STL Communications has THE NEED FOR SPEED. Every year one of our technicians wins our service response award for the fastest response time. Last year our winner responded in one minute thirty-four seconds. We’ve made it our mission to reward speed.
Quick, Efficient, Professional, Speedy, and Intelligent are all ways that STL Communications has been described. With an outstanding staff, rapid response times, and STL Communications CEO/President’s love of cars, having an STL Communications race car was a perfect match! “We Wanna Go Fast!” ( I knew it was going to be impossible to write this entire post without quoting Talledega Nights!)
Our car is one of a kind and like our service, there is no comparison with our competition. Why? Built from the ground up, by one of our very own employees, Brent Schmidt; this car was designed, crafted and is all about speed.
I was able to sit down with Brent while he taught me the in’s and out’s of racing, and answered my questions about his racing career . I’m excited to share the discussion with all of our readers. If there is a question you would like an answer too, please feel free to comment on this post and we will have Brent answer your question!
Brent, How did you get started racing?
Brent: Racing has been a hobby in my family as far back as I can remember. According to my dad I went to my first race when I was a month old. I believe when I was 5 or 6 my dad bought me my first quarter midget and it just escalated from there.
How did you build this car?
Brent: This car is built on a 68 Chevelle front stub and the rest of the car is all chromoly tubing fabricated to the sanctioning class rules. All the cutting, welding , design and fabrication was done by my son and I.
How long did it take?
Brent: Total build of the car from bare frame to race ready took about a year. Many people will buy the car. This is called “a roller” then send it to have the motor put in and then the have the body done, etc, etc. We didn’t do that. Our complete car, frame, body and driveline were fabricated in my garage.
How fast does the car go?
Brent: The speed really depends on the size of the track, we run tracks that range in size from a quarter mile to a mile. On the smaller tracks you will reach 80-90 mph on corner entry while on the ¾ to mile tracks you will well be in excess of 120 mph entering the corner.
What was the most difficult task when building the car?
Brent: Getting everything square! That’s the hardest part of building any race car. The geometry of the race car has a huge effect on the handling and setup. If your off ¼ of an inch in the wrong spot you will never get the car to handle correctly.
Where do you race?
Brent: We run throughout Missouri and Illinois. Such tracks as I-55 speedway in Pevely Mo, Tri-city Speedway in Granite City, Il. We haven’t really set ourselves up to run just one track. As a driver you will learn more about he setup and tuning of your car if you run different tracks. I feel you really limit the knowledge you have of your car by racing just one track.
Why did you choose the number 97?
Brent: 97 has always been the family racing number. I asked my dad when I was young where it came from and he told me he was in the 97th Fighter Inerceptor Group of the Air Force when he started racing. Well when he built his first car they had a stencil with the #97 on it they used to paint on the Aircraft. That’s what they used to paint the number on the car.
When racing, how many other cars are on the track?
Brent: There are usually anywhere from 24 to 30 cars depending on the size of the track. On the bigger tracks that’s not a lot, when you get on the small tracks it makes for an interesting race as you are usually door to door the whole race.
What sort of safety equipment do you wear?
Brent: Safety is huge to me, as I have had friends hurt due to lack of good equipment. I wear double layer Nomex (fire proof) underclothing as well as a double layer Nomex firesuit. Those alone give you about 3 minutes before the fire would actually start to burn you. My helmet, gloves and shoes are also made of the same type of material.
Looking back what is your most memorable moment in racing?
Brent: That has to be the night I finally beat my dad. It was May of 1994, my brother, dad and I were all racing the same class. I had just finished building my first “Modified” all on my own. I was in the Air Force at the time. I hauled that car back to Kansas on leave to show my dad. We decided to go racing that night. I finished first in my heat race and my dad finished second. We started side by side on the front row of the “Feature” , he got the jump on the start and I followed him more than half the race. With five laps to go he drove into the corner a little hard and I slipped under him and took the lead. According to the video I ended up winning by less the a foot. That will always be the biggest win of my life!
With a reputation of speed, efficiency, intelligence, and rapid response times, we knew our car had to be the best. STL Communications is the industry leader when it comes to Avaya, Nortel, Motorola and telecommunication systems and maintenance St. Louis and with the help of Brent, we intend to be the leader at the race track this year! We’re excited to host an STL Communications Night At The Race Track! Keep your eyes peeled, everyone will be invited!