Friday, October 31, 2014

Central PA Racing Scene exclusive Q&A with Lincoln Speedway 358 Track Champion Chase Dietz

Today I would like to share with you my exclusive 1 on 1 conversation with one of the rising young stars here in Central PA sprint car country the new driver of the R & R Motorsports 4r and 2014 Lincoln Speedway 358 track champion Chase Dietz. I sat down with Chase and asked him about his start in the 358 division, his great 2014 campaign which saw him win 4 times on his way to his first track championship at Lincoln aboard his family owned 2d, his relationship with his cousin 410 driver Cory Haas, and his expectations and planse for 2015 aboard the 4r.

CPARC - In 2012 you started in the 358 division and not only won the Central PA 358 Point Series Most Popular Driver but also the ROY, then you followed that up this past season by winning the Lincoln Speedway Championship. Did you ever think you would accomplish all of this in your 1st 2 years in the division? 

                      Chase with his 2013 Central PA 358 Point Series Most Popular Driver Award

Chase -  I never would've thought I'd accomplish the things I've done the past two years. To be able to put my name in the record books with guys like my uncle Cory, Jeff Rohrbaugh, Niki, Nouse, and all of the local 410 guys who started out in the 358s makes me realize how amazing it is to have done these things. I definitely had high expectations/goals for myself when I started in 2013, but all drivers have to have those expectations/goals to keep them determined. In my Rookie year, I definitely expected to win at least one race at Lincoln just because I knew I could do it. The thing with me though is that I want to do everything differently than everyone else. In 2013, the tracks got back to the way the should always be with no rubber down racing all the time. Well in those previous years, everybody got their first career wins from the pole position. When I won my first race I passed Rohrbaugh and another racer in the same corner. The fact that that was the way I got my first win made it special to me. We ended up having a great year then at Lincoln and closed out the season with that win at WG where even though I wasn't happy I started on the pole and won, it was still special because I had to hold off one of the best (Nouse) on a one lap shootout. Then 2014 just explained itself. It was just too amazing.


CPARC- You come from a strong family background in racing. You father Tim raced sprint cars for years and your cousin is Cory Haas. How has that helped your learning curve as far as your development? 
Chase - Having both my dad and uncle Cory have really helped me progress quickly as a driver, worker, and crew chief at times. Both of them have a bunch of experience as a driver so they know exactly what I need to do and can tell me things to help me. With Cory having so many championships and wins under his belt in the 358, he knows how to drive them, how the cars handle, and what to do. My dad never ran a 358, but ran a 410. Both cars act different, but my dad still helps just as much by telling me what I should do as well. I've also learned how to set up and work on the cars from each of them as well which a huge factor in becoming a great racer. Those two have also led me to meeting many drivers and formers drivers who I can go to for advice as well.

                          Cory Haas cousin of Chase Dietz in his familiar 11c at Lincoln Speedway
CPARC -  Has living up to the expectations of both of them hurt you in any way? 
Chase -  I haven't ever felt any pressure when racing when it comes to trying to them. I just do my own thing and keep on learning and trying to accomplish my goals in order to reach my dream.

CPARC - Your 1st two times in a 358 where less then fun. You ran 1 lap at Trail Way and blew an engine, then had wing issues at Susquehanna Speedway. How frustrating for you was it to have so many things go wrong when your just starting out? 
Chase - To be honest, I saw those experiences as signs. I think someone thought it just wasn't that time yet for me to really start. I was just excited to be able to get in a sprint car at that point anyway so I didn't have any expectations at that time.

CPARC -  In your rookie season you won twice, once at Lincoln and once at Williams Grove. Explain how that must have felt to enjoy that much success right off the bat? 

                                   Chase celebrating his 1st career win at Williams Grove Speedway

Chase - As I had said before, those wins meant a lot to me just from the way I accomplished them. To pass a guy like Jeff Rohrbaugh for my first feature win and then hold him off multiple times is still unbelievable to me. Then at the Grove it was only my 3rd race there and I got to hold off a charging Nouse who had won many races there that year and the championship. That night my uncle Cory hadn't been racing and was able to be there all night for me as well which was awesome too. Just the way everything played out in those races made it special.

