Date: April 20, 2008
About: Lonnie Bailey - Class of 1982
Behind the Wheel
Lonnie Bailey is the No. 4-ranked late model driver all-time at Quincy Raceways, where he has been racing for 26 years. Bailey,
43, of Quincy, is married to Paula and has two children, Matt (20) and Josh (16).
Is there any significance to why you chose the No. 25? When I started out racing I was 15 (years old) and I thought by the age 25 I should be at the peak of my career and know what's going on. We had a couple championships by that point, so that all worked out for us.
What is your favorite racetrack? I'm gonna go with Quincy. I cut my teeth there and started to learn to race there.
Which track is the most challenging in your eyes? Most half-mile tracks. We mainly run quarter miles all our life. We only run a half mile once or twice a year at the most. So you don't have much experience on that type of track to get a setup for.
Which dirt track driver do you admire the most? I would say Scott Bloomquist. He builds his own cars and does his own program. He's just a self-made man. He does it all himself. He doesn't rely on anyone else to do it for him. He figures it all out on his own and he's successful.
Since you build engines for a living, what is it like racing against drivers using engines that you built? Since I build my own motors it's just rewarding to do your own program and do things in a way you feel
you want them done over the
competition and it's just you get
different ideals that some other
customers may not want to try. So, with this being said, I'm kind of open to try different things and
give them a whirl. And we've been pretty successful with that.
Best racing advice you've ever received: From Steve Fraise when I was 15: "Don't get started with it. It'll break you. You'll get hooked."
Favorite racing series to watch on television: World of Outlaws late models. I like to watch (Scott) Bloomquist, (Billy) Moyer, (Shannon) Babb -- all those guys and the (World Dirt Racing League). Stuff like that -- stuff I can't afford to do.
Where do you see your racing career in five years? I'll be in the pits helping my boy (Matt Bailey) work on his race car. This is his third year in late models. So, I'll be helping him. I've had all my fun, highlights and championships. It's time to help him do the same.
What was your 'Welcome to the big time moment,' in your career?
Every time you move up to a
higher division you've got to pay your dues. Guys with experience, they'll rough you up a little bit
-- see what you're made of.
Most memorable racing moment: In 2004 we won two track championships (at Donnellson, Iowa and Quincy) and the runner-up in the IMCA Deery Brothers and won the Illinois state title. So that was
probably one of my better seasons.
Vehicle you drive during the week: Just a Ford Ranger pickup.
Any specific goals this year? I'd like to get my boy (late model driver Matt Bailey) to finish in the top 5
at both tracks (Burlington, Iowa, and Quincy) since we race together and compete together. I'd say if we both get a top-5 finish in points that'd be a pretty good year.
What is your favorite racing
surface? I like a slick surface the best. We run asphalt once a year at Cedar Rapids and I have a lot of fun on the asphalt track.