After 19 successful racing campaigns, second-generation Grandview Speedway weekly Late Model chauffeur Randy Stoudt, recently, called it a career and retired as a racer.
“I don’t think that I will miss that actual racing part or the driving part, honestly,” the 39-year-old Pottstown, PA pilot revealed. “It’s all the other stuff. I just have had enough of it all.”
With 63 career feature victories, Stoudt’s number one on that Grandview Late Model career wins list. In 1996, Stoudt earned a Grandview Late Model Rookie of The Year plaque. His initial track championship came in 2003, winning the trophy without a feature win that season. In 2014 Stoudt, easily, walked off with his second career Grandview Late Model championship trophy, wheeling the T & W Racing Romeo’s Candies & Nuts entry.
In late 1999, Stoudt got a 358 Modified career started, qualifying aboard the family-funded No. 10 car for the annual Freedom 76, in his first real attempt behind the wheel. Two thousand was his first full year in a 358 Modified car, but by the end of that season, Stoudt was back aboard a Late Model ride, once again. That experiment failed.
Stoudt just never liked those 358 Modified cars and never truly felt all that comfortable in one. The crew worked to put the steering off to the left so it was just like a Late Model, but Stoudt just didn’t feel like he belonged in a 358 Modified entry.
Later, between championships, Stoudt strapped into that Leinbach family-owned No. NINE Late Model for a few years, racing strictly every Saturday night out in Central Pennsylvania, mainly. After a couple of years, Stoudt decided he’d be happier racing closer to home. His son, Niklas, would enjoy working on the race cars and Stoudt wanted to fuel that interest.
“Niklas is now 12 and he has at the least a good 2-years before he gets into a car of any kind. He wants to do it,” Stoudt explained. “We aren’t planning to do a lot of hunting or fishing. Maybe I can let him get things started in an Enduro car? Everyone’s bound to find the wall in their first 20 circuits. He may as well get used to it and it won’t matter if he’s out there racing a little bit out of control.
“I don’t have the desire to invest into a small car team for 2 years until he is 14. Those things cost as much as running a Late Model. We’ll do things you would see fathers and sons doing. Can you imagine a 12-year-old kid racing in a car and he takes out an older veteran? Just think what type of a scene that would create.
“Niklas loves being around the races and enjoys working on the cars. At 12, a kid could go racing at Hagerstown or up at Mahoning Valley. A 12-year-old kid just is not ready yet, especially if he might end up taking an older veteran driver out. I just think he will enjoy growing up, a little more, right now,” commented Stoudt.
Even though Stoudt will no longer be a weekly racer, anymore, he’ll still be a visitor, when needed. Stoudt won’t stay away from the track, he’ll still be around to support and help others at the track, as time permits. Stoudt’s out to pass his experience on to other racers who might still be climbing up that racing ladder.
“I am still going to be around and at the track helping Joe Fanelli whenever he might need some help or have questions I can answer,” Stoudt explained. “I am getting out, but Geezer is moving into my car for 2015 and Geezer’s car is going to have Dave Ogin in it next season as the driver. I won’t be at a race every week. Hell, if I wanted to be there every weekend I may as well keep on racing. I’ll be there once-in-a-while, as needed and help in the shop and the team will continue on.
“Taylor White and Wanda Brown were great owners and they offered me a shot at returning to Grandview and being happy again because my family was watching a race I’d run and be closer to home. Everything just clicked for us after that first Saturday we raced together. Hell, we only invested $1,500 in the engine we raced with all season and it took us to a championship season. We found an old engine some guy had sitting under his work bench for about 8 years and we bought it, ran it all summer and it carried us to a track championship. There is no need to invest a huge amount if you can make things work for less,” the self-employed driver announced.
These days, Stoudt revealed, his business, Stoudt Signs, has slowed some, but he still is in business, doing what he can. Stoudt has also started a welding and fabricating business, recently, which has kept Stoudt even busier when he wasn’t racing. Stoudt won’t slow down outside of racing. He’ll still be busy, very busy.
Two-thousand-fifteen certainly will be different, now that the defending king has walked away from the sport. For a long time, though, he will still remain number one to many at Grandview Speedway.
“For a few years, our goal was to be number one at Grandview in career wins,” Stoudt mentioned. “We got that record, now. I don’t see anybody passing me as the biggest career winner at Grandview for a long, long time. I think that it is a number that’ll be safe, for some time.”
Stoudt simply smiled, knowing, inside, he was pleased. Satisfied with all the success he’s enjoyed over the past 19 years.