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Auto Racing: Q-and-A with John Brolick

John Brolick wtwo late-model titles each both Raceway Park Grundy County Speedway. He is tire seller Grundy Illianspeedways. | Tony

John Brolick won two late-model titles each at both Raceway Park and Grundy County Speedway. He is a tire seller at Grundy and at Illiana speedways. | Tony Baranek/Sun-Times Media

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Updated: September 16, 2014 6:38AM



Brolick, 54, of New Lenox, operates JC Race Tires along with partners Greg Craven and Bob Johnson at both Grundy County and Illiana speedways. An elevator repair man by trade, Brolick was a late-model champion at Raceway Park in 1994 and ’97, and at Grundy County Speedway in ’98 and ’99. He retired after the 2000 season, but continued to own and work on cars.

What got you started in the tire business?

Just wanting to still be involved in racing and wanting to be here every week. It came available and it was just an opportunity for us to do something different.

What’s the most satisfying aspect of being on this side of the racing fence?

The tires are just fun, because there are so many people who never had the opportunity to know how simple it really was to do your own tires and do them right. They’ve never had a teacher. Guys never really knew how to measure them, premeasure them, air them up. I think we’ve benefited a lot of them.

You retired as a driver pretty early in the game. Any regrets?

Oh, of course. But I don’t regret why. I had to get out because I had children. If I got hurt, nobody would be there to get them through school. That doesn’t make people bad because they race when they have kids, but my wife didn’t work. If something had happened to me I was the only provider in the home. I have just as much fun helping people as I do racing myself.

Are you happy with the state of racing today?

I’m happy with the racing. I just don’t understand how there are not more fans out there. I don’t know where you’ll find a more inexpensive place to bring your kids, the neighbors and have such a good time.

What made you such a successful race car driver?

I think that car preparation was 99 percent of it. We finished every lap and we didn’t tear anything up. Everybody talked about Raceway, what a bull ring it was, but I never needed a new clip or a tail section. So we had to be doing something right.

What was the best moment of your racing life?

Oh, Pete Jenin’s birthday bash (at Raceway Park). There was nothing better. I went to Lake Geneva (Wisconsin) once and had fast time out of 60 cars in my first ARTGO show, but Pete’s bash was better than all of them. It was a blast, that was the race to win for me. I loved Raceway, everything about it.

How about at Grundy?

Grundy was my second-favorite (track). I had back-to-back championships there, that was fun. I don’t think there’s been better (competition) in years like it is now. It’s just awesome racing, and these guys aren’t wrecking anything. They’re all respecting each other.

Now that the kids are older, could you see yourself maybe getting back behind the wheel?

You know, I don’t think so. We still have cars in our stable. D.J. Weltmeyer drove one of them earlier this year. But I think it would be like a Michael Jordan thing. You come back and it’s not so much fun if you can’t be at the top of your game. I’m too competitive to go out there and just drive around.

As told to Tony Baranek



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