Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Jeff Irvin: The Other Man In Black

By Chanda Healton
To one racecar driver from Tennessee, racing is about family traditions. From his father passing the checkered flag to him and him sharing the love of it with his wife and children. Racing is in his blood. You might even say gasoline is thicker than water! Meet Jeff Irvin, our short track racer of the week.

1) How did you get started in racing and what series or tracks do you race on regularly?
    My Dad, nicknamed Hard Chargin' Larry Irvin raced in TN, GA, and Alabama at the local dirt tracks in the '60s & 70s & I was always at the track with him.  So I guess you could say it's in my blood.  I race the B-Hobby division but have also raced the Pony and Enduro classes.  I have raced at Boyd's Speedway, Cleveland Speedway, Duck River Speedway, and Ft. Payne Raceway but call Boyd's Speedway my home track.
  2) Tell me a little about your car number and how you chose it?
    Dale Earnhardt was, and still is my hero so I knew from the beginning  my car was going to have a 3 on it.  My Dad's number was 39 so I decided to go one down and be 38 and some know me as the "Man in Black".
3) Who sponsors you and why are they special to you?
    Mr. Gary Burns is my primary sponsor and he's very special to me not only for being my sponsor but he's like a father to me.  We are family.  Attorney Brent James is also a sponsor on the 38 and he's a very close friend who has sponsored me for abut 20 years now.
  4) Who has been your biggest support throughout your career?
    Hands down my family has been my biggest support.  My wife, son, daughter, Gary & Brenda Burns, sister, brother-in-laws, Chip & 
Carl Henry, sponsors and many more have been there for me. I couldn't do it without their support.
 5) Is there a famous race car driver you like to compare yourself to? Who and why?
    I don't compare myself to any driver but I can be very aggressive at the right time so some have nicknamed me the Man in Black.
6) Do you have a website fans can visit?
    At this time, I do not have a website but I am on facebook if fans want to follow me... Find me on Facebook, JeffManinblackIrvin

    7) What advice would you give a young kid wanting to be a racecar driver?
    I would tell them to get involved with their local track.  It'll get them into the track as an insider, not a spectator.  Also, they would meet people of like mind that would give them an opportunity to see what's needed in terms of dedication and hard work in order to succeed.
 8) If you weren't driving a racecar, what do you think you would be doing with your life?
    Fishing....hauling that big mouth bass in.... not much time for that when you're at the shop to stay ahead of the competition.
 9) What is your biggest moment in your racing career?
Photo credit: Ronnie Barnett
  I have a couple that stand out to me..My son raced with me and won the first night out in the  number 3 Monte Carlo we built together.  Definitely was a catch 22 moment..proud he won but hated I lost.  The other one that is still fresh on my mind--I had a bad wreck on the front straight away going into turn 1 and flipped several times with my helmet coming off but the next week came back and won the race!
 10) Where do you see yourself in 10 years and what will it take to get there?
    I see myself still being competitive in the sport.  To stay on top it will take a lot of dedication, perseverance, and late nights.
  Bonus question What do you think professional racers can learn from short track local racing?
    Our local tracks around here are dirt and I personally think getting seat time on dirt for a professional racer is beneficial.  Dirt is a racing surface that is constantly changing.  Dirt teaches a racer a ton of car control and the drivers learn to understand how the track changes from hot laps, heats, and mains.  They learn how to predict what's going to happen before it happens in order to take advantage of the competition.

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