Getting Up To Speed With…Mark Wauge
By Ben Deatherage
(Photo Courtesy of Madman Photography)
As the 2013 Wild Wild West Modified Shootout is just days away we took some time to talk to one of the strong contenders for the title. Mark Wauge, of Jacksonville, Oregon, eyes the championship in the Skinner Autoplex #1M Loose Gruff this season and will look to add the trophy to his already decorated résumé.
Wauge is a six-time Southern Oregon Speedway track champion, a former winner of the Lon Skinner Memorial, as well as the defending champion of both the Topless 100 at Banks, Oregon’s Sunset Speedway Park and the Shipwreck Beads Northwest Modified Nationals at Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, Washington. At the seven different tracks that the series will visit Mark has won at all of them except one, the Coos Bay Speedway, where he finished second in 2011.
Driver: Mark Wauge
Hometown: Jacksonville, OR
Occupation: Mortgage Banker
Years Racing: 15
Classification: IMCA Modifieds
Car Number: 1M
Chassis: Loose Gruff
Sponsors: Skinner’s Autoplex, Meineke Car Care Center, Hoppes Construction, Rodgers Racing Engines
Special Thanks: Byron Anderson, Jimmy Lymke
BD: Mark you’ve had a very successful career as a driver. Of all the races that you have won what is the biggest?
MW: I would have to say the Lon Skinner Memorial in 2006. That was when it was $10,000.00 to win and car counts were high and big name drivers were showing up. I remember when I won that night I just couldn’t stop smiling.
BD: Of all the tracks that the Wild Wild West Modified Shootout visits which would you say is the most difficult for you?
MW: I would have to say I struggle with the Cottage Grove Speedway the most. If it slicks off I have problems but if it’s hooked up I should be okay.
BD: If someone is going to win the title what are some keys to doing it?
MW: If you’re a guy that has been to all of the tracks that makes a big difference. You will know what to expect on which lines are fast and when whereas if you’re there for the first time it can make it much harder. But also adjusting quickly is a big factor too. All sorts of different conditions will be thrown out at you so you’ve got to be prepared to adjust.
BD: Between each race how much rest do you and the crew get on average?
MW: Not a lot because we stay up too late. You can try and sleep in one day but you always wake up in a panic and feel too rushed and behind schedule. But half of the fun is just hanging out with all your buddies and having a good time.
BD: For you how big would it be to be the 2013 Wild Wild West Modified Shootout champion?
MW: Pretty big. This deal is a true iron man test but there is a lot of luck involved. It’s so hard to win just one race let alone run up front every night. The level of competition is so high it’s going to be hard for anyone to walk away with it.
The Wild Wild West Modified Shootout will visit Sunset Speedway Park on Monday June 17th. Tickets for Adults/Seniors/Military are $8.00, Youths (6-12) $5.00, Children 5 and Under FREE, and a whole CAR LOAD will get you into the races for $25.00. Brian Poppa won the first installment in 2011 and Jesse Williamson is the defending champion.
2013 Wild Wild West Modified Shootout Schedule:
June 15th – Grays Harbor Raceway (Elma, Washington)
June 16th – OFF
June 17th – Sunset Speedway (Banks, Oregon)
June 18th – Willamette Speedway (Lebanon, Oregon)
June 19th – Cottage Grove Speedway (Cottage Grove, Oregon)
June 20th – Coos Bay Speedway (Coos Bay, Oregon)
June 21st – Siskiyou Motor Speedway (Yreka, California)
June 22nd – Southern Oregon Speedway (White City, Oregon)