Hubbard “separates” himself at Screven (GA) Speedway in
EASTBOUND, SOMEWHERE IN TEXAS
We’ve been keeping an eye on Austin Hubbard.
You know, he’s that supercharged teeny-bopper they started calling
“the Delaware Destroyer” a couple of seasons back, the kid who got
so excited winning his first WoO Late Model feature that he stripped
in Victory Lane.
Now, just barely a car length past age 20,
Hubbard is on the Lucas Oil Series full time, prancing about with
the cream of the country’s dirt trackers. From every appearance, he
is lightning fast, seemingly capable of wrapping the world with a
stagger tape in one hand.
But what’s it really like out
We caught up with Austin today. He was workin’ his
way “Eastbound, somewhere across Texas” after some Lucas shows. It’s
immediately obvious that Austin still has that bounce in his step,
but racing’s highway has its road hazards.
in the world were you thinking when you did your Peach Tree State
striptease that frigid night at Screven Speedway?
know, lots of people are sitting up in those stands envying what we
drivers get to do. They might think, ‘Good Lord, what would I do if
I won a big race like that?! I might just take off my clothes and
run down the straightaway.’ So, that’s what I did.
To me a big thing in professional sports is to get a tag on
yourself. A different sense of personality and style – get yourself
separated. Hopefully as a good guy, not just a villain.
There’s a picture of you and Scott Bloomquist going into a turn at
East Bay and clearly neither of you bothered to lift. What were you
guys thinking – you the upstart and he the Professor who won his
first championship way back in 1982?
Well, I just turned
20 and I’ve been racing for fifteen years, so maybe the sensation is
over and we are all old drivers! But I do remember that moment.
Sure, I have much respect for Bloomquist. We started on the front
row with Jared Landers right behind. But Jared asked me if I was
going to move over for Scott. I said, ‘Just watch turn one.’ No way
I was going to give up. If I have that mentality, I don’t have the
right to be out there calling myself a race car driver.
Hubbard and Scott Bloomquist test each other in a
Scott spun; Austin won. (Tim "Cub"
How good are you?
I ask myself that
question all day, every day. Sometimes I feel I really have it;
sometimes I wonder why I’m even doing this. To be honest, it still
has to be determined. As far as the guys like Bloomquist goes, If
there is a moment I can actually beat them, I had better not waste
it. They have had so many more chances to win than I have.
Does that make you tense and pressurized pre-race?
be young, but I’m a veteran with the butterflies. Again, if you
don’t get ’em, you better hang it up. It’s strange, though. In my
case the pressure often shows itself in another way. I usually get
to yawning before going out. I guess it’s reverse adrenalin.
When you came to visit our Coastal 181 booth at the Motorsports show
in Philly a couple months back, you spent a long time talking with
Brad Doty. What was that about?
It was just jaw-dropping
for me that he knew who I am. I really wanted his advice and I
listened. How can I keep going? What’s the smartest way to stay
alive in this space? He is so wise. He told me to fan my fire, to
keep it alive at all costs, no matter what happens. Never mind all
those big-buck teams and house cars I race against. Never mind the
swings and cycles. Just stay up, always ready. You can bet everyone
in Brady Doty class at the Coastal 181 booth,
(Jack Kromer Photo)
Whom do you admire most
out there on the circuit right now?
Calm and collected. Even with all the success he’s had, he’s
still nice, with that cool poise that lots of people seem to
lose. Since I’m the guy who streaked at Screven, I don’t
think I could ever be like him, but I sure respect his
ability to react to anything – on the track or off.
How much do you do on the car yourself?
lot. It’s so much work, constantly to keep this all going.
Not just the car, but the transporter, the generators,
everything. I can weld, but I wouldn’t want anyone to be
under a roll cage I installed. And I can pull out a rear
end, but I need to find someone good to rebuild it. My thing
is tires. I do all the rubber, all the time. I’m very anal
about it. That’s my fetish.
Who’s out there on
the road with you?
It’s tough going right now. We
are running my dad’s car, and there are just three of us.
We’ve got our crew chief, Nick Hoover, who is 25 and there’s
Josh Willin, my buddy from high school. He’s my age.
Do you have a girl friend?
Sure do! Kelsie’s
over in Erie, Pennsylvania. I see her a lot during the
winter months, but it’s every now and then during the
So, do you like the mobile lifestyle?
It does get old. And there is so much tension about
making a living. Thank goodness for Dad being behind this as
much as he can. We do so many miles. Last week was Indiana,
Mississippi, and Texas. We did have a little time off before
the races in Texas and we cooked out and hung around the
pool a little. It’s fun to do that and get away from our
worlds at home. But then it’s good to be back home and a
little relief from the world of racing.
how’s it actually going?
We had to put this whole
effort together so quickly because I had thought I was going
to have some other rides. We built the car in two weeks. And
then last weekend we blew both our motors and have had major
truck trouble. Quite honestly, right now is just about as
shitty as it can get. We’re trying to figure out how to
piece some equipment together to run Virginia next week. I
keep hearing Brad Doty in the back of my mind. I guess this
is the kind of time that makes your skin tougher.
So back to basics, Austin. “2012 will be a good season
for me if….”
For sure I would have won – VERY
SOON – a Lucas race paying $20,000 or more. Then I want to
win the Knoxville Nationals for late models. It is possible.
We’ve run well there for the last two years. Along with
Virginia, it’s my favorite track.
I think I can do it. I’ve got the
heart. But I have no idea how I’m going to do it. I can’t
tell you what I’m doing three days from now. I’m just
© 2012 Lew Boyd, Coastal 181
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