PERRIS, Calif. – With racing on a temporary hold at Perris Auto Speedway due to the coronavirus, track officials have are interviewing drivers to see what they are doing and what the near future holds.
First up is AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series star Jake Swanson.
Question: Great to talk with you, Jake. What have you been doing to keep yourself occupied the last month without racing?
Swanson: “I do environmental testing. Basically, we keep gas stations going. Lucky for us we are an essential business and we are just as busy as ever. I feel pretty fortunate for that because a lot of other people are kind of in a tight spot paying rent, bills and everything else. Hopefully, we can end this thing soon so we can get back to racing. Get back to normal.
Question: Like everyone else, when you are not working, you are pretty much confined to your house. What are you and your wife Jessica doing to pass the time at home?
Swanson: We started with building a home gym. Jess has always been big about going to the gym and I have been kind of following her lead lately. With everything closed down, we did not have the opportunity to do that. I have some gym equipment and we were not using our garage. We gutted the thing and got rid of a bunch of stuff and turned it into a home gym. We put a floor in, hung all of the weights up so we can work out. Luckily, we had all of the equipment. It seems like you cannot find the equipment on Amazon or anywhere anymore. So, we did that, and it is cool. That project was done in a weekend, so it was on to the next project. Then we got going on iRacing. We made a simulator. I guess I cannot even call it a simulator. It is more like a monitor with an old racecar seat mounted to an engine stand.
Question: So, it is not like some of these $7,000 rigs some guys are using?
Swanson: Absolutely not. First, there is no way I would spend that kind of money. Once things get back to normal, that thing is just going to sit there. Second of all, I don’t have the room for it.
Question: You said you got the gym going. Does that mean when we get back to racing fans are going to see an all buffed out Jake Swanson?
Swanson: I doubt it. I can’t seem to bulk up to save my life. I have actually been trying to figure out how to do that. I have heard everything from having to eat more and have an ice cream every night, to trying protein to doing squats and deadlifts. I have heard it all. I try to, but we are so busy with work it is hard to do it every single day. I am sure I will pretty much be the same old stick figure.
Question: The shock business (Jake Swanson Shock Technology). Jessica normally runs that while you are at work, right?
Question: How is that business right now? Has it slowed down?
Swanson: Believe it or not, it really has not slowed down that much. Fortunately for sprint car racing, people are putting cars together. They are taking their time to go through their stuff. It is really good to see that people are putting stuff together and not just checking stuff out, but actually building cars. Hopefully, that will transition to when we pick things back up, there will be some more cars for us to race with. If we are not building shocks, there is plenty of other things going on to keep us busy.
Question: Unlike a lot of people, you have actually raced sprint cars this year. You had one weekend that was great when you won both USAC Southwest Series main events at Canyon Speedway Park. Then a couple of weeks later it was not quite as great when you finished 17th two nights in a row.
Swanson: Yeah, one great weekend and one complete disaster of a weekend. I felt like we had a car to win both nights (the second weekend which was a joint USAC/CRA – Southwest Series race), but never really got a chance to show it. Trying to shake those guys in the mid-pack to get to the lead pack, but for whatever reason, something would happen, and we just could not get there. I really want to get back to racing. We have been really effective because we have a racecar, that I believe can win just about every race. I want to prove that my race team is good enough to do that. Not just the sprint car team, but Josh Ford Motorsports with the Midget. We have come a long way and I think we are going to take our share once we get back to racing.
Question: This must be a change for you. Normally you have driven local cars that you work on. Now the sprint car you drive is in Arizona and the midget is based in Ventura. You are not working on the cars like you used to, correct?
Swanson: Yeah! Man, it is weird. Really weird. Like you say in the past I was working on them. Spending at least a few nights a week on them. They were long hours. Especially when you would tear some stuff up and have to put it back together. The good part is I am still kind of hands-on just because we have the shock business. I am taking care of all the shocks on all the cars. I think it is probably a good thing as I can just get in it and drive it. I do not have as much of an emotional attachment to it and I can do my job a little more efficiently. Drive it a little harder instead of having to worry so much about having to fix it myself. With the shock stuff, I can sort of fine-tune it a little better because I have more time to really focus. Time to, you know, play with the stuff on the bump stops on the dyno and the bump springs. The Team Arizona guys take care of everything else. It is a lot of work. It is no easy task taking care of one racecar let alone three and a big old trailer and a race team.
Question: Looking from the outside, you seem very happy with Team AZ and your crew chief Justin Grau. True?
Click below to keep reading.