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Bret Sievertsen
       

 

 

25 Years and Going Strong

By Bret Sievertsen

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“Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I would be able to race as long as I have,” says Mike Zogg of New Liberty, Iowa. 2012 marks the 25th season for Zogg. “Hard work, good sponsorship, and a lot of support have made it possible for me,” says Zogg. 25 years ago Mike started driving the 9z Hobby Stock at the Cedar County Raceway in Tipton, Iowa. In the early 1990’s he made the move to the modified division and has since made this his home. Over the years he has racked up numerous heat race wins and over thirty feature wins. Mike has also won two track championship wins; the first was in 1991, in the Hobby stock Division, and then again in 2002 in the modified division, both were at the Cedar County Raceway. Though he calls the Cedar County Raceway his home track, Mike can also be seen at the West Liberty Raceway and other various tracks around Iowa and Illinois for specials.

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“One huge reason I have been able to race this long is that my family supports me 100%,” says Zogg. “I’ve always said we race as a family or we don’t race at all.” And race as a family they have. Mike’s wife Vicky and youngest child Jennifer lead the Zogg Racing cheering section, which by the way is one of the loudest at most tracks. “We wouldn’t have it any other way,” says Vicky Zogg, “we do it because we love it.” “When it all started the entire family would come,” says Jennifer Kay, Mike’s daughter. “Uncles, cousins, and grandparents, were always at the garage and track ready to help,” says Jennifer. She claims that, “Dad may be personally responsible for starting the racing careers of her cousins, Terry Lawson, Jerry Pratt and Scott Pratt,” who at one time were and are part of the Zogg Racing pit crew as well. Also part of the team was Mike’s oldest child, Chris. “Once I learned how to work on the cars I was hooked, I knew this is what I wanted to do,” says Chris. In 2005, Chris started racing in the B Modified Class at the Cedar County Raceway and then moved up to the Open Modified class in 2008. Mike says, “When Chris first started racing I was very nervous, but at the same time I was very proud to see him racing as well.” Chris was also very excited to be racing with his dad. “I was just hoping to get a chance to run up front with him,” says Chris.

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Being married to a racer is nerve racking enough; however it’s totally different when it’s your child out there. “I’m very nervous when Chris is on the track,” says Vicky. “Let’s just say I didn’t have gray hair until Chris started racing”. For Jenn it became even more fun, “which I didn’t think was possible,” says Jen.  “I got to be more involved at the track as well as in the garage, with two cars there’s twice as much to do.”  Jenn says it’s fun to watch her mother at the races, “she’s in her own little world,” says Jenn. She adds, “Dad is a very calm and patient driver, where Chris is a little more aggressive. It is very hard to choose who to cheer for at times; usually I try to just yell Go Zogg!” For Vicky, she wants the best for both of them but at times she tends to cheer a little harder for Chris. “Mike has had 25 years of fun out there, it’s time for Chris to have his turn,” says Vicky. She adds, “I know Mike wants to see the 9c get around him, trust me, there’s a smile under that helmet.”  As far as Mike and Chris go they both tend to keep an eye on each other while on the track. Chris says, “I watch the cars around him if I can, to make sure nobody is doing anything dirty to him.”  Mike says, “Whenever there is a caution the first thing I try to do is find Chris and make sure he is alright.”

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Through the years the cars have changed in appearance quite a bit, but working on them has stayed about the same. “Years ago we were able to design and make a lot of the parts on the cars ourselves, but these days with the way the chassis have changed and technology has advanced we have to buy them,” says Mike. “However, with all these changes it has made the cars easier to drive.” One thing has not changed for Mike, his cars are always red and white and he has raced with the number 9 since the beginning. “When I raced three wheelers years ago I was number 9,” says Mike. “I was also married on May 9th.”  Mike was also a huge fan of NASCAR driver Bill Elliot who ran the #9 car for many years.

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Over the years The Zogg’s have had the opportunity to make a lot of friends at the race track. Mike and Chris both have raced and continue to race against some of the best drivers in the Midwest.  Competition is always tough, but neither driver would have it any other way. So the question comes up, would either driver back down to let the other win. Chris says, “No, and I hope that he wouldn’t either, but in the back of my mind I would be thinking if I hit him and take him out, I’m going to have to find a new garage to work out of.” Mike says, “As a driver I always race to win, as a father, I’ll let you know if it ever happens… I’m not real sure what I would do”.

 

I asked the family why Jenn has never ventured into the driver seat. “There’s only so much room in the garage,” says Vicky. “Believe me she has asked, she’s young I wouldn’t count her out just yet.” Jenn on the other hand says she is just waiting for the right car owner to come along. “It is defiantly a topic that has been brought up often,” says Jenn. “The simple answer is I chose college over racing, which sometimes I regret. However, if or when it happens, I will need the full attention of my dad to help me. I will never ask him to quit so that I can do it, in the meantime maybe the world will see a little hot lap action.”

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What’s next for Zogg Racing? “Not too sure, but I will be involved in racing somehow,” says Mike. Racing has been a very good thing for the Zogg family, Jenn says, “I have had a blast watching dad race over the years and I can continue that with watching Chris. My parents have given me great memories from awesome summers at the race track and tracks throughout Iowa.” We have always called going to the races family time, and I love every minute of it,” Says Jenn. She adds, “One of my favorite things to do is when the four of us pack up and head to the bigger races and camp out all weekend. Racing is something we can enjoy as a family and has kept us a tight knit family.” As for Vicky and Mike, they wouldn’t have changed a thing. “Raising our kids at the race track every weekend was great,” says Vicky. “Not too many kids want to hang around mom and dad every weekend.” Vicky adds, “I never had to worry about where and what my kids were doing on a Friday or Saturday night, they were always with us at the track.”

I would like to thank Mike and the Zogg family for taking the time to let me into their lives. I would also like to wish Zogg racing best of luck for the 2012 season.

 

 

 

       

 

       

 

       

 

       
 

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