NASCAR Pro Series West driver Greg Pursley was essentially born with an accelerator pedal under his right foot. He has been around racing his whole life, doing everything from working on racecars and motorcycles to being in the driver's seat, tearing up the track.
NASCAR Pro Series West driver Greg Pursley
He started racing motorcycles, and then switched to automotive racing in his twenties. Greg made his debut in the K&N sponsored NASCAR Pro Series West in 1999, and has been steadily improving since. His current team started together about two years ago when Greg began talking with long-time friend and Gene Price, owner of Gene Price Motorsports in Parker Arizona, who owns the team. While there have been some crew changes along the way, the team's mentality has been unified - championship.
Greg Pursley says it take a great amount of commitment to do it right.
K&N recently had the opportunity to sit down with Greg Pursley and gain some insight into who Greg is, what his passions are, and how his team feels about their performance in the 2010 season.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series has been a very exciting season to date.
What got you started in racing?
I've been around racing my entire life. My dad was involved in drag racing, so we were always at the track. I would help him work on the cars. I started riding motocross, then made the transition to street bikes and eventually ended up racing cars.
Is racing a family event? Do your children race?
My kids, Tyler and Taylor, ride dirtbikes. All of our family is involved at our shop in Parker, Arizona. The kids are always around, my wife, Heidi, does marketing for the shop, and I'm always there working on the cars, testing them, etc.
What made you switch from motorcycle racing to automotive racing?
I had a big wreck on a street bike during a race when I was twenty-four. I went down doing about 170 mph at Willow Springs and ended up in a wheelchair for about a month. My dad said that was it, and put me in a racecar because it was safer.
What are your career goals? How does the Pro Series fit into the grand scheme of things?
Well at 46, I don't think I'm going to be progressing into other NASCAR series. Our team definitely wants a championship here. After that, we'd like to set up this team for younger drivers to help bring them up in NASCAR and provide a solid team for them to race. I also want to keep developing our parts business out of our shop for cars and boats too.
What life challenges have you faced being a professional racer?
Definitely the time commitment to do it right. You get out what you put in, and it's a big commitment to do things right.
What have been your best and worst moments in racing?
The best moment was definitely winning the National Championship in the Super Late Model in Irwindale in 2004. I think the worst has just been the bad luck you experience sometimes. Luck is about 50% of racing. Sometimes the wrong stuff just happens at the wrong time.
Is there any meaning behind your number 26?
We won the national championship racing number 13. When we made the transition to the Pro Series West we wanted number 13, but another team had it. We tried to get 13 but we couldn't, so we decided to double it. Maybe 26 would be twice as lucky as 13?
How do you prepare for a race? Any superstitions or routines? How do you stay in "race shape"?
I don't buy into any of those superstitions. I just make sure to hydrate my body for days before a race. We have a gym in our shop and I make sure to exercise to keep in shape and eat healthy. Our family is always doing something active at the river too.
How has the 2010 race season compared to last year? How do you feel about your team's performance this year?
Luck just doesn't seem to be on our side this season. We've been in the top 5 a few times only to have something go wrong, whether that be a crash or the car breaking down on us. It's just "one of those years." We were 3rd in points last year and were hoping to match and do better than that this year, but no such luck.
What challenges have your team faced this year? What have you learned?
We have a new crew chief this year, Jerry Pitts, and we've really been working on communication. He's been doing a great job learning the ropes, and we're always working on making sure he and everyone knows what I need in the car.
What are your expectations for the rest of the season?
Hopefully we will turn around our luck at Irwindale, my home track. We're actually going to be running chassis number 13 that weekend, so maybe that will give us some luck.
What is your favorite track?
Irwindale is definitely my favorite because it's my home track. Phoenix is a close second since it's so close to our shop in Parker, AZ.
What are your thoughts about K&N being a series sponsor for the next 7 years?
I think it's great. K&N came around at just the right time and really saved the series. It will be a great partnership for recognition if NASCAR and K&N.
How have K&N filters improved the performance of your racecar? Do you use K&N products on your family's vehicles?
We have a K&N air and oil filter on our racecar and they're great. They really help the engine breathe well and keep the oil clean and flowing well. I have a K&N 57 series performance intake kit on my Ford F250 diesel, K&N filters on all our motorcycles, and my son's Ford Ranger. They're great products.
What is a normal day like for you off the track?
I'm usually at the shop from 7:30 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. We're getting our parts shop up and running, and we're always working on the racecar, dialing in the setup for the next race.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I love relaxing with my family at the river. We take the boat out and the kids love the watersports. I don't water ski much anymore but I used to a lot when I was younger.
What advice do you have for young racers seeking to enter NASCAR or just racing in general?
If you really want it, you have to commit heart and soul. Start early with someone who's been racing for a while as a mentor-apprentice relationship. That will really help. Overall though, the important thing to remember is that you get out what you put in - simple as that. You get out what you put in.
With one top 5 finish, 3 top 10 finishes, and a pole position at his home track at Irwindale in the 2010 season, lady luck hasn't completely abandoned Greg Pursley and the Gene Price Motorsports team. Greg and his team are currently sitting in 10th place by points, less than 200 points separating 10th and 1st, and with only half of the season behind them there are plenty of races left for the Gene Price Motorsports team to climb the ranks to the championship they so tenaciously want. The NASCAR Pro Series West sponsored by K&N has been a very exciting season to date and the second half is looking to be just as entertaining as the first. NASCAR fans everywhere won't want to miss the exciting finish to the 2010 season!
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