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From: Kolby Schroder at Lebanon Valley




Well on the advice of my pal Cheryl (there’s your credit dear lol) and the message I got that said call me, I dialed up my home boy Kolby Schroder to see what the deal was, why he gave up a possible shot at the Sportsman title, and what made him move to the modified division.

I didn’t mean to interrupt 4-cyl night, which is when they work on the cruiser cars his crew guys and girlfriend run, but it had to be done. LOL He answered the phone and was quite excited to yap with me for a bit, because I’ve been following this kid’s career for a long time.

I met them back in 2003-2004 if my memory serves me correctly, so I’ve known them for quite a while. Kolby and his father always take time to say hi, chat with me, and when I hit the Valley I stop over and we share some laughs and talk racing.

This kid has consistently gotten faster, smoother, and better since he started racing Sportsman 4 years ago. He has been racing since he was 7 years old and was a Kart champion and the obvious progression was inevitable. I won’t bore you with the standard details; lets skip to the good part, KOLBY SCHRODER IN A BIG BLOCK MODIFIED!

Kolby and his father have known Steve Daniels for a while now and they always chat. Well from what Kolby told me Daniels (who used to own Ryan Larkins stuff and helps Dickie Larkin this year in the small blocks) approached them about maybe running the Mr. Dirt Track USA event with a big block.

First of all how awesome is that to just be there, one of the more well spoken families at the track, doing their own thing, minding their business and this dude walks up and says hey kid, want to run a big block?! (I’m paraphrasing of course lol) That to me is awesome and it says he’s doing well enough to get someone’s attention!

Schroder told me at first he was overwhelmed with the offer and he thought “man I would love to but I don’t want people to be disappointed” Well they decided to put the motor in the car a couple weeks in advance to prepare and in doing so they would be moving up and out of the Sportsman ranks.

“Even though we were leading points it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down Hazer. If I did someone else would get the opportunity and I’d still be in Sportsman” he said with enthusiasm. Now if that part of the story isn’t enough, check out the rest of his remarkable first night out in a big block modified!

The motor had been sitting for a little while so they put it in the car and fired it up and it broke a rocker arm. Right away they were thrashing to find another one that would match up and he could use. They got the car ready to roll in hopes that someone had one they could use. Kolby’s sister Rene stopped to Bedell’s Engine shop Saturday afternoon to see if he had one, but nothing was available.

They stopped, called, or visited everyone they could think of even Kenny Tremont’s shop to find a rocker arm that was offset and would match up, but nobody seemed to have one. They loaded up and headed to the track with one final hope that someone somewhere in the pits would have one for Kolby and the team could use. Out of nowhere Jocko (crew honcho for Hearn, Flach, and others and well known at the track) came down and said hey kid, I think your looking for one of these! They dropped it in and went racing! Way to save the day Jocko!

With the decision made to move up the goal was to get the learning curve out of the way so they could put together a package for their first full season next year in the modifieds partnered up with Mr. Daniels, which in my opinion will be a solid team. “We were a little nervous when we hit the track. I wanted to get the learning curve out of the way this year so we could run well a full season next year in the modifieds” Kolby told me.

He said the car drove similar, but getting used to the horsepower difference was overwhelming at first. “It drove similar, but it had so much more horsepower it made me a bit of a throttle jockey at first. I felt like I wasn’t fast, I was making mistakes, and I needed to learn so I slowed myself down a bit” said Schroder. Now if that isn’t a smart kid with the ability to understand and willingness to learn to be fast, I don’t know what is. LOL

“I never had the opportunity in the sportsmans to have the on board pan hard adjuster before and I never ran Hoosiers before so that was other stuff I had to learn my first night out” Kolby told me. He continued by saying “My goal the first night out was to get experience in a modified. If I passed 3 cars I would have been happy and thought ok now we’re moving forward, lets see what I can learn and we can do to go faster next week.”

Kolby Schroder has a great head on his shoulders and is always positive. He doesn’t get caught in that racing quicksand where you sink into thinking tonight was horrible; this is the worst, why can’t I go faster, what’s wrong with the car. He thinks positively, how can I go faster, what can I learn from my setups, what can I learn from the video, what minor changes can we make to go faster.

Well I’m willing to go out on a limb and say if this kid gets faster, those boys at the Valley which I used to go to weekly for a while, will be in some trouble. LOL His first night in a big block he started dead last, 27th on the grid and finished 8th! “I was just riding along and thought wow I’m catching these guys. When I got to Donnie Corellis I thought this is cool” he said with excitement.

At the end of the night guys like Matt Pupello, Kyle Sheldon, and Eddie Marshall congratulated him on his run. He told me the Sportsman guys he used to race with were giving him congrats which was overwhelming to him, but he knew he was still virtually unknown to the big guys. “I know I’m the new guy and I have to earn their respect. I’ll do that by racing them hard and clean. If not they’ll bounce me around and send me to the back” he said with a chuckle.

From what I’ve seen and from what I’ve heard from Kolby, he has a bright future in the modified division. He’s level headed, smart, willing to learn, and very respectful to his equipment and his fellow competitors. This is what you look for in a young talent if you’re looking to spend some cash and I’m happy to see Mr. Daniels looked his way and decided to go racing with the kid. Kolby and his dad are good people and I know for a fact they are overwhelmed with excitement and appreciation for the opportunity they have been given.

Good luck Kolby the rest of the season and in the future kid, you’re knocking on the door of something big, and with the right people helping you out 10 years from now, you could be the next Matt Sheppard or Stewart Friesen tearing up the tours. See you guys soon!

PS…how’d I do Cheryl? LOL :p

Source: Kolby Schroder at Lebanon Valley


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