Thursday, January 01, 2015

Exclusive interview with the 2014 Williams Grove 358 track champion Kevin Nouse

Hello and welcome to my exclusive interview with the reigning and defending 2 time Williams Grove Speedway 358 track champion Kevin Nouse.I had the pleasure of talking to Kevin last week and over the course of 3 hrs we discussed his 2 incredible seasons behind the wheel of the R & R Motorsports 4r owned by Roger McKeehan, his micro sprint days, his super sportsman victories, his love for not only Port Royal Speedway and 410 racing, but how his priorities are changing with his son moving into the racing world, and how that made the decision to scale back his racing efforts in 2015 to help concentrate on his efforts, which in turn lead to his new ride for the season. So sit back and enjoy the sometimes outspoken, but always honest and refreshing interview with Mr. 100 Kevin Nouse.

CPARS - Tell the fans about the 2014 season & all the success you had. Was it a dream season?

Kevin Nouse - In 2014, we ran 27 races. We finished with 10 wins, 24 top 4 finishes, 3 DNFs and the Wiliiams Grove track championship again. It was a dream season for sure. I don't want this to be taken the wrong way, but it was what I was expecting. I told Catherine Hogue on opening night at Lincoln Speedway that I wanted to finish in the top 5 every night, and besides our DNFs, we did that.

CPARS - Did you expect to be so strong right out the gate?

Kevin Nouse - I did expect to be strong immediately because of how we ended 2013. We did alot of R&D in 2013 and hit on something that felt really good in the final few races of that season. I knew that if I could have that feel in the car on a consistent basis, we were going to be very strong.

CPARS - You joined the 4r team in 2013 did you think when you joined the team that you would be the most dominant team like you where?

Kevin Nouse - No. I knew that we could be a contender but never thought that we would be considered the dominant car.

CPARS - What was the secret to all the success?

Kevin- Honestly, the secret was the pit crew. My mechanic Tracy and my crew guys Jeff, Josh and Trent were the key. They do an amazing job every week with the car and we all work together very well. No drama, no tension, no fighting, no egos... just 100% focus on getting the job done. The 4R cars and engines are nothing special and very average. There are several cars that had better equipment than we did. But there was no one that had the crew that I did, which is why I brought them with me to my new team.

CPARS - With such an incredible 2 years what lead to you leaving the 4r team?

Kevin - Numerous things lead to my decision to leave. I guess the main reason was that my crew was all leaving and I knew it wouldn't be the same deal without them. They were all burnt out because it wasn't a fun deal to be a part of anymore. Nobody on my crew, nor I, felt appreciated for what we were doing for the owners of the car. It's not nice to say, but you can only take advantage of people for so long before they get tired of it and are ready to walk away.

CPARS - For those that haven't heard the news who will you be driving for in 2015 and what type of schedule will you be running?

Kevin - I will be driving for Jake Raudabaugh Motorsports in 2015. We plan to contend for another Wiliiams Grove Speedway 358 track championship. I will also be driving a Super Sportsman for him on a part time basis. As far as scheduling goes, we're planning to schedule around 20 races for the 358 and 10 races for the Sportsman.

CPARS - Bringing the crew along to the new team do you think you will start right back up and find victory lane right away or is there going to be a period of adjustment to go through with a new car owner?

Kevin - I'm sure that there will be an adjustment period with a new team, but bringing my pit crew along will definitely shorten that time frame. It will be my goal to win right out of the box, but that's probably not realistic. One thing for sure, everyone at JRM is more motivated than ever to win races and are working very hard to be prepared for 2015.

CPARS - The new driver of the 4r team was announced recently and Lincoln Speedway 358 track Champion Chase Dietz was hired. How much of a rivalry will there be between the two of you after the 2 championship seasons you has in that car?

First, let me say that I really like Chase and think he has a ton of talent and a bright future in this sport if he keeps his head screwed on straight.   But some of the comments I've heard and read have a fire lit under my ass.  In 2 years driving the 4R car, we ran 49 races...  14 of those races were wins, 40 were top 5's and 44 were top 10's.  Those results were not easy to achieve by any means, and I think he will find that out.  So to answer your question, yes, there will be a rivalry and it's going to be a strong one.  I wish nothing but the best for him, but I guarantee we're not going to just pull over and wave him by next season.

CPARS - You mentioned your going to be running a super sportsman again this season. Whats it like going from a sprint car to a SS? For those that might not know what are the differences between the 2 divisions?

Kevin - There are several differences between the two cars. The Sportsman doesn't have power steering like a sprint car. The Sportsman has to weigh 300 pounds more than the 358 does. The Sportsman has a carburetor and the 358 is fuel injected. The Sportsman wings are the same square footage as a 358 wing but they aren't allowed any side panel offset. That makes a big difference in how well the car turns into the corner. Overall, the Sportsman feels like a heavier car with less acceleration and traction than the 358 car. They are a handful to drive, but they are also very fun.

CPARS- Was last season the first you ever drove them?

