With nearly twenty track championships to his credit; there is no denying that Andy Bozell has a talent for driving a racecar that surpasses most.
The Portage, Michigan native has been living life in the fast lane since the early 1980’s, but his passion for oval track racing began long before he first strapped in, “My dad Gordy started racing in 1957 and competed for 25-years. His career started before I was even born so I truly grew up around the sport”.
As a teenager, summer weekends were rarely spent away from the track; when Bozell was not turning wrenches on his father’s car, he was often seen at Kalamazoo Speedway (MI) with his wife Deb’s family. By his late teens both Andy and his brother Jeff were more than ready to take to the track, but getting on track definitely took some hard work as Andy recalled with a chuckle, “I started out in the Strictly Stocks class at Southwest Motor Speedway in 1983. My first racecar was delivering pizzas on Thursday night and by Saturday we had built it into a racecar and went racing…A lot has changed since then!”
Bozell competed in the Stockers for a few years before making the transition to Limited Late’s and Late Models at Galesburg and Southwest Michigan Speedways. With a successful career already underway Bozell began making periodic visits to the wicked-fast 3/8-mile in Kalamazoo, and by 1991 his white no.83 machine was a regular in the Super Late Model division there.
For the Bozells many aspects of the sport have changed over the past 28-years, with one big exception; the family. On any given Saturday night fans at Kalamazoo Speedway are treated to a family feud in the Super Late Model division. Jeff still pilots a car and for the past 8-years Andy’s oldest son Phil has continuously grown to be the 2007 Michigan Motor Sports Hall of Fame Inductee’s biggest competitor, “Racing with Phil has been a lot of fun. When he becomes my main competition it tends to get a little tough, but we push each other to be the best that we can be. We work on the cars together and still view it as a team sport, winning and losing as a team. Combined we have won a dozen races this year and it is really nice to see all my advice put to work. He just sucks it up, puts it to use and works really hard. It is so fun on the track because we have such mutual respect that sometimes I find myself being a spectator when I am out there racing with him”.
At present the Bozell’s are only the second father/son duo to have won events at the Milwaukee mile, Phil captured an ARCA race in 2006, while Andy won an ASA Late Model event at the famed track in 2010. The only other father and son team to boast the accomplishment is Mario & Michael Andretti.
Andy may take a moment to watch his sons’ skills in motion, but he doesn’t necessarily watch the rear end of the no.8. The 12-time Kalamazoo Speedway Track Champion and 4-time Kalamazoo Klash winner spent much of 2011 in victory lane, he captured 7 feature events, set a new all-time track record at Kalamazoo with a mind-blowing 10.020 second lap, and although he lost the track title by a mere 42pts to Phil, Andy rounded out the season by capturing the NASCAR Whelen All-American series Michigan State Championship.
Bozell, a Manufacturing Engineer by trade spends his weekdays at Weber Specialties Company in Schoolcraft, Michigan, but evenings and weekend are reserved for spending time with the family. Youngest son Andy Jr. (22) turns wrenches on both the no.8 & no.83 and the entire family is enjoying the next generation of Bozells, “I have three grandkids with a fourth on the way and I just love spending time with them, it is just so much fun”. Daughter Christy is the proud parent of Paige (age 4) and is due with a second child in November, while Phil has 4-month-old twins (Brynn & Bryce).
For the Bozell family racing is truly a team sport, and that team extends much further than the no.8 and no.83 machines, “I can’t thank my crew and sponsors enough because it really is because of the people who help us and the sponsors who put their names on the car that we can even go around the track”.