The FASTRAK Racing Series, currently in its’ eleventh year, has been a fundamental force in developing drivers. They have also offered some of the highest-paying points funds in Crate racing. We had the opportunity to speak with CEO and Founder, Stan Lester, and find out more about his series.
CI: For those who may not be familiar, what are the basics of your series? (Car type, surface, engine, region).
SL: We are a dirt late model series running Chevrolet 604 engines. We have both a Northeast Division and a Southeast Division.
CI: Tell us how you came to found the FASTRAK series.
SL: My family has always been involved in racing. My Dad raced for 28 years, I raced for 34, my son has raced for 25 years, and now my grandson is in his fifth year. In that time, I’ve seen a lot of things come and go. I started FASTRAK because, due to the cost, the average guy couldn’t race anymore. I wanted to find a way to lower the cost of racing. I looked at the most expensive things—engines and tires. I originally approached GM in both June and October back in 2003, but they weren’t interested. Therefore, we started with a spec engine. At our first race, on April 3rd, 2004, we had five cars. At our last race that season, in October, 2004, we had 51 cars. We switched to the GM Crate engine in 2005.
CI: How do your rules align with other similar series?
SL: Our rules are pretty close, with the exception of tires.
CI: What has been the biggest challenge?
SL: At first, it was the Crate motor. People didn’t think the program would work. No one believed in the power of the little guy. Other series focused on the stars. The goal of FASTRAK has always been to tag people with talent and little money and let them compete when all things are equal. Winning in a Crate comes down to the set up and the drivers.
Our series builds drivers to race in pro series. I am most proud of the people who have moved up. We have a Nationwide Truck Champion and several Super Late Model drivers who came up through FASTRAK.
CI: What is the one thing that people misunderstand the most about your role as the Series Director?
SL: They think we make millions of dollars, but it’s simply not true. Also, this is our full-time deal. It’s not a part-time thing for us. Racing is what we do.
Nobody realizes how many obstacles and challenges we face at each event. When it looks easy, we’ve done a good job.
CI: What is your view/opinion of the future of Crate Racing?
SL: It’s already in trouble. More and more series are starting all the time. This splinters car counts at tracks and series events. With different tire rules, guys aren’t going to buy tires to run one race.
Crate racing is built on numbers at the back gate. If each team draws 10 fans, that fills the grandstands. But, fans won’t travel distances and Crates won’t draw like a Pro Super Late Model series.
All of the splintering hurts series and then tracks, and the only choice is to offer less money.
The question all racers need to ask themselves is; who do you want to race with? A part time series that may go away tomorrow, or with guys who do this full time?
For more information on FASTRAK, you can visit their website at www.fastrakracing.com.