|Date: 8/8/2017 10:56:49 PM|
In Search of 10
This year Curt Michael is trying to complete something that some drivers could only wish for in their racing career. Curt Michael is in search of his 10th United Racing Club Championship.
In 1995 Curt arrived on the 360-sprint car scene and has been a force to be dealt with ever since. In 1995 Curt and his father ran their own #6 car in 4 URC races with a 358 engine. In 1996 the team tried to run most of the URC tour but did miss a handful of races because of motor issues. That year Curt won his first of 58 United Racing Club races at the Harrington Fairgrounds and finished 10th in points.
Even though this was Curtís first year on the scene, running those 4 races in 1995 prevented Curt from being eligible for "rookie of the year" but he was ultimately awarded the "most improved" driver award.
In 1997, Curt switched teams to the Mike and Cathy Bostic #6 team and completed his first full season on the URC tour. Curt finished 3rd in points with his older brother Sean winning the championship and former URC front runner and 360 Sprint Car Hall of Famer Kramer Williamson finishing second. Curt also tacked on 3 more wins in 1997.
In 1998 Curt returned for a full season with the Mike and Cathy Bostic #6 sprint car. This was Curtís first championship, again with winning 3 races on the year. Kramer Williamson and Greg Coverdale rounded out the top 4 in points.
In 1999 Curt changed venues and classes he the Bostic team stepped up into 410 sprint cars with Curt at the wheel. Curt ran weekly in Central PA and won his first 410 race at Lincoln Speedway. Later that year Curt and the Bosticís split with Curt headed to the Bill and Kay Tanger #07 continuing to run a 410 in Central PA.
In 2000 Curt continued with the Bill and Kay Tanger team in Central PA and also ran the Kathy Palladino #99 part time in URC. Curt picked up 4 URC wins in 2000. During the 2000 year, Curt moved out of the Tanger seat and into the Walt and Marsha Dyer #461 picking up his first 410 win at the famed Williams Grove Speedway.
The 2001 season saw Curt continue to run #461 at the Grove on Friday nights picking up his second 410 win there and his third 410 race win overall. Curt also tasted success when the traveling World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series came to town picking up a personal best 4th. That year Curt continued to run the Palladino #99 at a few URC races. Curt picked up one of his biggest and most memorial wins of his historic career at the Syracuse Mile.
In 2002 Curt saw some change as Walt retired the #461 shifting Curt to the Palladino #99 trying to win the URC Championship. Picking up an early win New Egypt Speedway the team appeared to be heading towards its goal, but the next week Curt broke his back at Delaware International Speedway. While Curt was out hurt, Pat had a Heart attack at the shop. Curt took 11 weeks off and won from 10th in only his second race back at Granby in Canada. Even though Curt missed multiple races, the Curt still finished the year with 4 URC wins.
In 2003 Curt ran the whole URC tour but split from the #99 and ran for a first-time car owner Frank Davis in his #2 car with URC. Curt finished 3rd in points and picked up 2 URC wins.
Returning to the Frank Davis owned #2 car, in 2004 Curt ran the entire tour winning his second URC Championship and winning 5 URC races along the way.
In 2005, Curt moved back into the Palladino #99 and continued to run with the team for 2006 and 2007, picking up championships 3, 4, and 5. Curt picked up 3 race wins in 2005, 6 URC wins in 2006 and again 3 in 2007.
In 2008, Curt moved out of the Palladino seat and into the Bill Gallagher 5g. The team ran the whole tour and found instant success winning championship #6 while picking up 4 URC wins.
In 2009 Curt ran the whole tour in the 5g. Even though Curt picked up 3 URC wins, Curt finished the worst point finish ever of 4th when running all the URC races.
In 2010, the team was back hitting on all cylinders winning Championship #7 while picking up 2 URC wins. It was the same story in 2011 as Curt and the Gallagher enjoyed another Championship with Curt picking up #8 and winning 2 URC races along the way.
In 2012 the team wanted to try their hand in the 410 Central PA ranks again and moved the 5g to Central PA 410 racing. The team had some second-place runs, but never grabbed a 410 win. In 2013, the team continued to run the 5g in the Central PA circuit, but Curt took part of the year off when Curtís wife battled breast cancer.
In 2014 Curt was back in the 5g in Central PA and in select URC races. Although the team didnít win a 410 race, the team still ended up with 3 URC wins.
In 2015, the team was back on the URC scene running the entire tour and picking up Championship #9 and a career best 6 URC wins. In 2016, Curt once again ran the entire tour finishing second to Davie Franek and picking up 2 wins along the way.
