Vaught's Views: Boyle native out of pits, still in fast lane

May 06, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

Since Jeremy Curtis has always enjoyed racing, it wasn't hard for his father to help persuade him to make this a special weekend for the Immanuel Baptist Church youth.

Curtis, a 1996 Boyle County High School graduate, works for G-Force Racing Gear, a company that makes safety apparel for race drivers. He travels the country promoting his company's helmets, suits, gloves, shoes and other products at all types of races and trade shows most of the year.

This weekend, though, he'll be at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta for the ARCA RE/MAX series race Saturday night.

His father, Larry, has organized a group from Immanuel Baptist to attend the race. Jeremy Curtis is going to lead the group on a tour that will include the garage area as well as the track chapel service before sitting with them in the grandstand to watch the race.

Driver Mark Gibson, a groomsman in Curtis' wedding last June, will have an Immanuel Baptist Church decal on his car during the race. Curtis worked on Gibson's pit crew from 1997-2001 before joining G-Force Racing Gear.


"Mark and I are really good friends and he's in this with me to give the kids a little something special to watch during the race," Curtis said Wednesday from his home in Georgia. "That's really going to be good. That's the same church I grew up in, and some of these kids were there when I left. Dad is really active in the church still and I am looking forward to seeing them and showing them a good time."

Curtis deals with everything from vintage cars to Nextel Cup

The group certainly will have a knowledgeable tour guide. Even though G-Force Racing Gear is one of the sponsors of ARCA RE/MAX racing, Curtis deals with everything from vintage cars to hot rods to Busch Series to Nextel Cup.

He has even worked with Tina Gordon, the first full-time female driver on the Craftsman Truck Series who now wears G-Force suits.

"I'm spread kind of thin at times, but I really like what I am doing," Curtis said.

Still, he does miss the thrill of being in the pit during a race. Gibson, who has four ARCA career wins, and Curtis are such good friends that the driver still lets Curtis work with his pit crew when he's at a race.

"I do miss working in the pits. It's the competitive drive," Curtis said. "I pull for Mark when I'm at ARCA races and hang out with his crew. I even get to do some fuel mileage calculations for them.

"But I love what I am doing. I get to deal with a lot more people now and I'm around a lot more high-powered people. There's not much time to network when you are on a pit crew. Now I get to be around a lot of different drivers and people."

He'd like to get Nextel race at Kentucky Speedway

His job is to educate owners and drivers to make sure race teams have the best possible equipment to keep drivers safe. He wishes he could campaign with NASCAR officials to get a Nextel race at Kentucky Speedway.

"I love the track. I went just to see it when they were first building it," Curtis said. "Since they have been having races there, I've been to nearly every one of them. I enjoy the facility. It's an awesome place. It's exactly what I always dreamed about having in Kentucky. It deserves a big race."

However, NASCAR drivers like being able to test at the track so much that it may be working against Kentucky Speedway's chances of getting a Nextel race. Drivers have limited testing opportunities at tracks that host races. They have unlimited testing chances at Kentucky Speedway.

"The Kentucky Speedway track is so perfect and mimics a lot of features of different tracks," Curtis said. "Most teams are located around Charlotte (N.C.), and it's not that far to Kentucky. It's convenient for them. The Speedway also makes a lot of money from that testing.

"But it would be great to have a Nextel Cup race in Kentucky. That really would be a dream come true."

Central Kentucky News Articles