Kevin - No. I raced a full season in the Super Sportsman division in 2002 at Silver Springs and on the Sportsman Tour. I actually won 2 races as a rookie, was named Rookie of the Year, and finished 2nd in the Sportsman Tour points that season. So I do have a little bit of experience in them, although it was a long time ago.

CPARS - You've raced EVERYTHING under the sun that has a wing on, micro sprints, sportsman, 358s and 410 sprints, do you have a preference to a certain division?

Kevin - My favorite car to drive is a 410 Sprint Car because they are just amazing pieces of machinery. The torque and horsepower is incredible and they are just so much fun to drive. But I also enjoy the 358 cars very much. The lack of downforce caused by the smaller wings mixed with their decent amount of horsepower make them a very fun car to drive when the track gets slick.

CPARS - What lead you to the 358 division after having success in the 410 division a few years ago?

Kevin -  I had been in and out of the 358 division since 2003 and always enjoyed driving those cars. There was just always opportunities there when a 410 ride wasn't available. And in recent years, I've actually turned down a few 410 rides to stay in the 358 division. Priorities change with time, and having fun at the races is important to me. It's hard to have fun in the 410s because of all of the pressure you're under. But I can still have alot of fun in the 358 cars so that's what I choose to do.

CPARS - What was your favorite track to race at and why?

Kevin - My favorite track is probably Port Royal, even though I haven't been able to race there in several years. I always went good there in every car I've ever driven. As far as the tracks that I run now, Williams Grove is my favorite. It's not easy to drive when it gets slick and that plays into my advantage some nights.

CPARS - This season you celebrated your 100th career feature win. Im not gonna ask you which race was your favorite to win...YET, I want to know which races where your favorite to win in each division you've ever raced.

Kevin - That's actually not that tough of a question to answer. In 270 Micros, it is the Kevin Gobrecht Memorial National Open at Trailways. It was the 1st memorial race for him because he had just lost his life 1 month earlier. It was a VERY emotional day as they did a tribute to him and his family was there. It was also my 1st ever win at Trailways. My favorite 600cc Micro win was winning the Tulsa Shootout in 2000 and getting a Golden Driller Trophy. My favorite 410 win was my 1st career win at Williams Grove in 2007. Oddly enough, I don't have a favorite 358 or Sportsman win.

CPARS - You've cut back your schedule to help get your son's racing career started, how much longer do you see yourself racing before you finally retire to help your son completely?

Kevin - I'm not sure really. I guess if he enjoys driving a race car and I'm able to afford it for him, it will slowly happen over time. I don't have a time frame set yet. When it's time, I'm sure I will know. But I'm in no rush.

CPARS - How much more stressful is watching your son race then it is racing yourself?

Kevin-  It's weird. It's not what I would call stressful, but there is a level of concern that I've never felt before. I can tell you that I went over his car again and again before he raced just to be sure everything was right and safe for him. That's my biggest fear probably... him getting hurt. Especially if there was something that I could have done to prevent it. I honestly don't care how he runs at this point. As long as he's safe and having fun. That's what this is supposed to be all about, right? It's amazing how many people forget that over the years.

CPARS- Lets talk a little bit about your real job. Your the owner of Nouse Sign& graphics as well as the official dealer of K1 race gear. How is that going?

Kevin- Lets talk a little bit about your real job. Your the owner of Nouse Sign& graphics as well as the official dealer of K1 race gear. How is that going?

CPARS - You have stepped up this year to help the 358 division and have sponsored a 4 race series between Williams Grove and Lincoln Spreedway. How did that come about and tell the fans a little bit about it.

Kevin - I care alot about the 358 division and want to see it rebound. I approached Williams Grove last season about maybe sponsoring a race or two at the end of the season, but nothing was able to be put together. So when this series was put together, they offered the title sponsorship opportunity to me and I took it. I am proud to be the title sponsor and I enjoy helping the 358's out. We are working on making this a BIG series for the division. and hopefully will announce many new things about it soon.

Lightning Round....

Favorite sport other then racing?
Kevin - NFL Football

Favorite team?
Kevin - Pittsburgh Steelers

Favorite music?
Kevin - At work, country. On raceday, Hard rock

Favorite band?
Kevin - Country - Eric Church Rock - Tool, Godsmack, Five Finger Death Punch.

Favorite tv show?
Kevin - A Football Life on NFL Network.

Favorite movie?
Kevin - Oceans 11

CPARS - If you could have a conversation with 2 people, 1 alive and 1 dead who would they be and what would you talk about?
Kevin - Not sure about someone that's alive, but I would love to have a conversation with my Grandma & Grandpa Howard again. They both died several years ago and I miss them both tremendously. I'd love for them to meet my children and get to spend some time with them.

Final question. ...Seeing how your a huge steelers fan like myself, make a prediction on how far they will go this season?

Kevin - I hope I'm wrong, but if they make the playoffs I think they will lose in the 1st round because they don't play consistently. But I hope I'm wrong. LOL

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