Timmy Tyrrell Racing is far more than just our prodigious driver. The seamless work of the #81 Friends of Jaclyn Foundation team allows Mini to thrive on the CARS Tour. In the second part of our Q&A series, we chat with our unremitting car chief Dan Givens. In many ways, Dan is the backbone of our race team. His work ethic and attention to detail are second to none. But, even more than that, Dan is an incredible role model and positive influence for our driver and our race team.
1. What spurred your interest in racing?
When I was a child, my grandfather took me to dirt track races in Upstate New York. I enjoyed those races so much. When I grew up, I became a car mechanic and I've been involved in racing for more than 30 years. I enjoy it and I love it.
2. What got you involved with Mini's race team?
I got involved with Mini through Sam Beatty who owns Late Model cars. Sam asked me to go to Shenandoah Speedway with him, so I thought I was going to help him. When I got to the track, he had another driver who had brought his own crew. So he said, "You're going to help Mini over there," and that's where things started.
3. Talk about your role at the track.
Starting when the pit area opens, I help unload the race hauler and set up the pit box. My primary role is to help crew chief Brandon Butler with the necessary adjustments and changes on the car. I've worked with Brandon for 5 years and we work really well together. It's exciting that we're doing so well on the CARS Tour and we're expecting to finish the year off strong.
4. What's been your most memorable moment at the track with Mini?
My most memorable moment was when we just started out with Mini. He was 10 years old and racing the #81 Late Model at Shenandoah Speedway. He had captured the pole, led most of the race, but he was passed for the lead late in the race. In the closing stages, he passed the leader and went on to win the race. That was a big night because he had so many family members who attended the race. For me, that was an exciting time to be part of a new team with a new crew chief and a 10-year-old driver. We were ecstatic.
5. What has impressed you the most about Mini -- both on and off the track?
What's impressed me is how he's grown and matured behind the wheel. His communication with the crew and his ability to provide information about the car is always getting better. That's impressed me so much about him on the racetrack. Off the track, what impresses me is his charity work through Mini's Mission "Burn Rubber to Help Another". It impressed me that he started a movement to help others at such a young age. In today's society, we don't seem to have that consistently in our young people. There are many kids that just don't understand what it's like to be without. For him to take the initiative and raise money to make someone else's life better -- that's very impressive. There are a lot of people out there with a lot of influence who don't do what Mini does. He started his mission at such a young age and he's as passionate about it today as he ever was.
6. What's your favorite track on the CARS Tour? What makes it your favorite?
Carteret County Speedway is a nice facility. The late Bobby Watson, who built and owned the track, was an incredible individual. He had an unbelievable passion for racing. His longtime friend Bob Lowery has taken over and continued what Mr. Watson started. It's a nice place to go, the fans are welcoming, and it's a great facility. The track is beautiful and it's near the beach.
Q&A by Larry Graff
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