While sitting in the bleachers at I-96 Speedway one car always seems to catch the eye of every fan. It’s not the neon orange no.94 on the side that grabs ones attention, but instead the smooth stealth-like moves of the driver behind the wheel of the blue hued Modified. Tim Dalman has always had the driving style of a veteran and with a lineage of speed it is no wonder that Dalman has become one of I-96 Speedway’s top competitors.
Tim was raised on the smell of racing fuel, his uncles Eldon & Gene have competed in Sprinters since the ‘50’s and Tim couldn’t help but inherit their passion. “Their love for racing just trickled down to me” stated Dalman, “I stared racing in motorcycles as a kid and then after racing motorcycles for 10-years I decided that I wanted to race cars and now I just can’t get it out of my blood”.
Although Tim grew up in a Sprint Car racing family, a tradition that his brother Gregg has carried on in his #49T S.O.D. Sprinter; Tim has always had a passion for the Modifieds. “I just always liked the Modifieds, I think it’s because you can race a little closer in these!” assessed Dalman, “Now Modifieds have become one of the most technical classes on the track. The technology has changed so much in the last five years and its now just fun keeping up with these kids! ” Division choice isn’t the only place where Dalman decided to rebel a bit. When it comes to the no.94t that sits proud atop his roof, Dalman wanted to keep his family legacy while still adding his own twist by flipping around the traditional Dalman no.49.
Dalman, whose career began in 1997, was initially filled with trials and tribulations. With his rookie season not quite complete Dalman decided to test and hone his skills by racing against the best IMCA drivers in the nation at the IMCA Nationals in Boone, Iowa. What was meant to be a fun learning experience didn’t quite go as planned as Tim recalled with a shake of his head, “We drove all the way there, and after only 5-laps the car was destroyed. We left more of the car in the Boone pits than we took home and it was a very long drive home. 14-hours straight and nobody said a word!”
By the spring of 1998 though, everybody was talking; “After totaling the car at Boone in the fall, we had a brand new car with a lot of work into it for 1998 and we came out and won the first night out at Crystal Motor Speedway” exclaimed Tim before adding, “To this day that is probably one of my best memories”.
With 15-years in the Modified ranks, the Portland, Michigan driver has proven himself to be a worthy adversary to the competition, and it is not uncommon to see Tim at the front of the pack on a regular basis. Even though Dalman has amassed many victories in his career; his focus has now shifted; “Nowadays racing has turned into a pure hobby. I don’t have a lot of the equipment that these other guys do. I just do my best and with the great help I have it is easier and more fun. My crew chief Scott Mole and my right hand man Chuck Flinton keep me going!”
With an already busy schedule, Tim relies on Scott and Chuck to keep the car on track while he spends time with his family after coming home from a day of driving truck for Gerdau Trucking. Tim and his wife of 17-years; Bethanne keep busy with their three sons, Jack (age 11), Luke (age 10) and Broc (age 2). As Tim said with a chuckle, “I never thought I would be this busy in all my life, but with my two oldest boys being only a year apart everything is a competition from eating dinner to taking a bath and they are heavily involved in sports. I help coach baseball and football and in the winter they bowl, and keeping up with a 2-year-old is just a whole another story!”
The boys are also never too far from Saturday night racing action as Jack and Luke both help in any way they can.
For the Dalman’s racing is all about having fun and enjoying the atmosphere as much as the on-track adrenaline rush, as Tim explained, “My goal really is to just have fun and make good friends. Of course I want to win, but I am not always going to win and we are never going to get rich racing so we may as well have all the fun we can!”