Competition; for some it’s a thrill that breaks the daily routine, but for others like Ohio’s Craig Mintz it is an essential part of existence. The young gun behind the wheel of the Real Geese no.09 Sprinter has lived for the thrill of victory since childhood.
“I like being competitive. Whether it’s coaching girls basketball or playing monopoly I just want to win!” laughed the easy going Attica and Fremont Speedway regular.
Mintz got his first taste of racing as a toddler watching his father Les motocross race, but it wasn’t long before he was the one chasing wins, “When I was two or three my dad quit racing and as I wanted to race he got me into go-karts. We starting traveling the country and putting more money into it than we should have and so we bought a Sprint Car and we have been doing this for 13-years now!”
As a freshman at the modest Gibsonburg, Ohio High School, spring dances held no thrill for Mintz who had already begun to put together an amazing race resume, “We started out in the 305’s like a lot of the younger guys do and I raced those for 2-years, then in 2002 I got a 410 ride with Dick Sabo. We ran with Dick for four years and then in 2005 we started our own team and the rest is history!”
Over the past eight seasons the Mintz team has had a host of accomplishments, winning numerous features and picking up the Kistler Racing Production FAST (Fremont/Attica Sprint Title) in 2009. As Craig commented with a smile, “We now have a few years under our belts and we are starting to get a little bit stronger and a little bit faster. Three of the guys that are with me now were not part of my crew four years ago. I came to a team that the three of them had been working for. That team folded and they all came with me. We have all become true friends and that has been so cool!”
The unity of the Mintz team is unmistakable and the results show the dedication and cohesion of the members. In 2012 Craig scored three wins including the All Star Circuit of Championship Spring race at Attica Raceway Park and showed incredible consistency at Fremont Speedway by capturing nine top-five finishes on the season including two runner-up podium finishes. That consistency earned Mintz the 2012 points titles at both Attica and Fremont and saw him get a 2nd place points finish with the FAST series.
For 2013 Mintz has taken a different approach, but the results are still remarkable, “This year we are taking it race-by-race” exclaimed Craig, “We have been pressuring ourselves to get championships, win races and get quality runs, but we are getting to the point where we just want to have more fun. When you are here in the middle of July and August and its 110º with no wind, it’s not necessarily fun. When those nights happen we may not come to the track. We want every time we come to the track to be here because we all want to be at the track and not because we feel forced to come. We are getting back to fun and getting back to the family feel of racing!”
The teams new outlook on the season has done nothing to diminish their chemistry, in fact Mintz is currently leading in points at Attica Raceway Park, he is also first in the FAST series after 12 events, and although a 2013 Fremont win is still eluding him; he currently sits 2nd in the tracks standings, “Our better racetrack is definitely Attica!” stated Mintz laughingly, “Attica is a bit bigger and Fremont and I don’t always get along because it gets a little rough and fast there!”
With two speedways working together and a group of drivers dedicated to both, Mintz said that when the weekend rolls around, he spends it with family, both those blood related, and the ones that have become such through the tight knit group, “It’s a family down here” declared Craig, “When somebody wrecks we all help each other. I grew up with Nate Dussell (305 Sprint no.1), he and I have raced together since we were 4-years-old. 90% of the people racing at Fremont and Attica; I have been racing with forever and it’s nice to keep carrying on that friendship. When the day eventually comes that we all have kids then I hope they will be able to race together and we will all be the dads doing exactly what my dad is doing!”
For Mintz, that time is just around the corner, Craig is the step-father to an awesome 9-year-old boy named Logan, and Craig and his wife of nine-months Ashley (The couple wed on December 7th, 2012), will welcome their first child together in mid-October of this year.
Mintz, a 2004 high school graduate from Gibsonburg, Ohio is still considered young on all counts, and one thing is certain; he is driven to be the best. His competitive spirit has helped him build his business, Design Graphics Group into one of Ohio’s premier graphics providers. The business now has two locations with one in Bowling Green, Ohio and another in Bradner, Ohio where they specialize in printing anything from billboards to racecars to street cars and even signs in the middle of a field.
That competitive drive has made Mintz into a successful businessman, basketball coach, and an incredible racecar driver. With a career that has only just begun it will definitely be fun to see the successes that still await the no.09 team.