Interview with Eagle Raceway 2017 Modified Champion Shane Hiatteagle
By Greg Soukup
33-year old Shane Hiatt from Rising City is your 2017 IMCA Modified Champion at Eagle Raceway.
Although he did not start racing until 2006 when he strapped into a Hobby Stock, he was no stranger to dirt track racing. “Ever since I was a kid I wanted to drive a race car. When we were growing up my Dad helped Tom Svoboda, and that’s how I got hooked on it; going to Tom’s shop with Dad, watching them work on stuff. Then going to the races with them all over heck. The funny thing is that it was kind of a secret when I got my first car. I used to race 4-wheelers with my buddies. I heard that a guy was wanting to trade his turn-key Hobby Stock for a 4-wheeler. So, my buddy and I went over there to Iowa and traded my 4-wheeler for his race car. I brought it home and my parents freaked out! ‘What are you doing?? This is going to be expensive!! You shouldn’t be doing this!!!’. But; it didn’t take long for them to get hooked on it too. It seemed like after my first couple of races they were asking ‘Where are we going next? When are you going to race next?? Let’s go here; let’s go there!!!’. At the beginning they didn’t really like the idea, because they knew that it was going to cost a lot of money and it was going to take a lot of time. But now they’re really hooked on it and it’s been a family deal ever since. Ever since then my mom and dad and my wife and kids are at the races. I don’t think that my parents ever missed a race of mine“.
“I started out racing a Hobby Stock at Eagle Raceway, and raced that until 2008. That was the first thing I ever drove competitively. We were pretty successful in the Hobby Stock class. We decided that we wanted to win a championship in the Hobby Stock before we moved up a class. We finally did that at US 30 Speedway, so we decided to make the jump to a modified. We might have gone to a B Mod, but there weren’t a lot of B Mods around at that time. So, we decided to go with the modified and try that out”.
I asked if he were enjoying the modified more than the hobby stock. “Oh yeah. When we first started in the modified there was a lot to learn for sure. We struggled at the beginning, because the thing was that nobody in my family had ever raced before”.
How about racing at Eagle Raceway. “I love it! See, that’s the thing; going to watch Tom Svoboda, that was my favorite track. I’ve been going to Eagle ever since I could walk. Mom would take my brother and I up into the stands and Dad would go help Tom in the pits. When I first started racing I told myself ‘If I could just win a feature there, that would be awesome!!! If I could just get a win there it would be great‘. We grew up at Eagle. The history behind it and all of the great racers who raced there. I started winning a few in the Hobby Stock and then some in the modified. We came close a few years to winning the track points, but just came up short. But, it was always our goal to win a track championship there. That would top it all off for us. It was what we always wanted to do; to be able to win the championship at Eagle has been a life-long dream of mine. I feel very humble to just be able to finally get it done; especially after all of the work put out by my family, my crew guys and all of those other people who help out. It was just a really awesome deal”.
I then questioned him about what was different this year that led to him finally getting his dream fulfilled. “I think the biggest thing was that we’ve always been consistent, but this year it didn’t seem like we had the bad luck at the end of the season like we did in the past. There were times in the past where we had a 10 point lead or so. We’d end up breaking a gear and lose the points on the last night, or in 2016 we got caught up in a wreck and couldn’t finish the feature and ended up losing the points that way. It seemed like the last 2 nights of the season we would have bad luck and come up just short. We’ve always been right there and been consistent. I think that the last 3 years we led the points up until the last week or so, but then had bad luck or something until this year”.
As for his plans for this coming season, he said “We’ll be doing pretty much the same thing. We’ll definitely be at Eagle weekly, just like we’ve always done. This year we have a sponsor who wants us to run another track on Fridays, so we decided that we’ll be doing that also. We’ll try to hit some of the local specials that don’t interfere with us racing at Eagle too”.
He finished by saying “I’ve got to thank all of my sponsors that have helped us out through the years. We couldn’t have done this without them. Also, I want to thank my parents, my wife and my brother. Of course, all of my crew guys. I couldn’t be successful without all of them. It just wouldn’t work”.