Einhaus, 24, of Seneca, started racing in 2005 in a street stock at Grundy County Speedway. He move up to the ASA Sportsman class in 2010 before making his late-model debut in ’12. His father, Joe Einhaus Jr., was the late-model track champion at Grundy in 2003.

What is it like to follow in the footsteps of a late-model titlist?

It’s kind of nice, actually, to have somebody who has been there and done it. He’s a good coach. It’s just pretty nice to have someone who can be your coach and your father at the same time to walk you through the steps.

Were you part of the championship team in 2003?

That’s when I was able to finally start coming down to the pits. He probably had 15 people in the pits helping him. My job was to help fuel the car and help change tires.

Today a lot of kids are jumping in late-models at 16. Your progression to the late-model was a gradual one. Was that by design?

My dad wanted me to run the street stock as long as I could. So I did, and I was having a blast doing it. But then I wanted to travel a little so we converted the car to a sportsman. When ASA did away with the sportsman series I sold the car. I was going to buy a Mid-Am, but my dad said to save my money and we went in as partners on his late-model.

What was the toughest part converting to late-model?

The difference in how you drive it. In a street stock, if you’re loose you can just let it all hang out sideways. You could be rough with it. A late-model, I’ve learned it’s all about being smooth if you want to be fast. It’s finesse and smoothness, and hitting your marks.

What’s the craziest thing that ever happened to you in a race car?

My first year in street stock, one night somebody blew a motor halfway down the frontstretch. I hit the oil. The car wouldn’t turn, wouldn’t stop, and I hit the Turn 1 wall head on. That scared the bejesus out of me. The frame was so bent it took about three hours to get the car on the trailer.

What drivers, aside from your dad, did you admire the most?

As a younger kid, I used to really take a liking to Pat Kelly. His family would sit in front of us, and it was pretty cool to watch him and my dad race.

How do you feel when fans come down to your car after the races?

It puts a smile on my face. It means a lot that people come through those (pit) gates to come say hi or ask for an autograph. Even if you had a bad night, that can lift your spirits up and give you the incentive to come back the next week.

What are your racing goals?

Right now, to earn the respect of some of the senior guys out there like Eddie Hoffman, Larry Schuler and Brett Sontag. We’re fortunate that Brett Sontag has stepped in and is helping us very, very much. My goal this year was to turn a 15.5 (lap)and finish 10th in a feature. So far we’ve had an 11th in a feature and turned a 15.4.

As told to Tony Baranek