Dirty Questions by "The Dirty One"
with Shawn Tolson
After many months of trying, the dirty one was finally able to catch up with “Big
Daddy” Shawn Tolson, for an interview that quickly turned into my favorite one
so far.  I had a hard time keeping up with what he was saying because I was
laughing so hard, if you have talked to him for one minute you know what I’m
talking about.  Unfortunately for you guys I had to cut this interview down some,
it already runs into 5 pages and it could have easily been 8 or 10.  I hope
everyone enjoys this as much as I did, here goes….    

Dirty one-“Shawn, as always, I want to thank you for taking time to talk to me.  I
know you’re a very busy man, running a Maintenance Shop, trying to get ready
for the 2007 season, trying spend some time with the family and now with the new
baby, it means a lot to the fans and especially me.”

Dirty one -“I’ve known you for a long time Shawn, but some of the folks at the
track have not, tell the fans a little about yourself.”

Tolson- “Well, I’m 35 years old, and married to a beautiful women named Tracy.  
I have two stepchildren, Emily and Matt, and a brand new baby girl Katie.  I don’t
know if you could still call racing a hobby anymore, but it does take up pretty
much of my time.”

Dirty one -“I’m sure it does, Shawn you’ve been racing for a long time, who/what
got you started in racing and just how long has it been?”

Tolson- “Well, my dad raced some when I was growing up, and I was at the track
as much as he would take me and more.  You know I remember when I was
younger; my grandma lived just down from the track by the Beaver Lick Trading
Post.  Well when I couldn’t go with my dad, I’d stay all night with down there.  She
had an old camper out in the yard, and we always tried to camp out in it, then
after the races were over, we’d watch the racecars as they went back up 42
flinging mud all over the place.  We use to try and figure out who won if we could.  
That was a blast.  As I got older I started helping Dave (McWilliams) out, I had
the bug pretty bad so in 1992 my uncle Robert bought me my first racecar, a
Bomber, Uncle Robert and Aunt Brenda were the ones that got me started, and I
still couldn’t do it without them today.”

Dirty one -“Do you enjoy it as much now as you did when you first started?

Tolson- “Yeah, I enjoy it just as much, but my priorities have changed over the
years, ya know.  I remember when me, Dave (McWilliams) and Rooster (Jerry
Gibson) would take off to race all weekend, and if the house was here when we
got home, great, if not, oh well.  Priorities change I guess when you get a little
older.  Everything you do with the racecar costs money, more nowadays then ever
before, and that hurts your enjoyment a little.  It just costs so much money now to
be competitive, I mean it seems like it’s more about money now then the driver

Dirty one -“What keeps you coming back?

Tolson- “I tried quitting a few years back (97-98), the problem is, racing is like a
drug without the help line!  Let me just say, if you quit, you sure can’t go to the
track and watch, when you do you sit there and watch and see things you’d do
differently, and the next thing you know, you’re back in it.  What can I say, it’s in
my blood and I love it!”

Dirty one -“Shawn, a couple years ago you made the switch from the Super Dirt’s
to the Modified Division.  You were very successful in the Super Dirt’s, what
made you decide to change divisions?”

Tolson- “I wanted a new challenge, I was doing pretty well in the Super Dirts, but
in that class you were pretty much stuck racing at Florence.  Well, you could go to
a few other places, but it always seemed you had too much at some places and not
enough at others, so you pretty much just stayed close to home.  I wanted to
travel around a bit, hit some different tracks so we moved up to the Mods, you
can pretty much race anywhere in one, maybe take the spoiler off or something
like that.  Funny thing is, with gas prices the way they are, I don’t know if
traveling is as worth it.  I sure don’t know how those guys that do travel alot do
it.  Last weekend I went down to Lake Cumberland, ran well, but after fuel to get
down there and back, paying to get in the pits and everything else, I think I came
home with $50 and that’s after a 5th place finish.  Makes it hard for sure.”

Dirty one -“No doubt!!  Do you ever think about going back, not for good, but for
1 more race-like maybe the Dave Robertson Memorial or something like that?”

Tolson-“Sure, I’d like to go back to the Super Dirts and race the Dave Robertson
Memorial.  Dave was a great guy, I had a lot of respect for him, I know one thing,
I’ll never forget that night, that’s for sure.  Me and him, we had some great runs
together, of course we had or problems from time to time, but when you race with
someone that much, you’re bound to.  The super dirts put on a great show week in
and week out, I’d love to go back and see just how much better the competition
and the cars have gotten, those guys look like they’re flying out there now, that’d
be fun.”

