Nearly six months after a fire that basically wiped out his entire racing program, Tim Schendel, with the help of friends, sponsors and manufacturers, returned to victory lane this past Saturday night at Dells Raceway Park in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.
The Sparta, Wisconsin driver’s shop was burned to the ground last December and the family-owned team lost practically everything. (CLICK HERE to read the Speed51.com story)
At that time, he and his father, Ron Schendel, weren’t sure what they would do with their Iron Eagle Racing team. But, he established a relationship with Salvator Mignognia who owns Sal’s Truck & Auto in Mauston, Wisconsin. They already decided that Tim would drive some races for him in 2015.
“This was the fourth time I drove Sal’s car and it was cool to take it to victory lane on Saturday night,” Schendel told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “It felt real good to win and turn around the feelings we had after the fire in December.”
Schendel was also the fast qualifier that night. After the invert of 12, Schendel quickly made his way to the front to get the big win.
The win did put away any questions about what to do after the fire.
“Looking back, we lost everything and I sat there scratching my head on what I was going to do next,” recalled Schendel. “Sal called me up and told me that he would help me get whatever I needed. He was there on Saturday night helping us out and it was awesome to have him in victory lane. He deserved this more than anyone else.”
It just wasn’t Mignognia who stepped up to help Schendel get to victory lane on Saturday night.
“We had an outpouring of people and companies offering to help get us back on our feet. Companies like Five Star Race Car Bodies, Pathfinder Chassis, Quarter Master, Racing Electronics, Comp Tire West, Penske Racing Shocks and more,” Schendel said. “One call that really surprised me was from Bobby Reuse at WCI Parts in Alabama. He saw the story on Speed51.com and offered to help us as well. If it wasn’t for all of them, we wouldn’t have won last weekend.”
It was also a moment for his family as well. Schendel’s fiancée Tracy and their daughter Taylor joined him in victory lane.
“It was awesome for us to celebrate as a family. Tracy and I are getting married on September 5 and she has been a huge supporter and kept me motivated after the fire,” said Schendel. “Hopefully, we can get a few more wins before our wedding day.”
For their daughter Taylor, the win had a different meaning.
“She has an interest in being a racecar driver, and I think this win has fueled up that interest more,” explained Schendel. “The other day she was asked what she wanted to be when she grew up and she said she wants to be a driver. I asked who was going to help and she said I was. Then I asked her who was going to pay for this and she said, we will get sponsors.”
Schendel said that they plan on running at Dells Raceway Park’s Super Late Model events this year and may race at other nearby events as well.
– Kevin Ramsell, Speed51.com Director of Business/Midwest Editor. Twitter: @KevinRamsell
Photo Credit: Jeff Blaser