Holtgraver hits road in search of continue success
Auto Racing Videos
Danny Holtgraver got a taste of the road last season. Now, it's about to get serious.
Holtgraver, the 2010 Lernerville Speedway Sprint Car champion, opened his career as a full-time touring member of the All Star Circuit of Champions this past weekend. Wednesday night, with the start of the 42nd DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park, not far from Daytona International Speedway, he embarks on his dream.
“Last weekend before we left, I walked into the garage, and it was like, ‘wow',” Holtgraver said. “This is something my dad and I have been working on since we started this. It's been 18 years in the making. We have everything we need to be successful, but now it is up to me. This is my eighth year in a Sprint now, and I just have to work as hard as I can.”
Holtgraver is in Bryan Grove and Rob Hunter's No. 45 car that Paul McMahan drove to a fifth-place All Star finish in 2012. McMahan has moved on to the No. 51 car. The team is based out of Fremont, Ohio. A key piece of the puzzle for Holtgraver is crew chief Brian Kemenah. Kemenah and Holtgraver had a loose association last season, and now it is official. That pleases Holtgraver.
“We (Grove and Hunter) talked through the year, and then Paul got into the ‘51' car, so it worked out,” Holtgraver said. “Brian is with me, and he has been since Knoxville last season. He's one of the best there is. One nice thing is that Brian doesn't put pressure on me. We're able to communicate really well. He's been doing this for over 30 years, so he knows what he is doing.”
One danger of going on the road as a touring member of any series is being part of an ill-equipped or under-funded team. That is not the case for the ‘45' car.
“We have three cars, two are complete, and one is sitting ready,” Holtgraver said. “Hopefully, we will not need that one. In the hauler, we have everything we'll need when we are out on the road.”
Racing last week in Georgia was rained out, so the team headed south to Ocala, Fla., to Bubba Raceway Park for two nights. Donny Schatz won both races Friday and Saturday. Holtgraver made both features; he finished 12th on Friday and 15th on Saturday.
“The first night at Bubba we won the heat and finished 12th in the feature,” Holtgraver said. “It was an All Star show, but there were enough Outlaws there that it could have been one of their shows, too. This week we have the two shows at Volusia to really start things off, and if things go well, we'll maybe stick around for some more of Speedweek. We won't push the issue, though.
“Right now, the plan is to run the All Stars and to run 15 to 20 World of Outlaws shows, as long as they are close,” Holtgraver said. “Dad is working on our own car for some of those nights when we have nothing going, so I will be back home for some races. We also have a 360-Sprint and will run that a few times because I need as many laps as possible.”
Holtgraver won three All Star features last season, including Lernerville's All Star show Sept. 3, and finished third in Ohio Speedweek, so he knows he can win. It's just a matter of surviving the grind of the road.
“Of course I am going to go out there to try to win a championship, but if we win a couple All Star races, are consistent in points and not beat up our cars, I will be happy,” Holtgraver said. “I'd also like to get a World of Outlaws victory.”
In his career, Holtgraver has teamed with his dad, Big Dan, and the past few years, Danny has leaned on four-time defending All Star champion Timmy Shaffer. That dynamic has changed.
“Dad has been with us in Florida, but it is different now,” Holtgraver said. “He's happy that I'm with a great group of guys. I don't think with Tim that it will change that much. We hang around a lot and are good friends off the track. I know he is going to race me hard, and I will do the same. I think he is happy for me because he helped me so much the past few years and he has watched me from the beginning when I first got into a Sprint Car.”
Thomas Zuck is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- In Steelers-Saints game, all eyes on Brown-Lewis matchup
- Steelers notebook: Defense has a retro feel
- Salvation Army in W.Pa. uses social media campaign
- Trib real estate writer Spatter ‘worked right to the end’
- Sloppy Penguins fall to Hurricanes
- Hempfield Area High School senior Richason creates Before I Die wall in Greensburg
- Carnegie boy with rare gene mutation enjoys 1st Penguins game
- Auto technology gives mobile computing a new meaning
- McKeesport’s Minerva’s Bakery to be featured on Sebak’s documentary
- Hunting creates strong bonds, traditions
- Cash-strapped Pittsburgh Public Schools to sponsor holiday parade