Dirty one -“Ok, now it gets a little tougher.  Speaking of changing classes, in the
2005 season you ran in the late model division for a while, why do you think it
didn’t work out for you and TNT racing?”

Tolson- “I thought I did alright, not good, but alright.  I really appreciated the
opportunity those guys gave me, it meant a lot to me.  I think part of my problem
in the Late model deal was focus, I had a lot of other things going on in my
personal life and I don’t think I was as focused as I needed to be.  I think with
some more seat time I could do pretty well in one, but to be totally honest, a lot of
guys dream about driving a Late Model and it was great, and I’d do it again if the
opportunity comes, but I really love driving my mod.  I think that might be my
thing, I have a great time in it that’s for sure.  Getting back to TNT, ya know,
those guys (TNT Racing) really chose the right guy for their car (Josh Williams)
last year, he’s helped out their program a lot and combined they’ve come a long
way, I wish them a lot of luck.”

Dirty one -“Ok Shawn, let’s play fantasy here, let’s pretend the dirty one just hit
the lottery and I’m telling you money is no object, let’s go racing, what class
would you choose, what chassis, what series (if any) and why would you choose
that division/chassis/series?”

Tolson- “Well I think if you’re gonna beat’em, you gotta race with’em, so I’d
probably follow one of the big ones, NARA/WOO that is if money was no object.  
But I’d have two kinds of cars, I’d race the late model, but you can bet I’d have a
modified too, I’d run it at the series shows and try and hit some big Mod shows as
well.  As far as chassis, for sure it’s a Pierce Mod, and I think his (Pierce) Late
Models are gonna be good too, but if I had to choose one now, I’d probably go
with a Rocket.”

Dirty one -“Going off of that last question, is there a race that Shawn Tolson
dreams of winning?”

Tolson-“Yeah, all of them!  Seriously though, it use to be one of those big ones at
Eldora (World/Dream), I remember when I was younger, going up to Eldora and
watching those guys fly around that place and thinking how much I wanted to race
there.  But nowadays things have changed a little; I don’t make it up to Eldora for
those shows anymore because I’m usually racing my mod somewhere.  If I had to
choose just one, I’m going to Western Kentucky next weekend (3/24) for the
Bluegrass Bash, I’d love to win that one.”

Dirty one -“Shawn, I don’t know how fortunate it is for you that I live so close,
but I love stopping by and seeing what’s going on.  One of the times I stopped by
last year, there were several folks thrashing on the car trying to get it ready for a
Sunday race after the night before’s action.  Not to mention, it’s impossible to
miss the HUGE fan club you have on the backstretch and hell all around the track
that cheers for you week in and week out.  Talk about what it means to have that
much support from family, friends and fans?”

Tolson- “You don’t realize it at first, but all those people at the track, they watch
you race and they know your name and who you are, they watch what you do on
the track and off, it’s wild.  The fan appreciation nights just blow me away every
year, the fans and the people at Florence Speedway are the best there are
anywhere, I can’t thank them enough for their support, it truly amazes me.  My
family is great, my in-laws and my family they are unbelievable.  Ya know, I can
tell how well I’m doing when I’m on the track and we’re under caution, all I have
to do is look up in the stands and if they are on the their feet, I know I’m getting
it done, that’s awesome.  They have been so supportive of me both financially and
mentally; it blows me away to think about it now.  And Tracy my wife, she has
been the most supportive of me, she encourages me when I’m frustrated, and
takes care of everything around here when I’m in the (race) shop, and now you
put the baby in the picture, she’s an amazing women.”

Dirty one -“Looking forward to 2007, David Spille won the Florence Speedway
Modified Championship over you by a few points in 2006, but David has moved
on now to the Late Model division.  The modified division is still very tough and
full of some very good drivers, tell me about a few of the guys you run against on
a weekly basis, and possibly will competing against for the Championship, if you
choose to race for it!”

