Ron Daniel describes himself as a quiet man. His reputation on the race track is quite the opposite. His own son describes him as an intimidating driver.
"He's an aggressive old man," Ryan Daniel said. "You could learn so much from watching him."
Ron Daniel has a sentimental side too. After running partial schedules over the past few years, the 53-year-old driver from Mentone has decided to race the entire 2010 late model schedule at the Orange Show Speedway in San Bernardino mainly because he wants to race with his son.
Ron Daniel is 25 years removed from his last full season at the Orange Show. He started eight races in 2009, almost won a couple of those races with two runner-up finishes, including on opening night.
"We were always in contention," Ron Daniel said. "It just never happened. I'm looking forward to going down there and winning some more races."
The last time he raced a full schedule at the Orange Show was in 1985. He raced at Mesa Marin in Bakersfield, Havasu 95 Speedway and Lucas Oil I-10 Speedway in Blythe since then. He won a track championship at Havasu in 2007.
Last year, his son won the late model track championship at Orange Show Speedway and Ron Daniel decided he wanted to race with his son rather than talk him through races as his spotter. But make no mistake, Ron Daniel is out to win some races too.
"I taught him a lot over the radio," Ron Daniel said. "He learned a lot from watching me. Hopefully he's right there to win with me."
Unlike his son, who races a car built by Jackson Racing, Ron Daniel has a car from Victory Circle and Finish Line Motor Sports. It's an example of Ron Daniel's old-school ways, relying on a proven product than experimenting with new equipment. It's his second car from Victory Circle.
As for being described as an aggressive driver, Ron Daniel said there is a fine line between being overly aggressive and taking unnecessary risks.
While he admits he uses some aggressive tactics, Ron Daniel insists he has a reserved personality.
"When I put my helmet on, it all changes," he said.
In one race last year, Ron Daniel drove up underneath his son, lifting the rear end of his car off the track. Ryan Daniel has a photo of the move, and says it's one of his favorite shots.
"He's real intimidating," Ryan Daniel said. "But one of the cleanest racers I've ever watched."
Ron Daniel said one of his goals is to win some races, but more important than that is to help his son improve.
"I want to try and win as much as I can and not get into too much trouble," Ron Daniel said. "But I want to make Ryan better than he is now."
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