For nearly a decade there has been a black & white no.34 turning heads and flinging clay throughout the state of Michigan, but for South Haven, Michigan’s Alan Vochaska getting dirty was stepping away from his families roots.
The young driver from southwest Michigan grew up around the asphalt tracks of Berlin and Kalamazoo, “With the name Vochaska it’s pretty hard not to be immersed in racing from childhood. Some of my youngest memories are of helping letter and work on racecars when I was about 4-5 years-old, and then when I was 12 I started helping Randy Sweet at Berlin Raceway with my dad [Vern Vochaska]. That evolved into a desire to drive so in 1999 we started racing at Kalamazoo Speedway”.
Having had his first taste of Limited Late Model racing in the 1998 season at the age of 14, by the time the 1999 season rolled around the young Vochaska was more than ready to do battle on the fast high banks of Kalamazoo. Almost instantly Alan was proving to be a contender even among many of the veterans who claimed a spot in the tough Limited Late Model field. By the end of 2001 Alan had already scored a number of victories and a track title. Seeking a new challenge for 2002 the Vochaska’s converted the car over to dirt and tackled the big half-mile of Hartford Motor Speedway. For Alan the biggest obstacle was learning to adapt to the feel of the ever-changing clay, “Just being able to drive a free car was a challenge at first. Getting used to the loose feeling that I had dreaded on the asphalt”.
Pitching a two-thousand pound car into a corner at 100MPH was something foreign to Alan, but he was a quick study and a mere nine years later he is now viewed as one of the most respected drivers in the state of Michigan.
Moving to the Late Model ranks in 2004, Alan started picking up wins almost immediately at his hometown track of Hartford, and in recent years the no.34 machine has been spotted at various tracks across the Midwest. The ability to travel and experience new locations is what Alan finds so appealing about dirt late model competition, “We can take this car to approx. 100 racetracks within a 5-hour radius, unload, and be legal. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you came from; as long as you have the right tires and are 2300lbs…go get em’!”
With no series or track obligations slated for 2011, this year is one where the no.34 team will be focusing on growth as well as having fun checking out tracks never before visited. Although Alan thrives on the challenges associated with competing at new venues, he also believes that there is still no place like home, “One of my best memories was winning the inaugural Lane Automotive race at Hartford in 2009. It was special because of how much the Lane family has done for racing and being at our home track. It’s just really nice to be able to win at home”.
At age 27 Vochaska has a resume that seasoned veteran’s envy, numerous feature victories and 14 track titles are a testament to Alan’s consistency and dedication and now not only does Alan have a successful career on the track, he is spreading that success to his off-track activities as well. A CNC machinist for the family owned Vochaska Engineering by trade; Alan is also the owner of Speedy Shocks. A business with humble beginnings that has been increasing in size at a rapid rate, “Three years ago we purchased the equipment to repair and revalve our own shocks, then through word of mouth people started bringing their stuff to me and it’s kind of grown into a little monster. We repair and revalve every brand of racing shock, and are now authorized by Ohlins, Afco, Integra, and Bilstein”
A great racing career and a growing business definitely leave little time for the newly-wed Vochaska to focus on anything but motorsports; but the support of his wife of one-year Erin has allowed Vochaska to chase his dreams and still take the time to enjoy his current successes.
Not only would Alan like to thank Erin for her support, but also, “I would really like to thank our sponsors. First of all; my parents as without their support I would be up in the stands watching the races. VanHorn Construction has supported us for a long time. Randy Sweet of Sweet Manufacturing has helped us since the day 12-years-ago I started at Kalamazoo. All Star Performance is great to us and Outerwears has come on board with us for the remainder of the 2011 season”
With a season that is far from over the no.34 team has already put together a great 2011 and to keep track of their newest adventures and Alan’s successes you can check out the Vochaska Motorsports facebook page and to learn more about Speedy Shocks check them out at www.speedyshocks.com