August 17, 2020
Perhaps better known for his driver coaching, team managing and vintage sportscar racing exploits aboard some of the most legendary prototypes around, Doug Smith first made a name for himself running a Hawke DL2A in his native Florida before working up the Formula car ladder, first with a small family-run USF2000 team.
Last year, Smith debuted a supremely refined RF97 Van Diemen, and explains in this episode how it all goes back to FF, even among some of world's top drivers.
July 31, 2020
Gary Hackbarth was one of the top Formula Ford drivers of the late 1970s- he qualified 2nd at the 1979 SCCA Runoffs, and won the June Sprints in '79 and 1980- back when the field was filled at 80 cars.
His 1979 Sprints win might be the most impressive- his right rear shock became disconnected during his race, and yet he somehow still managed to win by a big margin, driving one of Carl Haas' team Lola T540s.
A stellar, down-to-earth guy- the kind who probably paddocked next to you at the track at some point. It just-so-happened he was a rocket once buckled into his various Fords.
Special thanks to Andrew Milam for helping sponsor this podcast, and to everyone who have been following along on this journey through Formula Ford history, past and present.
July 30, 2020
Peter and Brian Hampsheir were the duo behind Elden Racing Cars- a firm that built over 250 cars during its time as a racing manufacturer- they built F4, FF, FA, FR, S2000, FSV, FF2000, Sports Racers and even F3 cars for a period of four decades.
On July 29, I caught up with Peter- the designer of Elden cars via Skype, and he recounted a bit of the Elden history, as well as his own personal life away from the race track.
Humble doesn't even begin to describe his nature- he was an absolute joy to interview, and he gave credit where it was due both to his late brother's manufacturing efforts and running the business, as well as those who took his drawings and gave them pace on the track.
A special thanks to Chris Hampsheir for helping set up this interview, and to Larry Haynes of LCH Restoration for sponsoring this episode. If you own an Elden in North America, Larry is the go-to man for sourcing parts, and general knowledge of the Elden brand.
It'll personally be an honor to drive one of Peter's Elden designs in 2021- you can bet on that.
All the best-
June 21, 2020
We've had a break in the action as of late- but Kent-ish has four podcasts coming in the next few weeks, starting today with California's Todd Gerstenberger.
Todd is a front-runner in FF with his Titan Mk6, but has also dabbled in Production racing, as well as Formula 5000. Like many of our guests, Gerstenberger is a helpful racer who is out to help grow the sport, especially in the ranks of Formula Ford.
Unlike the previous podcasts, we've done away with a pre-packaged intro and closing and instead attempted to work it into the natural conversation. It cuts about 2 hours off the production time, and why should you have to wait for the interview?
All the best-
June 2, 2020
Time is an enemy to us all.
There are a many individuals I want to have on Kent-ish, but I'll never be able to get everyone's story around the world.
That is where you come in- do you have an old interview file laying around starring a FF alum? Do you have someone you think would be a great interview, or has a story of FF competition worthy of being documented?
Take a listen, I have an opportunity for you and for 'us' as a community of racers...
May 29, 2020
'Back on September 1, 1975 I did a taped interview with Chip Mead at the old Steak & Ale restaurant and bar in Kettering, Ohio. It was done shortly after I had met Chip (I had seen him at a couple of Formula Atlantic races) and the purpose of the interview was to get Chip's feelings about his racing career and racing in general for an article I was going to do for a magazine. Don't recall if the story was ever published, as the magazine went out of business around this time.
To make a long story short, I have just found the original cassette tape of this interview (which is over an hour long) and am having my son (who is the audio wiz in the family) restore, clean up and digitize it. He tells me that the quality is pretty good and that he was able to clean it up quite a bit. He tells me that near the end of the interview the tape fades away to just a hiss, but that the vast bulk of the interview is very good quality.
I was a 24-year-old budding photojournalist at the time and had already covered Can-Am, Formula Atlantic and Formula One racing. This interview was my first wide ranging conversation with Chip about racing, and I am glad that I both recorded it and saved it all these years. Who could realize that we would be working on the same race team 12 years later?'
May 29, 2020
It is one thing to race a Formula Ford. Its another to have a guiding hand in organizing and running an event while doing so. In the case of Steve Beeler, he's helped put together some of the biggest FF events in North America- all to help promote FF competition and the legacy of the class.
Steve began racing Formula V in the 1970s, and spent a great deal of time in the auto industry in the years between. Our discussion ranges from his current Club Ford, a Lola T540, to the lessons learned in the 1980s automotive world.
See you next week with yet another episode!
May 22, 2020
Episode 7 stars one of my favorite individuals, a man who is larger than life, fun loving and quick to help those at the track. Tony made his start in a 1983 Reynard and later raced a hybrid Swift in his native New Zealand. He also competed in Europe for a season and now runs Horizon Racing and Performance - a restoration and prep shop in Puyallup, Washington. He debuted a restored Caldwell D9 in 2019, making him one of a handful of people to have raced FF on three continents (New Zealand is considered part of Oceania, for my geography lovers.)
Tony has also driven some of the rarest cars on earth, including Ken Miles' famous MG 'Flying Shingle.'
See you next week, where my guest will be the man who organized the FF50th at Road America this past September, Steve Beeler.
April 22, 2020
They say don't meet your heroes.
I'm not sure who 'they' are, but they obviously don't know Jimmy Vasser. The 1986 SCCA Runoffs National Champion and 1996 PPG/CART IndyCar champ was a pleasure to interview on VERY, VERY short notice, and his love for the sport comes out crystal clear after all these years, so much so that it looks like you may see him back in a Formula Ford very soon.
In this episode we discuss winning the Runoffs, being the first Team USA Scholarship recipient, running the ultra-rare Lanan Formula Ford, and of course- how good Formula Ford racers make excellent IndyCar team owners.
I hope you are all well and that you're enjoying Kent-ish. Feel free to drop me a line.