Local Florida kart racers may have had their hands full with Bil 50 years ago, but when Tod came along a generation later, the family went national with its wins. Tod was hard to beat. But he didn’t exactly follow in his father’s footsteps … other than stepping into the seat of a racing kart.
In an interview with Drive Performance at Daytona International Speedway at the end of January 2012, Bil and Bret talked about the family’s involvement in racing: “When Tod was about 8, he decided he wanted to do it. I got him involved. Then when he started winning, I quit so that I could work with him because there wasn’t enough time to do everything with both of us running.”
Tod went on to win numerous championships.
“I never was a national champion,” continued Bil. “Local, state – stuff like that – but never national. Tod ran for a number of years. Then he got out of the racing part when he started his business. It had gotten to where it really wasn’t any fun for him or for his competitors because he pretty much dominated.
“I helped another fellow for another 10 or 12 years, and then Bret came along.”
As a child, Bret wasn’t interested in kart racing, even though he spent a lot of time at the track with his father and grandfather. His only interest was in flagging. Then he realized that the only way he was going to be able to play with his friends would be to race them, so he, too, took the wheel.
Bil filled in more of the history: “When Bret started, he was running dirt ovals – small tracks. You couldn’t run enduros – the big tracks – until you were 12 years old. When he was old enough to run the big tracks, his dad got involved again so he could build engines Bret could win with.”