By Dale Calnan / OntarioOval.com - For most drivers the thought of winning one championship in their racing career would be dream come true. With that being said, the 2011 season for Chris Herbison must have exceeded his wildest imaginations. Not only did he manage to capture the Brockville championship by 1 point in the ultra-competitve DIRTcar Sportsman division, he also claimed the track title at Cornwall as well. We sat down and talked to Chris about his starting in racing, his exciting and close championship battle at Brockville and the teams preparations for 2012 in this edition of ‘Question Session’.
Hometown: Mallorytown, ON
Birthdate: Feb 73
Career: Hydro One
Years in racing: 18
Chris tell us where and how you got involved in racing?
My Dad had raced for years and always being around it seemed like the natural thing to do.
Is there any one person who helped you get to where you are today in racing?
I’ll have to say that my Dad and my brother were a big influence because I was always younger and just tagging around, but I was always involved. Eventhough there was a lot of great race car drivers at the time my hero was my Dad and I always wanted to be him! My brother really worked with me trying too make sure the racecars were always right and helping with the little things that make a big difference. Paul Pekkonen was a huge help early on as well. There are so many people that make a difference in a career in racing it would be almost impossible to mention them all! My wife Tammy and kids Jarrett and Jacob have really helped me to be a complete racecar driver. They support me 100% and that makes me be able to be more focused.
A career in racing has many highs and lows. Was there ever event that occured or time when you questioned being involved with racing?
I think the biggest one is when your running a modified and don’t have the money too run with everyone else, but you know if you had the resources you could run up front, that was probably the most frustrating!
The DIRTcar Sportsman division since instituting crate engines is one of the most even and difficult classes in all racing to win in.( 1st and 2nd in points were separted by just 1 point in 2011) What is the most important area(s) you concentrate on to put you in a position to be near to or at the front each week?
Well I’m lucky because I’m just a driver and Chris Stewart brings a great car every week for me to drive and that lets me be more focused when I get to the track. On the track I try to not put myself into a bad spot and maybe have to wait longer to try and make a pass and just try and pass as many as you can without putting yourself in a bad position. The crate motor is a great thing that’s happened to our sport. It lets a lot more people get involved in racing, but the car better be the best that it can be every night or you won’t be competitive and there is alot of very good racecar drivers in our class as well.
Winning the track championship at Brockville by 1 point over Dylan Evoy must have made the title feel really good. How did that last points race of the season play out on the track? Did you know right away that you had won the title?
It did make it feel really good because we lost it the year before because we got into a crash in hot laps and we couldn’t fix it properly for the feature. So to come back the next year and win it, that was really special. We went into the night trailing by 8 points so we had to have a lot of good things happen for us to succeed. In the heat race we gained 3 points so the margin was down to 5 points going into the feature, we started 13th and Dylan started 15th. We both had some work to do so I ran as hard as I could the whole race and I was up to third and knew Dylan was behind me somewhere. A caution came out with 2 laps to go and I knew the only shot a had to win was to try and make into second on the restart. I thought a had a chance coming for the white flag because I was gaining on second place Steve Barber and as we got to 3 I was up beside Barber and didnt let off and beat him by about 3 feet so it was really tight. I wasnt quite sure if I had won or not because it just happened, but realized if I just got by Barber there was no way Dylan could have got him so then I knew we had it by 1 point! The Cornwall track Championship was pretty special to win also, its the other place that I always wanted to win as well.
Take us through the off season and how you are preparing for 2012.
The offseason has been long, but we’ve kept busy with our kids playing hockey. Chris has the car pretty much ready to go. Just a few updates and were ready to get at it.
What are your plans for your 2012 racing campaign?
Were going back both to Brockville and Cornwall for the year if everything goes well of course. We are also going to run a few special races if we can. We always look forward to going to Brighton Speedway, its one of those places are whole team enjoys racing at.
Do you have aspirations of moving up to 358’s at any time?
No, I don’t think so. We’re happy where were at right now. We have a good Sportsman program going on. Anything can change, but we’ll stick where we’re at for this year anyways.
If you had a chance to drive any other type of race car what would it be?
If I had a chance I would really like to drive a Late Model. They’re pretty cool. The other one would have to be a Supermodified at Oswego. My Dad raced them there and I would love to give them a try for sure.
Stay tuned for the next edition of “Question Session”. If you are a driver, team member or track official and would like to be considered for an upcoming edition of “Question Session” please CLICK HERE to contact us.