you plan on racing when you’re older?

DL: Yes. I want to move up to Legend Cars in two years, and try to see if I can get into NASCAR.

ET: Oh, that would be great! So you definitely see yourself in NASCAR in the future?

DL: Yes.

ET: What keeps you coming back here to the Historic Cleveland County Fairgrounds Speedway?

DL: Because this is the only place here that has my class [Young Guns].

ET: Do you have anything you’d like to say to the fans that will be reading this on DirtRaceFans.com?

DL: I would thank them for supporting me, and all the good stuff.

After grabbing the quick interview with Dylan, I was able to catch the main event for the Young Guns. Sadly, he wasn’t able to finish, but something struck me as very poignant. The winner of the night was Justin Armour, and while he took center stage to claim his trophy and have photos taken, Dylan strolled out to congratulate his fellow competitor. In that one act of kindness, he showed true sportsmanship. That will be greatly remembered, and I’m sure he gained more fans in doing so.

Dylan Lacey has a bright future ahead of him. Seeing the sheer excitement firsthand that he has for the sport, and hearing his goals he strives to reach, there is no doubt in my mind that he will go far. Good luck Dylan in all your future endeavors, and we will all be rooting for you along the way.

COPYRIGHT: ERIN TESSENEER FOR HARRY’S RACIN’ PHOTOS

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Contact me at erintesseneer@ymail.com.
Also, feel free to leave comments below!

Dillon Sigmon Interview

July 2nd, 2013

It’s All About Having Fun!

by Erin Tesseneer for Harry’s Racin’ Photos, July 2, 2013

Whenever the crowd gathers at the Historic Cleveland County Fairgrounds Speedway, there’s a shared feeling of fun. Kids are running around with smiles on their faces, awaiting for the engines to fire up from the pits. The adults are laughing, sharing stories, and pulling for their favorite drivers. With fists raised in the air to summon their chosen car around the fourth turn, the jubilation intensifies. It’s what keeps the crowd coming back for more.

Fun is just another part of what makes dirt racing exciting and enjoyable.

One other person that finds fun in the sport is Dillon Sigmon, son of Tim Sigmon. Within their family unit, and family racing team, they’ve found nothing but enjoyment in what they do every weekend. It’s been passed down through the generations, and Dillon plans on carrying that on as long as he can. The competition drives him, and he hates missing a race. It’s safe to say that the sport has truly grown on him.

ET: How are you doing tonight, Dillon?

DS: Pretty good. How’re you doin’?

ET: I’m doin’ good. At what age did you begin racing?

DS: Dad’s been doing it since I was born, and before I was born. I’ve always been going with them. I didn’t really like it when I was younger. When I moved down here, I was about fifteen or sixteen, and I started coming with them. Ya know, getting into it. I really didn’t think I was going to start racing, but he [Tim Sigmon] started talking about putting me a car together. That’s how it all started.

ET: Who really got you into racing? Would you say it was your dad?

DS: Yeah. It was definitely dad. It’s just me and him, and Kyle [Stallings] helps us sometimes. We’re out there in the shop for hours at a time, and it’s just about having fun. Precious memories of my dad that I’ll be able to keep forever. He’s really the one who got me into it, because I just followed his lead. Now we’re racing together, and having fun.

ET: Even though you said you didn’t really like it back then, have you grown to love it now?

DS: Oh yeah. When I was younger I couldn’t stand it. We couldn’t get around cars, because he was afraid we’d get hurt. We just kinda sat on top of the truck, and it really wasn’t that much fun. But now, I really hate when it rains out, or I miss a race… I just hate it.

ET: What is your biggest draw to this sport, to come out here every single weekend to hit the dirt with everyone?

DS: It’s a bunch of different things; it’s how fun it is, seeing if you can compete, and running with other people. Everyone is nice over here at the Fairgrounds. You don’t see that very often now. Now everyone wants to be for themselves. Over here it’s been real fun this year, because everyone’s nice, and racing’s real fun.

ET: Can you recall your first win on the dirt circuit?

DS: Yeah. It was actually just last year: June 30th. Me and dad were racing. He was leading the whole race. He was leading every lap, and well, I headed up to second. A caution came out, and I pulled up beside him… just messing with him a little bit. You know, he never says it out loud, but I think he gave me a little bit. I got in front of him pretty easy, and he fell in behind me. Then he got into it with another driver, and I was out there by myself. I finished the second half of the race in front. I messed up a few times, and almost got passed, but I ended up holding out until the checkered flag.

