The racing season in New York State is finally set to hit its full stride this weekend at Lancaster National Speedway with the return of the Race of Champions Modified Series and Super Stock Series. One of the drivers that will be in attendance to compete has history in both classes, but after an extended absence now calls the Super Stock division his home.
That driver is part-time Erie County Sheriff Tommy Krawczyk.
Krawczyk was on a path to become one of the toughest drivers to beat in the region in the late 1990’s; however, all of that came to end after the 2000 season when a promising career in law enforcement would take up much of his time. But now time has opened up in Krawczyk schedule and he now has a desire to share the racing life with his family that has grown up since that time.
“I took about 13 years off from driving,” Krawczyk told Speed51.com. “I ran into an individual by the name of John Lyon. We just happened to be talking mutually about racing and he told me how he had all these cars and I told him how I used to drive. Long and short, I told him that the only thing I regretted about racing is that it was before I had my children and I wish they could have seen what I enjoy doing. He decided to put me in the car. I talked to people about doing it over the years and it never materialized. Wouldn’t you know, John called me back the next day and we’ve been at it for a while now.”
The road back to racing has had its bumps, but the No. 48 team has put its full effort into making sure that the 2018 season will be one to remember for Krawczyk and his family.
“If anything could go wrong it has it seems. I’ve had some bad luck, but I’ve got really good equipment I’m sitting on,” he said. “We went through the car and did a 100-percent once over of it, and we found a lot of things that we were missing the boat on. We spent a lot of the offseason just covering our bases. I’m optimistic that we’re going to have a successful season this year.”
The first race at Lancaster is the first of a majority at the Buffalo area half-mile for the RoC Super Stocks, making it Krawczyk’s home track. Seeing the improvements that have been made at the track recently has made him all the more happy to be back.
“When I did all my racing early on with both the Modifieds and the Street Stocks, it primarily revolved around Holland Speedway,” Krawczyk stated. “I won the US Open in 2000 at Lancaster in the Modifieds. The track was bumpy and it was fast, but my home was Holland. Since then I came back to Lancaster and what Tim Packman has done for that place is unbelievable. I don’t know how else to describe it. He treats the drivers exceptionally, the track is phenomenal, well kept up. I go there and he gives me the impression, the entire track gives me the impression, that they want you there. Coming off many years of absence and seeing that was quite refreshing. That’s what sunk me into keep going.”
Currently, Krawczyk does some state work as well as working part-time for the Erie (PA) County Sheriff’s Department. It has been quite the career, but he is happy that he has gotten the time to get back behind the wheel of a race car.
“That’s what dragged me away from racing in the first place,” he said. “In 2000 after we won the US Open I got sent to the academy. After graduating the academy, the nights and the weekends went away, which meant that racing went away. We went out on the top of our game, we sold everything. As the years went on and seniority helped out, your shifts change a little bit and it enabled me to have the chance to get back into it with the family once again.”
Now entering his second full season back in racing – his first full-time with the RoC Super Stock Series – Krawczyk is geared up for the eight-race touring schedule. He’s confident that he can win not only this weekend, but throughout the rest of 2018.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt about it that we are going to be one of the top cars, not only this weekend but all season long. The RoC series, Joe Skotnicki, what he’s done, I wouldn’t be racing if it wasn’t with the RoC series. It’s a phenomenal series, well organized. It’s the same aspect as what Tim Packman did with Lancaster. I’m optimistic, there’s a lot of good cars that race the class, but that’s the nice part about it. There’s a lot of guys that have a few years under their belt and it’s a pleasure to run with those kinds of people.”
-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Tommy Crawczyk