During Curtís career in URC he has picked up 58 wins and 9 championships. Curt has competed at many tracks around the northeast and even in the Midwest. With all that experience, race wins and championships, Curt still has a hard time nailing down one memory that sticks out above all. With all the racing, the Delaware driver has done there are just too many of them. Curt does point out winning his first URC race in his dad's car will always be one of the best. Curt never thought he would race a sprint car let alone win a URC race! Getting to race against his brother Sean and finishing 3rd to Sean in 1997 Championship points. Then there was his first Championship with his Dad as crew chief, Winning at Syracuse, Winning Rolling Wheels on the last lap with 70 something cars there that night. Really, it's just being able to race and then being lucky enough to win races and Championships with so many great people, friends and family over the years.
Even with all the wins and championships, there are still races that have always eluded Curt. The Bully Hill Nationals at Black Rock (Now Outlaw Speedway) was one race that Curt ran second or third a few times there before he won it in 2006 in the #99 car. Growing up in Allentown, Pa Curt and his family went to the special sprint car shows at Grandview, so he wanted to win badly there and after being fast there at times we finally won for the first time in 2014 and then ended up winning 2 more races there that same year.
With looking at Championship #10, Curt hasnít really thought about it. ďI'm not sure there's much difference between 9 or 10? I'm very happy with 9 and if 10 ever happens that's great too.Ē With one Rider Racing Engine and it's difficult to go into a season thinking about a Championship while only having one engine. Curt has won URC Championships utilizing only one engine during the year, but he also has had to have changed engines during a race night or for the next race night during most of my other Championship years. Utilizing one engine can be considered a pretty big weak link when you're racing two or three nights in a row and planning on going for a Championship. Luckily Rider builds Bill Gallagher and the team a great engine and it's been going 26 to 28 races before needing a rebuild for the last 3 years straight.
One of the unique facts about Curt is that he has raced during the United Racing Club, then the Untied Racing Company and back to the United Racing Clue eraís. Curt just became the VP this year, as he was a board member and booking the races for the 2015 and 2016 seasons. When the Club was reborn in 2015 and since heís now considered to be the "OG" or "Old Guy" of the club he is one of the longest standing members of URC and knew more of the race track promoters than anyone else, so it just worked out that way. Curt really enjoys being involved with the Club and getting to know people and other racers that he didn't really socialize with before, because they were taught to be enemies. Heís had racers say to him "man, I was always told you were an asshole, so I just thought you were an asshole, but you're not". Since Curt books the races, he really cares about bringing a good car count to each track. ďTo me there is no "little guy" or "big guy", URC needs every team possible when they can afford to go to the races and I appreciate every one of them.Ē
During Curt career, there has been challengers to his reign as the URC champion, but none really has been as successful as Davie Franek. Franek has won 2 out of the last 3 URC Championships and currently the two drivers and teams are locking into another close points battle. Curt admires Franek and believes that he has turned himself into a great racer by racing as much as he can. Franek has been racing for a bunch of years now with many wins and URC Championships already. Curt believes that Franek is ahead of where he was at 26. Curt first ran a sprint car at age 23 and won his first URC Championship at 26. Racers are get started in sprint cars at a much younger age now. Davie has the advantage of being young while having a great team with great equipment and the desire to run as much as possible. Having that desire to race more than the other guys will always make the driver and the team better. While Curt and Franek might be evenly matched now, but Franek has his whole career in front of him and will only continue to get better.
So, whatís next for Curt Michael? As long as Bill Gallagher allows Curt to drive his car and if Curt is still competitive and having fun then he will continue to race. The Michaelís 6-year-old daughter Madison likes going away for the weekends with Daddy and the entire team enjoys having her there. Curt wants to keep Madison around racing because it's kept Curt out of a lot of trouble and he hopes to pass that down to Madison while she grows up. Bill and Curt are in their 10th year racing together, which almost unheard of these days and Curt is planning to make Bill his last car owner.
Once Curt hangs up the helmet he wishes to continue going to the track and being a part of the 5g team. If Bill and Curt are together at that time and Bill would want to continue racing, Curt would like to keep running the 5g team and help bring along a younger driver or just be a driverís coach or a team member on another team. Curt will also be looking to stay involved in the URC and help everyone else that's involved in adding to the awesome history that the URC has.
Whatever the future holds for the 2017 racing season, and the future of Curtís racing career, the Ocean View driver has brought so much to URC both on and off the track. He is well liked and respected in the pit area and he is a fan favorite at each track, especially his home state Georgetown and Delaware International Speedway. Curt continues to be a consistent runner on the URC tour and not only will you see the 5g in the winnerís circle again very soon, but come December he could be hoisting the United Racing Club Championship Trophy for the 10th time.
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