ET: So you were able to say you beat your dad?

DS: I guess so. He’s outrun me, and I’ve outrun him a couple of times. We race hard.

ET: How long did you race before you got that first victory?

DS: I think I was racing about two and a half years, and then all the circumstances were just right. I happened to get it that night.

ET: Do you ever get nervous out on the track? If so, how do you handle it?

DS: Well, still to this day, dad says the same thing. Right before we go out, I get butterflies in my stomach. But as soon as I hit the track, it all goes away. From about the time I get in the car until we get onto the track, I’m pretty nervous. I’m trying to just think how I want to do everything, and trying to make it work.

ET: Try to get in the game?

DS: Oh yeah.

ET: What is your personal code of conduct out on the track? I know I asked your dad last week, and I’m curious how you view it as well.

DS: You mean like my ethics?

ET: Yes.

DS: I’m not going to run over anyone. Not on purpose. If I hit somebody, it’s probably an accident. I don’t want to have to go home and fix my stuff. I know a bunch of other people who don’t want to go home and fix a bunch of stuff. So, if I race everybody clean, I’m hoping everyone will race me clean. There’s been times where I’ve had to just drop the hammer, but I don’t like it. I don’t like doing that. I just want everybody to race hard, have fun, go home, and make a little bit of money if they can. Just go home with everything still together, and be able to come back next week.

ET: Who is your favorite person to race against?

DS: When me and dad are together, it’s pretty fun. He really doesn’t give me much anymore. We race hard.

ET: So now he makes you work for it?

DS: Oh yeah, he’s not gonna give me anything. I got my first win out of the way, so he’s not going to give me anymore. As far as anyone else, the Dunlaps. We’ve raced against them. We’ve battled with them. They’re always fun to race with. They’re always competition. You know when they show up you’re going to have some competition. You’re not going to have a cakewalk. The Dunlaps are some of the funnest to race with, because they’re competition.

ET: Is there anyone out there that makes it especially difficult for you when you’re on the track?

DS: Not specifically right now. I’m going to try my best whether I break, whether I finish first, last, whatever. I’m going to try my best, and try to go home without tearing stuff up. It’s all about circumstances, really, unless you have the fastest car and you win every week. It’s all about circumstances if you can get out there, and maybe luck out. Maybe your car was hooked up that night. No one specifically, really, gives me trouble.

ET: Where do you see yourself later on in your racing career?

DS: It’s really more of a hobby. I’m not the kind of person who would want to get big, and have to do it for a living. If I had to do it for a living, it probably wouldn’t be fun anymore. I just enjoy it while I can. If there’s ever a time where I can’t, so be it. I’m going to have fun while I can, and make it last. I’m never going to forget these memories of what me and my dad do. Most people get about my age, and they want to go out. Maybe some people want to get drunk, or whatever. I race, and I hangout with my dad. Most people can’t say that they just go hangout with their dad. I really enjoy that part of it.

ET: With your dad talking last week, it’s still that family affair feeling.

DS: Yeah, he teaches me how to run, because when he stops racing he wants me to be the fastest I can be. He’s tried to teach me about everything he knows. I’m learning. I’m not nearly as good as he is right now. I don’t know if I ever will be, but I’m gonna try for it.

ET: What advice would you give someone that wants to get into racing?

DS: My first couple of years, I got discouraged a lot. I knew I wasn’t going to go out there and be able to win instantly. There was a lot of times where stuff would happen, stuff would break, and I would constantly have my head down. Well, dad told me to stay in it, and it’s paid off. I can run now, and I can run upfront with everyone. You just have to stay with it, and not get discouraged.

ET: What keeps you coming back to the Historic Cleveland County Fairgrounds Speedway?

DS: You know, everyone’s just nice. Roby Combs is doing a great job with this track. Everybody likes getting into it. The people in the grandstands, they get into it. When someone stops on the track, the announcer says their name. It makes it fun racing. It’s not about the one person that wins, and that’s it. Everyone has a shot to get some publicity, and just have fun, and feel important.

ET: Do you have anything to say to the fans that will be reading this on DirtRaceFans.com?

