The driver interview segment resumes today! I recently sat down with fellow URL Pro Series sophomore driver Mike Holtsclaw to discuss his thoughts on all things racing. Holtsclaw joined the URL last fall for the 2015/16 Pro Series as part of the green but promising rookie class.
AH – Let’s start with the reason we’re here. What brought you to iRacing? How long have you been on the simulation?
MH – My brother Roger had been on iRacing for a few years and introduced me to it. I tried it out and instantly got hooked. I got on board about a year ago.
AH – Was the 2015/16 URL Pro Series your first league experience?
MH – My first good league experience haha. I joined another about a month prior to joining URL, the rules were a little different and the way people raced was different. I compare the talent level and skill as moving from mini-stocks to K&N series.
AH – Having shared a rookie season with you I know exactly what you mean. Now that you’ve got a season under your belt and know what’s facing you, what are your goals and expectations for this fall’s season?
MH – For starters better finishes. Last season I had a few top 10 finishes mainly due to attrition and avoiding the big ones. This season I really don’t expect visiting victory lane due to the talent level of the drivers, but I do believe I have improved since last season and should be able to finish a little stronger this season.
AH – You definitely showed more speed in the spring/summer events. Analysis of the early roster and expected signups suggests an even more competitive field this season. This is largely due to the anticipated jump of last year’s rookie class in combination with the returning top end talent. And let’s not forget the incoming rookie class, which has a few potential heavy hitters who are “rookies” only the most broad definition of the term.
MH – The field this year will definitely be strong. Several of the guys in the approval series were very good and drove good, clean races.
AH – Like many of us your love of stock car racing developed long before iRacing. Tell us a little about your history with the sport.
MH – Racing has always been a major part of my life. Growing up, every Saturday was spent at the Historic Hickory Motor Speedway. My brother helped on a few mini stock teams and with Robert Pressley and Dennis Setzer. They used to hide me in the hauler and sneak me in the pits haha. After the sun went down I would venture out and watch the action. In the late 90’s early 2000’s, we helped Ronnie Davis Motorsports in the Hooters Pro Cup. We met Alan Gustafson, Chase Elliot’s crew chief, and Jimmy Foster at Lakeland Speedway in Florida and started helping them for a few races and eventually ran a few Busch series races with them. We worked out of Gary Dehart’s shop in Mooresville, NC. I lived in TN, drove to N.C everyday to work, then drove to Mooresville to the shop to work on the car. After that I raced for about 8 years, starting in Pure 4 and moved to Mod 4 and eventually into street stocks. My current involvement in racing, I shoot photography for OnPitRoad.com. Shooting around 8 races a year in NASCAR’s upper three series, along with several local weekly short tracks here in TN, Virginia, and NC. During all this 98% of my time was spent on racing, I scaled back because it was affecting my home life. I miss some of the stuff I did and got to experience but I’m getting old now and it’s hard to do so much haha.
AH – Wow that sounds like a lot of fun. That home life does tend to force things to be scaled back but I’m guessing you wouldn’t trade that time for anything.
Switching gears…this season you brought in a huge sponsorship to URL. Is there anything you can tells us about how the Kingsport Tire sponsorship came to be?
MH – Larry Buckner, the owner of Kingsport Tire and Auto Care is great guy and by far the best boss I have ever had. We talk all the time about ways to get the name of the shop out there more and I had been trying to get him to sponsor a local race car. I mentioned to him about URL and how its televised and the Hot Laps show and he liked it. With the exposure we can get from the telecast and the show for the amount of investment was winning combination for us. We are sponsoring several races along with having Kingsport Tire and Auto on my car. And I’m confident this could be a continual thing for several seasons.
AH – Well be sure to thank Mr. Buckner (again!) for the support. I know how much it means to Al and to URL to have sponsors invested. It’s always easier on us at the URL Website Team when Mr. Smith is happy!
One more question before I let you go. What sort of iRacing do you do during the long URL offseason?
MH – A lot haha. Mostly practice by myself and try to find a decent hosted session running the late model.
AH – A decent hosted session running the late model? A challenge equal to that of winning a URL Pro Series event!
Thanks, Mike, for giving us a peek into your iRacing and real life racing background.
Keep checking the website for further interviews as we work to bring you closer to the drivers who make up the URL Pro Series. You can follow Mike Holtsclaw in the #22 Kingsport Tire and Auto Ford along with the other stars of URL starting October 6th live on LSRtv.