Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Getting to Know Brad Sweet

Brad Sweet drives the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet for JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. While waiting for qualifying for the Firecracker 250 at Daytona, he was nice enough to grant me an interview. Hope you enjoy getting to know him as much as I did!

Q: NASCAR is a sport that is full of tradition. Do you have a favorite NASCAR tradition?

I grew up racing dirt cars, but everyone always dreamed of making it to NASCAR so some of my first memories were getting up every year in the morning to watch the Daytona 500 in February. That’s something that was always like a party. Seeing Jeff Gordon win Indy was cool, because I was always a fan of his. I was just always really in to NASCAR and watched it grow.

Q: Have you gotten the chance to meet Jeff Gordon? What was it like?

Yeah I’ve met Jeff Gordon. I think I’ve met just about every driver now. It was pretty neat. As you grow up as a kid, you watch them all, then you’re able to come in here and actually become friends a lot of them.

Q: Do you have a favorite quote or song you go to when you’re feeling down?

Not really, but I’m a pretty positive person, so when I do get down, I always think positive and think ‘there’s always another race’. I always think there’s a lot worse things in the world than having a bad race or getting in a wreck. So as long as I’m okay and my family is around me, I’m happy.

Q: You have a busy schedule with sponsor commitments and your race schedule. What do you do as an outlet when you have time to get away?

The weekend when you come to the track, you’re at work. Sundays and Mondays mostly I go out on the lake, that’s kind of like my weekend. That’s when I hang out with friends and other drivers. I think that’s why a lot of the drivers end up hanging out, because we’re all on the same schedule. It’s different than everybody else that has a normal job, but it works out.

Q: Since we’re at Daytona we have to take a spin around the track. It’s a fun Then and Now question for each turn. Think back to your high school days!

Turn 1: What was your favorite junk food then and what is it now?

I remember a lot of days, at lunchtime, they’d have a slab of beef jerky and I’d get a Cherry Coke. That was just something I’d pretty much have every day. It’s so bad for you! (laughs) I would never do that now, but that was my favorite junk food. And now, I try to to eat better, the older you get the healthier you try to eat. I still end up having a ton of my mom’s cookies because she’s always making them. We’ve actually got some over there (points to cookies on the counter)

Turn 2: What was your favorite TV show then and what is it now?

I’ve always watched so much racing stuff so I’m trying to think. (thinks for a while) I was always just in to watching racing and I’m still into watching racing. I’m a little more into watching movies and stuff now. Back then, I’d just turn on SPEED channel or whatever channel racing was on. That’s all I can really remember watching all the time. Otherwise, I was doing sports. I was really active so I didn’t watch a ton of TV

Q: What other sports did you play?

In high school, at one point I wrestled and at one point I played basketball. We were kind of into farming and I raised an animal one year! I kind of had a lot of different things that I was into in high school. I always went to every football game to watch. I went to almost every basketball game to watch. I was just really into all the sports. I was racing in high school, too, so a lot of weekends I was at go-kart races early in high school.  Later in high school, I was at sprint car races.

Q: Did you have anything in high school that you missed out on because of racing?

I didn’t go to a lot of dances. I did some of them when I could in the winter time. I didn’t go to prom, so I missed all that stuff. I probably just missed out on college. Right out of high school, this was what I wanted to do. I hear a lot of good stories about college and I think you learn a lot of good life lessons in college, but I think I’m just going through my college years in a different way, at the racetrack.

Turn 3: What was your favorite song or group then and what is it now?

I’m really in to country music so a lot of my favorite singers are 90s country singers or modern day country singers. I really like Blake Shelton. I’ve met Blake. He was really cool and that just made me like him even more. I’m pretty into everything that he sings right now.

Turn 4: What was your dream car then and what is it now?

I’ve never been like I need a Corvette or anything like that, because I always just had my racecar. I definitely started out in a piece of junk van when I started driving.  Actually about three years ago,  I was able to buy my first brand new truck. That was really nice for me because I always kind of had “whatever.”  It was never a big deal to me to have a nice car so it was nice to finally be able to get to that point where I was having something brand new.