Today Central PA Racing Scene has the privilege of interviewing 21 year old driver Ron Aurand. Ron drives in the 305 division here in Central PA. Ron is a full time collage student from Lewistown PA who drives a family owned sprint car for his girlfriend's father. As you will read in the interview, Ron and family are what racing is all about, having fun with the family when they are at the race track.
Central pa racing scene - How did you get your start in sprint car racing?
Ron Aurand - I have always been a huge sprint car fan. Actually my very first day out of the hospital, when i was born my dad had me at Williamsgrove Speedway. So its always been my passion my entire life to be around sprint car racing. My girlfriend became a huge sprint car fan when a few of my friends and I took her to a speedweek race. So she told her dad to come with us one night to Williamsgrove and he fell in love with it. Next thing i knew he bought a micro for me to race. After about a 1.5 years of micro racing we decided it was time to step up to a full size sprint car. We barely can afford to put fuel in the car every week, however we have made sure its a family team and strictly for fun. So we felt that a 305 would be best for us. Its a series for a working mans budget. So last season i ran 2 races in the 305's and this season that is all I am running. We are running a limited schedule due to our financial budget.
CPRS - So how did you do running micro sprints ?
My first year was very frustrating because we were so new to micro's and had to idea what to really do when it came to jetting and gearing things. My second year we had a lot of fun running at clinton county with the Interstate Micro Sprints. We had to run a limited schedule however almost every race we ran was a top 5.
CPRS - Who all helped the most with the learning curve? Were the other drivers helpful when it came to a rookie in the pits?
Ron -I would have to say Nathan Gramley was a huge help since he has a racing past in micro's and is now running 305's. Ron Utt and David Utt also were there to help us as much as they could when it came to the micro. As far as being a rookie in the 305's...Nathan Gramley, Daryl Stimeling, Tim Kline,Kyle Pruitt, and Andy Haus are always willing to lend a helping hand when it comes to help with set ups and other learning curves.
CPRS - So after a year and a half in micro's why the decision to move up to the 305's instead of getting more experience in the micro's ?
Ron - We felt that the micro was a good step in the door but the best way for me to gain experience was to be behind the wheel of a full size sprint car. A micro is a great learning experience however they dont handle like a full size sprint car and we felt the best way to learn was to just get in one and give it a try. Most race teams can get an entire season or more out of a 305 motor without really doing to much rebuilding. They also pay a lot more to take the green flag and we thought it would be more cost effective for us. It has always been a dream of mine to race a full size sprint and Rob Grassmyer (car owner/girlfriends dad) gave me that chance.
CPRS - So how much of a learning curve was there?
Ron - They are definitely different feelings and experiences. I love that i don't have to shift anymore lol that makes it really nice. In the micro i had to drive with one hand and shift with the other pretty much. In the sprint car i have both hands on the wheel at all times so its a lot easier to steer but the horsepower is totally different. Sprint cars flex and do so many different things that a micro doesn't.
CPRS - You said you run on a tight budget. How hard is it running a car on such a tight budget? With the economy the way it is, it can't be getting any easier to race?
Ron - Its extremely hard. Sometimes i get a little hesitant when it comes to making a risky pass on a car at first for fear of breaking something. We actually don't have any spares at all. Everything we own is on our car. It makes it really enjoyable and i get a huge sense of pride when it comes to riding in the truck hauling our open trailer to the races because everyone can see the car when we are hauling it. It also gives a little more exposure for the sponsors that we do have. With the rising costs of fuel right now and gas we are doing everything we can to scrape together enough money to just buy fuel.
This kinda makes me laugh but last Saturday we got enough money to buy our very first brand new tire and i was so excited that we had a new tire on our car that no one else ever used lol.
CPRS - You mentioned your sponsors. Who all helps sponsor the race team ?
Ron - My car owner Rob Grassmyer (Grassmyers Excavating), Scott Baylor (STB Performance), Jim Mack(a close friend of mine),
Andrew Simonetti (Close Friend, volunteers his time when he is not away for army training)
Health @ Hand and i take care of our website (Ron Aurand Web Design)
CPRS - Who all helps on the car?
Ron - My Dad "Duff" Aurand and Rob Grassmyer are the set up guys and my girlfriend Ashley takes care of scraping mud and anything anyone else needs. Her mom Pam helps with whatever Ashley needs help with. My friend Andrew "Simo" Simonetti helps me with weekly upkeep when he is not defending our country and my friend Sean Fluke helps with weekly upkeep when he is not working. Matt Carter helps out with anything needed when he is not working.
CPRS - What are your goals in the sport? Would you like to run a bigger schedule or maybe try your hand at 410 or 358 racing, or are you content to race 305's with your family?
Ron -I would love to run a 410 or 358. I would have to say tho my biggest goal is to run USAC but i would really like to have my family and everyone that has helped me with my racing career be part of it. As far as my goals right now in the 305, I would really like to be able to run more races to get more experience so i have a better chance to drive a 358 or 410.
CPRS- How can fans or potential sponsors contact you?
Ron -You can drop by my trailer at the races. I am always happy to talk racing with anyone. My cell number is 717-348-9202 and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org You can also stay updated on our team at www.ronaurand.com . I would also like to thank you Bill for giving me the opportunity to speak with you tonight. Make sure to stop by our trailer anytime you are at the races.
Good luck to Ron the rest of this racing season. Ron and his family are just what this sport is all about, and that is trying to live a dream by becoming a sprint car driver. With more family's like this in racing across the country not just in Central PA, the sport of short track racing is safe for future generations. photo courtesy of Gregg Obst.