Each and every summer Saturday night Middleville, Michigan’s’ Buddy Head brings 35-years of racing experience to Kalamazoo Speedway. The driver of the no.15 Super Stock has earned veteran status with over 100 feature victories while still having many years of racing ahead of him.
Head obtained a passion for the sport while still in diapers, “My Dad Ivan raced for 35-years so I was in it from the start. I started racing go-karts at age 5 and I have been racing ever since. Growing up my brother Kenny and I had so much fun doing this and we are proof that racing families really do stay together”.
From Go-Karts Buddy progressed into various divisions at Galesburg and Kalamazoo Speedways, and in the past decade has branched even further competing in the ARCA truck series where he scored a win, and the Hooters Pro-Cup series, all before coming back home to Kalamazoo Speedway. “I had started my career at Galesburg and then moved over to Kalamazoo. Once you get used to the place it’s really hard to leave it!”
Head has also found a new niche in the speedways Super Stock class running the no.15 for Tom McGhee, “I love this class, it’s really competitive and they set a three-year minimum for rule changes. Gary Howe really supports us and we drivers appreciate the stuff he does”.
Despite struggling in early 2011, the 2010 Super Stock track champion rallied back to trail the 2011 champion Matt Corliss (no.3) by a mere 2-points, and finished ahead of his brother Kenny’s no.26 by 45-points. Despite the early season tribulations Head thoroughly enjoyed the 2011 season, “This past year was a fun year for me because it was the first year that I have gotten to race against my brother for a full season. Previously, I’ve only raced him here and there but to race with him week after week has been a blast!”
2011 was not the only time that Buddy has had to rally back from adversity. In 2000 while racing at Kalamazoo, Head was involved in a horrific turn-4 accident that left him with a broken neck, “Coming back from that injury was intense. I was out the remainder of 2000 and half of 2001, and then made the decision to come back at Galesburg Speedway. We won the first race back and that really kept us going and gave me the confidence to come back to Kalamazoo. We came back to racing full-force in 2002 and captured 39 victories that year including 18-feature wins in Kenny’s no.26 Cadillac. That same year we won the Billy Friel Memorial at Kalamazoo in his car and several races in my Late Model. To this day though people tell me I get clocked going faster in turn 4 at Kalamazoo so I think that subconsciously I am trying to get through that corner quicker so I don’t think about it happening again”.
Having competed at a local level in everything from a Super Late Model to a School Bus, and at a National level with various touring series’, Head is now happy with his racing adventures staying close to home. His goals are now geared towards putting together stellar seasons with multiple victories and his focus has shifted from his own racing operation to that of his kids. Buddy and his wife Aaron have been married since July of this year and together they have five children ranging in age from 19 to 5 (Jordan, Kylee, Lane, Christopher, and Anna) and a 3-year-old grand-daughter; Addy. Currently Lane and Christopher are tough competitors in the world of motocross racing, running locally as well as with the SJO Motocross series which crosses all over the state of Michigan. It is not uncommon for the Head family to be at a race track of some type 4-nights a week, and as Buddy told me with a proud grin, “I love watching the kids’ race. I think I enjoy that more than anything…They are pretty exciting!”
Whether acting as the pit crew for his sons or wheeling a Super Stock around an asphalt track, Head is definitely in his element wherever speed is involved, and with two back-to-back podium points finishes 2012 is set to be an exciting year for Buddy and the entire no.15 team.