Second Generation: Dion Hindi Learned Racing from His Father Dion Hindi knew from the time he was 10 years old that he wanted to be a sprint car driver. In fact he and a friend of his had a plan that his friend would own the race car and he...
Second Generation: Dion Hindi Learned Racing from His Father
Dion Hindi knew from the time he was 10 years old that he wanted to be a sprint car driver. In fact he and a friend of his had a plan that his friend would own the race car and he would be the driver. As the pair got older that plan changed, but Hindi's goal to become a full-time sprint car driver never wavered.
Growing up watching his father Shawkeet compete, the younger Hindi was fascinated by every aspect of the sport and learned the inner workings of it from his father who had a very successful career, mainly racing in the Southwest.
Dion Hindi who enjoys the history of sprint car racing used to study old racing programs from some of the events his father competed in, and can still to this day recite many of the events his dad raced in and a number of them that he won.
"He was a pretty good driver, said Dion Hindi, driver of the Realtruck.com J&J, when asked about his father. "Looking back through old programs when I was younger, I remember looking at programs from when he raced that my mom kept. I remember one from Denver where he won a heat race over (Doug) Wolfgang and (Jan) Opperman. I was really proud of that one."
The younger Hindi, who is one of the most hands on drivers in the pit area, learned many of the intricacies of sprint car racing and car set-up from his father. Like his father he cut his teeth racing in the Southwest. Shawkeet Hindi was the 1977 New Mexico Motor Racing Association Champion, as well as a track champion at a number of tracks in the area.
"He was really good around home, and pioneered some of the things that we take for granted today," explained the younger Hindi.
While many second-generation drivers are around the sport for most of their youth, there was a time that Dion Hindi was away from the sport due to unforeseen circumstances in his father's racing career. Despite not being around for about seven years, he still knew that racing was what he wanted to do and he worked hard to achieve that goal.
"It was a little difficult because from the time I was 10 until I began racing, I wasn't around the sport, because he got hurt," he explained. "He still owned the car and a few guys drove it for him, but I actually wasn't around it until I was about 17."
When he first started racing, Hindi was able to reap some benefits of his father being a well-known racer. He was able to get advice from fellow racers, as well as some of the equipment needed to compete on a consistent basis. This helped him get more laps on the track, which helped him gain confidence in his abilities and expand his knowledge-base in preparing a race car.
"My dad being a driver helped a little bit when I first started," he noted. "The guys from around home would help out and let us use tires and wheels and give us advice. I became more competitive and that changed things a little bit. He never put any pressure on me to live up to what he accomplished. It has always been let's have fun and enjoy it."
Shawkeet had the chance to see his son compete last weekend at Dodge City Raceway Park in Dodge City Kansas during the Boot Hill Showdown, as part of the "SuperClean Summer of Money." From time-to-time during the season he will see Dion race, mainly when the series is in the Southwest part of the country.
"He still enjoys coming to the track," said the always affable driver. "Sometimes he and I have conflicting ideas of what he wants to do to the car or what I want to do to the car, because he is stubborn like I am. He wants to do it like he used to, and I keep telling him that this isn't his race car. It reacts different than what he is used to. We work together well and I ask him for advice. He's my father and he's the one I go to for advice when I need it."
After spending some time with his father at the track last weekend, Hindi headed to Black Hills Speedway on Monday, where he finished a very solid eighth last season, after starting 17th and working his way to the front. This will be his second visit to the 3/8-mile track that rests in the shadows of Mount Rushmore.
"A key there is to not worry about where the race track ends or where you are supposed to turn," said Hindi. "It's a little different configuration and it is deceiving. They have highway markers up to mark the edge of the race track. That is what I did last year, I would put the right rear (tire) on those, they were little fiberglass flexible things. Last year I was running through them to know where I was on the race track."
The event at Black Hills Speedway will continue a very busy stretch of events for the World of Outlaws that will see them compete four times in the next seven days. With temperatures expected in the upper 90's each day, it will be a very demanding week on the drivers and crews. Hindi points out that they are used to dealing with the weather, and he stresses the importance of making sure his team has all their equipment in place to be consistent during the busy stretch of races.
"I don't know if it's the weather," he stated. "The bottom line is the equipment. Your engines have to be good and your cars have to stay together. The heat doesn't bother me driving-wise, or wear me out or fatigue me. It's the same everywhere, keep the motor running and the car rolling around the corners."
Like most drivers, Hindi would race every day of the week if it was up to him. Being a veteran of the sport, he knows how to pace himself and the demands of competing nearly 90 times a year.
"It gets tiring and the logistics of it are hard, making sure your engines are continually in and you have enough parts in the trailer," shared Hindi. "I would rather race three times a week than one time a week."
On Monday, June 25 at Black Hills Speedway adult tickets can be purchased in advance for $34 or $40 at the gate the day of the race. Tickets for children ages 9-12 will be just $15, with kids 8-under admitted free. For ticket information call 605-341-0752 or toll free at 1-800-727-2411.