Racing is a territory that is new to Cool Rides Online. Thanks to our sponsor STA-BIL, Cool Rides Online now has exclusive access to Mazda Racing and the members apart of it. Continental Racing competes in the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and STA-BIL sponsors their Mazda 2’s that compete in the B-Spec class. Continental Racing’s team consists of Joel Weinberger, Shawn Young, and new member Tony Kester.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Joel Weinberger, a founding member of the racing team, and pick his brain on what it is like to race from the amateur to professional stage and everything in-between.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a second generation car dealer owner of Continental Motors. My father started the business and I was fortunate enough for my father to entrust me with the family business. Racing is my #1 Passion and Hobby. I’ve raced for many years now and have been a part of many great things. In addition to racing, I am a founding member for the Autobahn in Joliet.
You’ve had a strong start in the B-spec class for the SCCA, what are your other racing goals for this year?
In the SCCA there are many classes of racing. Previously, I competed in the STU class. Since this year is the 50th Anniversary of the SCCA, they invite all previous winners from classes to compete in the finals. Back in 2011 I won the STU class with my Audi, therefore I have a ticket into the finals. Consequently, my goals are now focusing on my B-spec Mazda 2’s and qualifying them as best as possible with my teammates help to earn a spot into the finals for that class.
How did Shawn, Tony, and yourself become Continental Racing?
I’ve known Shawn through Autobahn race track and also through my company: Continental Motors. Tony I have known through the Autobahn race track as well. We are all great friends and each of us brings different skills to the team that I am confident will help us qualify for the SCCA winner take all finals.
How did you build your #11 STA-BIL race car and the other Mazda 2’s? What was your main focus for these race cars?
There is only so much you can do to these cars per SCCA B-spec class rules. We tackled the normal things everyone does – tuning, weight, and other factors – to get our cars where they need to be. Our main focus now is fine tuning the cars alignment to give us a boost. When driving a front wheel drive car you encounter a lot of under steer. Therefore, Tony’s knowledge of racing data from our teams Mazda’s can help us pinpoint how we need to build our cars.
What is it like owning Continental Motors and being around all these automobiles you are passionate for?
It’s basically a dream job. I love cars and I have been passionate about them forever. My father founded the dealership I run today and got me into racing at a young age.
Why Mazda Racing…Why not Maserati(Continental Motors owns 8 different dealers)?
(At this point Joel chuckles) Well for a few reasons. The Audi we have is a serious race car and costs a lot of money to maintain it. The Mazda’s we have are cheaper to maintain and still help us get recognized. It does not matter if you are driving 200mph or 100mph, as long as there is close competition that challenges the driver, it is going to be a good race.
Racing tips for our Cool Rides Online Members?
There are so many kinds of racing someone can get involved in. There’s track, oval, dirt, drag, the list goes on and on. I would recommend finding out what active clubs there are in the area and attend an event as a spectator to see if you like it. The racing community is extremely friendly and loves to help with questions, car related help, and basically anything that pertains to cars in general. It’s a great community to join if you are looking for fun and great friends.
What is your favorite car? What is your not so favorite car?
I have no favorite cars because I like so many. Two cars that come to my mind are the Ferrari 250 LM, because of the way it is designed, and the 1964 Porsche 356. I love cars that involves driver input. Cars that can drive themselves I do not like. I like the old school cars that drivers have to be able to drive without all the technology that helps them.
Be sure to follow Joel and the team as they head to Blackhawk Farms Raceway in Rockton, IL hoping for another great weekend.
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