CPARC -   This year you backed up your strong rookie season by winning 4 races, 1 at Trail Way in the 31 Bat Car in your very first start at the track in a 358, and 3 at Lincoln with two of them back to back. What clicked mid season to make you such a strong team? 
                           Chase celebrating in his 1st career 358 victory at Trail Way Speedway

Chase - From the beginning of the year I thought we were definitely a contender each race we ran. We came out opening day and were god awful in the heat and I wasn't happy. I put that behind me for the feature and I raced for the lead with Young the first half of the race before I jumped the cushion and fell to 5th. That race set the tone for the rest of the year because I knew we were good. The following race I led the entire race till Nouse got me on the last lap when I messed up again in lapped traffic. I think at the beginning of the year I was really confident that I could win, but I tried too hard which showed when I made mistakes. I ended up getting that first win in the middle of the season during that make-up race and then it felt like weight was lifted off my shoulders just because I put too much pressure on myself. From then on we were a top 5 car each week, but seemed to struggle come feature time. Towards the end of the year, after our last week off, I had gotten some rest on vacation and got my mind cleared. I figured a few things out that I had been doing as a driver that made us seem mediocre in features. Well, we came back from vacation and ended up pulling off a win. The following week we came back for the championship race and won again on the final lap. The week after that I spun out and came from the back to finish 3rd and then ended the year at Lincoln with a 16th to 5th. That last stretch of racing showed how tough we were as a team because we figured everything out that we needed and showed we were the best out there. ending the season on that note put an exclamation point on the season.
                                       Chase in Victory Lane at Lincoln Speedway July 26th
CPARC - This week it was announced that you where the new driver of the 4r 358 sprinter, A team that not only has won 14 races the past two seasons, but has won back to back championships at Williams Grove Speedway with Kevin Nouse as their driver. How much pressure is there to you to keep that momentum up if there is any? 
Chase - I feel no pressure at all. There are some big shoes to fill, but I feel like the team and I can definitely achieve the same goals, if not exceed those goals. There is a lot of hard work to do and I think it'll all show right from the start of the season. The main goal for the entire team is to just have fun and enjoy the opportunity.

CPARC -  Do you have any plans to jump back in your family owned car and run any 410 races in 2015? 
Chase - Actually, our plans are to run the 410 in the 2D at Lincoln and possibly Susquehanna whenever we are not running the 4R. There will be a lot of racing in store for next season.

CPARC -  How much fun was driving the 410 for you at the end of the season this year? 
Chase - Running the 410 was a dream of mine and I had a blast. The main reason I wanted to run the 410 was to be able to learn. I gave up the opportunity to expand on the great 358 year at Lincoln as well as racing at Williams Grove in order to get more experience in the 410. I decided I wanted to be able to learn what I'm planning on driving in the future, I wanted to experience how hard I need to drive in order to compete with the best, I knew that by getting comfortable in the 410 it would help slow down things in the 358 that would allow me to make better/quicker decisions, and I just wanted to find out what it really takes to get to my goal. I'll say that I learned an enormous amount of skills in a short amount of time and I know these skills will definitely show in the 358.

                              Chase in his 410 at Lincoln Speedway during the Dirt Classic
CPARC -  Can I get you to make a prediction on how your going to do in 2015? 
Chase - I can't really say what I expect to do just because that's how I am, but I do want to go after both track championships at Lincoln and WG. That all will depend on if we are able to race all of the races based on sponsorship though.

CPARC - Now lets try and see what Chase is like away from the race track....

 1. Favorite sport other then racing? 
Chase - Football 

 2. Favorite sport team?
Chase - Colts

 3. Favorite music / Band? 
 Chase - Country

 4.Favorite TV Show 
 Chase - Castle

 5.Favorite all time movie? 
 Chase - Rush

 6. Favorite race you have ever won in your carrer?
Chase - B - Main in my 410

 7.Favorite 358 driver to race against? 
Chase - Jeff Rohrbaugh

 8. If you could have dinner with 2 famous people 1 alive and 1 dead who would they be and what would you talk to them about?
Chase - I'd want to talk to Donny Schatz and my grandpa. I'd like to talk to Schatz because he is my favorite driver and who wouldn't take advantage of talking to a guy with so much knowledge of racing? I'd like to talk to my grandpa (father's dad) to see if he has been watching me all of these years and to see how proud he is of the accomplishments my dad and I have achieved together. I wish he could've been there all of these years with us.
Chase and his family in Victory Lane at Williams Grove Speedway. 

CPARC - Anything else you would like to say to your fans?
Chase - Yes, I want to tell them that I appreciate everything they do for me as well as the entire sport. If it wasn't for the fans, sponsors, and my family I wouldn't be where I am today.

Major Thanks to Chase for taking the time to sit down and answer my questions today. If you would like to get in touch with Chase you can follow him on twitter at @ChaseDietz89 or his motorsports team @Dietz2d.

Good luck to Chase in 2015 and Thank you fans for taking the time to check out this exclusive sit down with one of the drivers leading the charge to take sprint car racing in Central PA into the future.


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