For Mt. Pleasant, Michigan native Rich Robinson Jr. auto racing was a fun way to spend summertime Friday nights, and for 20-years he has been having a blast. What started out as a father-son hobby has grown in recent years into not only weekend fun, but also a business.
Rich’s career started out simple enough, “My dad and I put together a car to run in the Bomber class and it just took off from there. After the Bombers I ran Pro-Stocks, and then got in the Modifieds. When I got in the Modified class it just made me a whole different driver all the way around. They are a little bit harder car to drive and I just couldn’t drive it like the Pro-Stock and I think it just made me a better driver”.
Once getting a hold of the intricacies of the Modified set-ups, Rich began building his own cars. Working the fabrication side of things was something he always enjoyed, and with more and more success on the track he began getting several propositions from competitors asking for a Robinson built chassis. Soon, Rich who works as a carpenter at Konwinski Construction found himself spending extra time in the race shop fabricating chassis, and XTreme Racecars was born, “I never thought that it would take off like it has. The cars were doing well and the people were doing well in the cars so they took off from there. I just keep trying to make things even better and the best part is that it helps pay for my hobby…RACING!”
With 34 XTreme Racecars now competing at tracks throughout Michigan, the 2007 & 2008 Michigan Modified Association State Champion and 2010 UMP Modified Michigan State Champion has a little more pressure when it comes to performance; “I have a lot of added pressure now, especially after last season. It’s tougher starting out 2011 because there’s a big part that’s trying to repeat the year before. But we set a goal last year and we reached it, and we know that trying to up the ante year after year can get grueling and tough on a family, so now we are going to do things a bit differently. We are going to kick back a bit, run for fun concentrating on our Friday night’s here and then taking Saturday nights to run where we want to. We will take things a bit easier this year and see where it takes us”.
The no.1 priority in racing is fun and family, and it is very evident with the Robinson crew. Rich Robinson Sr. is still wheeling his #79 Modified trying to keep pace with his son in that division, while also piloting a Late Model, and Rich’s wife of 16-years Jeannie is never too far away, “Jeannie is 100% excellent support to the whole operation including the business. She takes care of so much stuff. Whatever there is to do…she is there for me”.
Not only does he have the support of three great girls; Jeannie, Danielle (Age 12) and Katie (Age 4), but he still gets to have fun running side by side with his dad, “My dad and I have had a lot of moments on the race track together and it’s fun racing against him”.
Rich’s easy going demeanor has made him a well respected competitor on and off the track.
Winning championships, and competing on a regional level is fun, and a great way to promote the business, but Rich believes it can also come at a cost, and for him the quality of the race cars is key, and making sure that the drivers have an easily accessible knowledge base is also important. Rich’s main goal is to see his cars up front and winning races.
XTreme Racecars not only sponsors several of Rich’s competition; they also sponsor Mt. Pleasant Speedway’s biggest Modified event. The XTreme 100 which awards a new XTreme chassis to the winning driver.XT
When it comes to his goals for 2011 and beyond Rich is hopeful to capture the Woodtic 100 at Merritt Raceway, a race he has been runner-up in on more than one occasion, and also have a good run at The Big E, “I would really like to run decent at Eldora one night. I’ve never really had good luck there. It’s a tough track to conquer and very fast”. As for Xtreme Racecars, the future is definitely looking bright, and as Rich said with a smile, “Hopefully it just continues to grow and I can help people to the best of my ability. I’d like to expand, get a bigger shop and maybe even hire a couple of guys down the road. If that happens it would be great!”