DS: I enjoy coming to the fairgrounds, and I hope everybody enjoys it as much as I do. But dirt racing, it’s a great thing to get into because you’re not going to get into a lot of problems. It’s a good hobby to get into, and it’s always fun. Just stay with it, and have a good time. That’s all you really need to do. Just make sure you have a good time.

COPYRIGHT: ERIN TESSENEER FOR HARRY’S RACIN’ PHOTOS

Tim Sigmon Interview

July 2nd, 2013

It Begins with Family

by Erin Tesseneer for Harry’s Racin’ Photos, June 24, 2013

Every Friday at the Historic Cleveland County Fairgrounds Speedway, people fill the metal stands for another exhilarating night of dirt track racing. Taking in the action from the seats are families from across the county, and the surrounding areas. Mothers and fathers bring their children to share what they’ve enjoyed their entire lives. It is a sport that has been passed on from generation to generation, and continues to be shared. Not only is this seen within the spectators, but it is evident in the pits among the drivers and their teams.

No one else understands the importance of family within the sport better than Tim Sigmon. I had the pleasure of speaking with him on June 21 before him and his son, Dillon, took to the dirt for their family-based team.

ET: How are you doing tonight, Tim?

TS: I’m fine, thank you.

ET: How long have you been racing the local area dirt tracks?

TS: 33 years. I started February 28, 1981.

ET: That’s been a good while, huh?

TS: Yeah, we’ve had a long stretch.

ET: What got you into racing?

TS: One of my uncles had a race car when I was a little boy. I was about seven or eight years old. I’d sit around in the shop up there at night until I fell asleep. They’d take me home, because I’d always hang out at the shop with them. Then my brother started racing, and a few years later when I was thirteen I started. I took my brother’s hand-me-down car, and started racing.

ET: So it sounds like it’s been a family affair pretty much your whole life.

TS: It has. It really has.

ET: Who influenced you the most to get into the sport?

TS: I guess just being around racing my whole life. Dad took us to the races when we were real small; to Hickory, and Metrolina when it was asphalt, and Concord. We just, I just, all I ever wanted to do was race.

ET: With all of that history you have, with family and everything being around tracks, wether it be the bigger tracks or the smaller tracks, do you have any interesting stories, you’d like to share with the fans?

TS: I don’t know. I like short tracks better than I do long tracks, because short tracks are harder to drive. I just seem like I do better on the short tracks than I do on the long tracks. I just like it better.

ET: So you like to keep it local?

TS: Yeah, I’ve run at all the tracks around, and I’ve won at seven different race tracks over my racing. I’ve competed in probably 800 races, and I’ve won 113.

ET: Wow, that’s a really good record.

TS: That’s a pretty good average, and we’ve been fortunate. We do all the work and everything to our cars. We build them ourselves so when we win a race we feel like we’ve accomplished something, because we never really had a lot of money to work with.

ET: And I’m sure now with the economy the way it is, it does put a little bit of a strain, or have you guys had any issues with that?

TS: No. It’s tough on everybody that races, because racing fuel has went so high from what it use to be. Everything in general. Racing parts and all has gotten real expensive. We try to look around and buy used parts, and do it as cheap as we can, but still be competitive.

ET: That’s good, and it seems like y’all have been doing pretty good. What would be your most memorable win so far in your career?

TS: I won the Dave Watts race in 2006. That was a memorable race, because Dave helped everybody. After he died there was a lot of people that didn’t get help from him. We won that race, that was a good one. I don’t know, all of them are pretty special when you win that night, but that one in particular was a fun race. I won a lot of Late Model races at East Lincoln and Taylorsville, but that Dave Watts race was probably more memorable than anything. I got in a crash at the first of the race, and still come back and won the race.

ET: What’s your personal code of conduct out on the track?

TS: I try to race people like I want to be raced. If you go out there and beat and bang, you expect to get beat and banged on. If you race like you want to be raced, you still have to stand your ground. If somebody’s rough driving you, you gotta stand your ground and race. In general, we try to run clean, and not hit nobody and win races. If something goes wrong on the race track, come back and sit down on our trailer. That’s the best way.

ET: Who’s your favorite fellow driver to race against?

TS: I’d probably say, right now, Everette [Dunlap]. His family’s been around a long time. I knew his grandpa, and they raced Late Models for years. Me and Everette has battled each other hard for years. We’ve had real battles on the race track, and we’ve had good battles. Everette’s probably that one that I like racing with the best, because I like to beat him.