Tolson-“First off, I want to wish David (Spille) good luck this year, him and his
dad (Lenny) have been great to race with, they are good people for sure, I’m sure
he’ll do fine in the Late Model.  As far as modified guys at Florence, probably
Dave  “knucklehead” McWilliams, if he would run Florence all year, he’d be one
to beat, but he usually runs 7-8 straight races then ventures off somewhere else,
but that’s Dave, he’s always been that way.  Ted Nobbe is a guy you have to
watch out for, he’s always gonna be there when he races the Mod.  He definitely
won’t give it you, you have to earn it if you’re gonna beat Ted, it makes you have
to get better, I love that.  Can’t forget about Larry Sr. (Moreland), he’s tough
and with that new car he’s gonna be hard to beat.  Brandon Green is another guy,
he’s always competitive, he’s another guy that you have to take it from, he sure
ain’t gonna just give it to ya.  I’ve been in the stands and watched Brandon do
some pretty amazing things in a racecar.  He’s definately fun to race with.  There
are a lot of guys in that division that are tough to beat.”

Dirty one -“Where does Shawn Tolson the driver and the Tolson Motorsports
team need to improve so that you can be sitting at the big table as winners of the
Modified Championship in 2007, again if that’s something you choose to chase?”

Tolson- “If I decide to race for points there, I need to be more consistent, we
have the stuff to get it done, and maybe if the driver would be a little more patient
at times that might help.  My problem is, I always wanna win, it’s hard for me to
points race because of that.  Back in 2000, before the season started I said I
wanted to win the Super Dirt Championship and we went out and did it, it takes
that kind of focus to get it done, that and a little luck helps as well.”

Dirty one -“Shawn, take some time here and mention some of the folks that help
you out on a weekly basis.”

Tolson-“Have to start with my wife Tracy, she takes care of all the kids and me,
she supports me in everything I do, if it weren’t for her we’d be in a rough way
that’s for sure.  Uncle Donnie (Smitty), what can I say about him, he’s here every
night he lives for this stuff.  The guy is in his sixties and he does more on that
racecar than I do. I give him a hard way to go, but I couldn’t do it without him, if
he retires, I guess I’ll have to as well.  Robert and Brenda Tolson, if it wasn’t for
them we wouldn’t be where we are right now.  They’ve taken care of me my whole
life I can’t thank them enough.  My brother Jamie, he doesn’t make it to the
garage as much, but he’s always at the track, giving me signals and telling me
how I’m doing. We don’t always agree on everything, but that’s what brothers
do.  I can’t forget about my Mom, she helps in any way she can and is always
there for support.  There are so many people that help I know I’m gonna forget
someone and if I do, guys please forgive me, let’s see...there’s Benny, Brandon,
Tony, Justin, Randy and Travis, Davey those guys are always here, I can’t say
enough about all those folks, I appreciate everything they do for me.”

Dirty one -“I know Shawn, I’ve seen most of those folks here when I’ve stopped
by, they seem to be a great group of people.  Finally Shawn, give a shout out to
your sponsors!”

Tolson-“I have some great sponsors, let’s see, Automasters is new to the team
this year, I also have R&B Motorsports, Second Glance Salon, Valvoline and
Richard Poe, P.S. Graphics, Bennett Excavating, All Star Auto Repair, Bischoff
Engine Service, Moreland’s One Stop, Bob Pierce Race Cars and Arizona Sports
Service.  I appreciate each and every one of them more than they know!”

Dirty one-“Shawn thanks again for taking time away from your wife and family to
come out and talk to me and do this for the fans.  It truly means a lot to me that
you did.”

Tolson-“No problem Bryant, you are always welcome here.  See everyone at the
track in a couple of weeks!”

There you go folks, it took me 6 months to finally get “Big Daddy” to sit down
and talk long enough to get this interview done; it was so worth the wait.  I want
to thank Shawn again for taking the time to sit down out in his garage and talk to
me.  I also want to thank Tracy for always being so great to my sons and me when
we stop by, and to Matt for keeping my sons occupied while Shawn and I were
doing the interview.  I wish Tolson Motorsports lots of luck in 2007 and of course
in the future.  I’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating, you’ll have a hard time
finding a nicer guy in the pits at Florence Speedway than Shawn Tolson and that’s
why his cheering section continues to grow each and every year!  

As always if there is someone you’d be interested in hearing from, or if you’re a
driver that is interested in talking to me and the fans,
simply email me @
bryant.scudder@insightbb.com and I’ll get right back with
you.  Also, remember to check out www.dirtfans.com for articles from our great
staff here at Dirtfans…

The dirty one!!!!!!!!