Samantha Stirmel & Vipul Telang/Event Coverage
Just a few hours before racers took the green flag, rain pelted the New Smyrna Speedway. As the clouds cleared, the track dried, and racers readied their cars, The Avion Newspaper interviewed 19-year-old up-and-coming racer Tyler Simpson, driver of the No. 115 car for One Stop Automotive and Fleet Team. Simpson is a Florida native, born and raised just seven miles from the Speedway in New Smyrna.
Q: How did you get your start in motorsports?
Tyler Simpson: I started dirt bike racing at age seven, but my brother got into racing when I was only four. I got offered a ride by One Stop Automotive after working for my family in the shop, and they realized my potential and here I am! Currently, I’m racing in the Mod Mini series, which are limited to four cylinders. The top speed on the straights is about 110 mph, and if you notice, the Mod Minis are fastest through the corners because they’re the lightest cars of all the divisions.
Q: Who is your idol in the motorsport industry?
TS: My brother, for sure! He taught me how to drive and he even won the championship here in 2006. He’s racing in a few divisions higher than me.
Q: What is your favorite track?
TS: I love racing at Citrus Country Speedway [in Citrus, FL], especially since they repaved the track. But it’s always nice to race at New Smyrna, especially since it’s my home track, in a sense. It’s great to return here after four years. It’s also close to the team garage in Ormond Beach.
After a short practice session, we caught up with Tyler and asked him about the new track conditions
Q: How did the track feel? Can you notice any differences?
TS: Oh, definitely. Racers call the conditions “green” track, which is when the rain gets rid of all the rubber and the track is very slippery. It feels a lot different than on Thursday or Friday, and the conditions are very tricky. In this case, either the bottom or mid-line works, but the mid-line is most efficient. As for car setup, I prefer a loose car, as it’s a little easier to work with.
Q: What plans do you have for racing after this season?
TS: I’d love to move on with my racing career. I’d love to head over to the West Coast and race there.
The Avion Newspaper wishes the best for Tyler Simpson and the One Stop Automotive and Fleet Team for the 2018 season.