SCC: Driver spotlight on Devon Powell

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 16, 2002) -- Although Devon Powell began racing cars only six years ago, his strong heritage combined with his driving talent and knowledge of race cars has helped him secure a spot among the top drivers in the...

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 16, 2002) -- Although Devon Powell began racing cars only six years ago, his strong heritage combined with his driving talent and knowledge of race cars has helped him secure a spot among the top drivers in the Grand-Am Cup Series. After making the transition from go-karts to race cars, Powell teamed up with co-driver Doug Goad, which has proven to be a winning combination. Since entering the Grand-Am Cup Series, Powell and Goad have gone on to capture the 2001 team, driver and manufacturer championships and are currently leading in the 2002 driver and team standings. Powell and Goad will look for their fifth win of the season and the championships next month at the Grand American Finale at Daytona International Speedway.

THE BASICS
Series - Grand-Am Cup Series
Class - Grand Sport I
Team - Powell Motorsports
Car - #11 Sunoco Ultra 94 Corvette
Website - www.powellmotorsport.com
Date of Birth - April 22, 1977
Hometown - Port Perry, Ontario
Birthplace - Port Perry, Ontario

RACING HIGHLIGHTS
* Currently tied with co-driver Doug Goad for the lead in GS I driver standings
* 2001 Grand-Am Cup GS I driver co-champion
* Eight podium finishes in 2002 including, four wins at California, Mid-Ohio, Mont-Tremblant and Mosport

IN HIS OWN WORDS...

When did you begin driving?
I started in 1990 driving go-karts. I didn't start in cars until 1996.

When did you know that you wanted to pursue racing professionally?
I grew up in this business. It all started long before I was even a twinkle in somebody's eye. I don't know that there was every a decision about me entering the business. It was here and that was the only thing that I was brought up around. Nobody ever took me to baseball games or football games. It was always the racetrack. I don't recall ever making the decision to enter racing. It was the natural evolution.

What is your favorite thing about racing?
My favorite thing is being able to take the car to the limit, beyond and back again, hopefully in one piece.

What is your most memorable experience of the 2002 season?
We actually had a couple of surprise wins this season where we didn't think we had the car capable of winning. The crew pulled off a couple of quick pit stops and that made the big difference. Mont-Tremblant and Mid-Ohio were two of the races like that.

What is the most challenging part of racing?
Being able to put a whole package together consistently every time we go to the track is one challenge. However, that's one of the challenges we have been able to do well with over the years judging by the success we've had. For me, it's just being able to put the package together here at the shop during the week and then go to the track on the weekend and put it to use.

Which is your favorite track? Why?
I only live about 15 minutes from Mosport, so that's one of my favorite tracks. I also like Mont-Tremblant, because they've done a nice job preparing it and making it a nice place to race. There's not really a track that we go to during the season that I don't like, but the track that we haven't had much success at is Phoenix. Other than that, I really enjoy all of the tracks that we go to. Every time we get to go to a new venue, like Fontana this year, it's really enjoyable as well.

How does it feel to be tied with your co-driver for the GS I driver point standings?
It's a familiar place, and that's what we try to do. Last year when the points system was set up to discourage co-champions we set up our strategy so that we could still be tied for the points. It's a comfortable place to be, although there is not enough cushion between us and the second place car. But we hope to work on that in November at the Finale.

If you had to pick any other profession, what would you pick?
I really don't know. I actually get scared thinking about it sometimes. If this thing ever goes up in flames I don't know what I would do. I really can't imagine doing anything else. Maybe Doug (Goad) would give me a job.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Any free time I have I go racing. A guy that works for me on the weekends with the team actually hobby drag races, so when he races we actually do a role reversal. He drives and I take care of his car for him.

Do you have any superstitions?
No, not really. The only thing that remains consistent is before I leave off the grid my crew chief sticks his hand in the car and shakes my hand and that's the last person I see.

What goals have you set for yourself?
As we start putting together plans to run next year, my plan is to secure enough funding to do just about anything. It would be nice to be able to move up to a quicker, faster, better car. So far my goals are to secure funding in the near future and in a couple of years to be able to run something else. We would like to be able to run some sort of Prototype car.

Who or what has been the biggest influence on your life and racing career?
My father has been the greatest influence because this was all his business to begin with. He had it all in place before I came into it. He is also one of the biggest influences as far driver training is concerned. I've spent enough years now with Doug that he is probably the second biggest influence, because I have learned so much from him. Even now every time we go to a track I learn something new from him because he has so much experience. He's kind of like my second father now.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
The best piece of advice I received was actually when I was karting. I didn't really help my father work on the go-kart a whole lot in the beginning, and somebody told me that I really should. They probably told me that so that he wouldn't have to work as hard, but what ended up happening is that I earned a greater appreciation for how it operated and how it worked. That appreciation continues to this day because I take care of the preps at the shop during the week. That was probably the best piece of advice that I've received because it turned my head around to thinking about and actually working on the cars, which I believe helps a driver give the correct information to the crew during a race.

What are you plans for the off-season?
I think we are looking at building a new Grand-Am Cup Corvette for next year, which will pretty much chew up the month and a half we have before next season starts.

Do you feel added pressure on yourself because the driver and team point standings are so close?
There's always a little bit of pressure. Being so close heading into the last race is a place that we have been before, more than once actually, but the last two times we've come out ahead. Personally the most pressure I feel is the fact that in order to get a manufacturer's championship for Chevrolet we need to win and we need a car in between us and the third place car.

What do you feel has been your greatest accomplishment?
One of my accomplishments would be being able to repeat championships from year to year. Also, having so many victories in this kind of racing is probably another big accomplishment for me.

What has been the key in making your team so successful?
No matter what, and no matter how many personnel changes we have had over the years, we've been able to keep a pretty consistent base of people, which helps because in this type of racing nobody has that kind of budget to keep 10 full-time employees. We rely a great deal on weekend help, so being able to keep the key people around as we introduce new members to the team helps.

Additional information about Devon Powell and Powell Motorsports, as well as information about the Grand-Am Cup Series can be found online at www.grand-am.com. The Grand-Am Cup Series will end its 2002 season on Nov. 9 with a six-hour race during the Grand American Finale at Daytona International Speedway. Tickets are currently on sale for the event by calling 386-253-RACE (7223).

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Devon Powell , Doug Goad , Port Perry