76 Year-Old Otto vs. Father Time at Sebring
Two Face-Off On the Track One More Time in 2006
SEBRING, Fla., November 27, 2006 -- In March, Edgar Otto, Jr. declared the 2006 Historic Sports Car Racing Series (HSR) season the "Beat Father Time Tour". The 76 year-old from Boca Raton, Fla. knows you can't declare victory over Father Time but he is confident about putting the pressure on mankind's arch nemesis. The son of former NASCAR vice-president Ed Otto will closeout the season with a no-holds-barred brawl with Father Time at Sebring International Raceway on November 30-December 3. This marks the second time this season Otto has pulled his No. 17 UrAssist "Freedom to Go" Chevrolet Monte Carlo onto the historic 3.7-mile Sebring track in competition. He opened the season here with fifth and sixth-place finishes in the two races of the Historic Stock Car Division for Late Model Stock Cars. More importantly to Otto, his times in March were the quickest of his career on the central Florida road course. Recent testing shows he is bettering that pace now.
"Certainly at these speeds I will out race Father Time," laughed Otto. "The challenge for these real heavy cars is getting it whoa-ed down at the end of the straights. Being mechanical brakes you really, really have to push down on the brake pedal. That is a challenge for an old man. Anyone can push down an accelerator. The nice thing is that I won't be able to fool Father Time because I have a GPS speedometer mounted on my dashboard. A flip of the switch shows you your fastest time in miles per hour. My fastest time to date is 165 mph on the long backstretch here at Sebring. I hope to beat that this week."
Edgar Otto makes up the elder portion of a father-son combination at Otto Motorsports. Wayne Otto (Watchung, NJ.) won both the Sebring rounds of the Historic Stock Car Division in March and currently leads the class championship. The Ottos are the only father-son pairing in the Historic Stock Car class. Edgar, who raced for the first time in the late 1990s, considers Sebring his home track and is well experienced on the famous race course. His No. 17 is joined under the Otto Motorsports awning by Wayne's No. 144 1999 Chevy Lumina.
"My father threatened to disown me if I raced, so I waited until I was 67 to start," recounted Otto. "My reflexes are still good enough to run pretty quick and to run hard. I am definitely not a back-marker. My kid outruns me but I am trying to close the gap. The rules don't preclude anyone at any age to get out there and I am going to take advantage of that. I want to make some memories and get some good pictures."
Otto will drive in two races beginning with a 30-minute Saturday qualifying race that will set the grid for the half-hour Sunday afternoon feature event. His goal is always to win but he knows that the younger generations might have a tenth of a second or two on him. Nonetheless, after being a part of NASCAR's earliest years and being involved in nearly every aspect of the sport growing-up, Edgar Otto is eager to show that even though all of us will be caught one day, Father Time is going to have to learn to drive pretty fast to chase down this 76 year-old race driver.
"The thrill from an old man's standpoint is getting those cars up to speed and competing," enthused Otto. "It is better than a damn rollercoaster ride any time. I'll tell you."