ET: You like to beat him?

TS: Yeah, he’s a tough competitor.

ET: He seems like the one to beat all season so far every time I’ve been down here. Who always gives you a challenge out on the track?

TS: Well here, it’s always, definitely, Everette. Like at East Lincoln we’ve had some good battles with a lot of different drivers. Brandon White’s tough over there. Ronnie White’s tough over there. We haven’t raced there much this year. We just decided to stick with the fairgrounds. But tough competitors? It would probably be the Dunlaps. That’s just the way it goes.

ET: What keeps you coming back here to the Historic Cleveland County Fairgrounds Speedway?

TS: It’s the track, the people that run the track. It’s a nice, smooth little race track. They don’t bog you down with a bunch of rules. You race, and you take care of yourself. It’s just a beautiful place to race, and the promoter and all the staff are good people.

ET: Besides this track, do you have any other places you like to race?

TS: We really don’t go anywhere else other than here, and East Lincoln. We use to travel around a lot, but as the money got tighter it’s just easier to stick to one track. Since Dillon’s [his son] racing, we race together. We try to stick to one track, and have the best time we can there.

ET: What advice would you give anyone who wants to get into this style of racing? I know that we’ve had some kids come in and race, and actually do really well. What advice would you give to them?

TS: When I started racing when I was thirteen, I had to race with the men. There was no kid’s class. I was the youngest driver to ever compete in North and South Carolina at that time. We had to race with the men in a 6-cylinder class. Now there’s some good classes that the kids can get into: the 4-cylinder, front wheel drive, and the Young Guns. If you’re older than that I would say start with the 4-cylinders and work your way up into the V-8’s because the parts are plentiful with the 4-cylinders. The higher you get with the V-8’s, the more it costs. Run whatever you can afford, but there’s plenty of classes that anybody can start in.

ET: That’s really sound advice, especially these days. Anything you’d like to say to the fans out there that will be reading this interview on DirtRaceFans.com?

TS: I feel very fortunate to have done this for all these years without getting hurt. Everybody that raced back years ago, when I started, there’s not many of them left racing anymore. I feel like I’m the old timer now, but I still feel like I could compete, and I’ll do it as long as I can. With Dillon racing, it’s really rejuvenated me. A few years ago I was getting real tired, and I thought about hanging it up. Then Dillon wanted to race, and it got me real interested in it again. We’re going to do it as long as he wants to do it, and as long as we can afford it.

After wrapping up my initial questions with Tim, he went on to share more stories about growing up in the world of racing. As a family unit, they enjoyed the sport together any time they could. Vividly, he remembers his mom telling his dad that he wouldn’t be racing because he was far too young. When race day rolled around, Tim’s dad would tell her they were going to the track, and if she wanted to come along to get in the truck. If not? They were going anyway. He “wouldn’t trade those times for anything,” because of the fun that was shared.

Now, Tim and his son Dillon represent the second and third generations of racing in the Sigmon family. Along for the ride is Tim’s girlfriend Sheila, his daughter, his parents when able, and their close friends. They’re usually present at the track when it’s Friday night once again. They believe in doing this as a group effort, keeping the tradition going, and getting out there to compete. Along with instilling the sport within his son, he’s also handing down his ideals. It’s not about hitting the track, and trading paint. It’s all about “handling yourself with decency,” and learning to “be humble winners, and gracious losers,” which exemplifies how close-knit the Sigmon family team truly is.
Before returning to my other duties at the track, Tim brought up a very poignant piece of advice on who will be carrying the sport forward:

“ The kids. You have to keep the kids interested in this racing, because if the kids don’t grow up racing then racing is a dying breed. The young kids is where the future is so we have to help them whenever we can.”

Dirt racing is one of the many important pieces of the puzzle to motor sports. It’s apart of how NASCAR was born, and has bred many strong and talented drivers. As a community, and as families, we have to keep these treasures alive. The preservation can begin with the children watching from the stands each and every week. It’s just another vital part of keeping this sport alive, well, and fun.

COPYRIGHT: ERIN TESSENEER FOR HARRY’S RACIN’ PHOTOS

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Contact me at erintesseneer@ymail.com.
Also, feel free to leave comments below!