In recent years, Andy Jankowiak has established himself in the Northeast, winning seven Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series races over the past three seasons. Now, Jankowiak is chasing a lifelong dream of competing at the World Center of Racing.
Jankowiak has acquired an ARCA Menards Series car from Ken Schrader Racing, with plans to compete in the series’ season-opening event at Daytona International Speedway in 2021.
With some time away from the race track during the COVID-19 pandemic, Jankowiak focused his efforts towards pursuing a chance to race with the stock car series at Daytona.
“The whole situation going on right now, not having racing to worry about for a little bit, gave me a chance to think about what goals I had, what I was trying to do,” Jankowiak told Speed51. “This is one that’s always popped up in my head, but we’re always so busy racing that it’s hard to put enough things aside to focus on it.
“It felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to refocus and look at other things. This is what we came up with.”
How much does the dream of competing at Daytona International Speedway mean to Jankowiak? Even when presented with the opportunity while competing in the area during Speedweeks in the past, Jankowiak has made a point to never visit the 2.5-mile superspeedway.
“I’ve actually avoided watching races there. I’ve never actually even been to the track. I thought it would break my heart too much to go there and not be involved in the race. It’s such a dream of mine. I’m very excited that the first time I’m going to the track, it will be as a race car driver. That’s the dream.”
Even with the car in his possession, Jankowiak is still working to process the feelings involved with this opportunity. He expects that will be the case for another 10 months.
“It won’t sink in until I’m walking in. Even then, I might have to get on the track to really appreciate it. I can’t even begin to describe what this means to me.
“Getting this far and having that opportunity to be able to work at something so much bigger, it’s just incredible. To work on something on this scale and chase this dream, I can’t wait to put the work in.”
While Jankowiak plans to compete in the season opener at Daytona, he also hopes to put together plans for future races. However, that will require sponsorship assistance.
Jankowiak knows now is not the time to aggressively pursue those sponsorship opportunities but is eager to put in the work to add to his ARCA schedule when timing is appropriate.
“To do anything past Daytona, we’re working really hard on putting sponsorship together right now. When the time is appropriate, we’re going to put the work in to find the funding to continue this past Daytona.”
Whether those additional races happen or not, Jankowiak will be able to check off a bucket list item when he shows up at Daytona next February.
“This is the dream. It really is. Obviously, I want to do more with it and I’m excited to see what we can do with this opportunity. Just to be able to go to Daytona, that’s what I’ve always wanted to do. Now that I’ve got a little taste of it, I want to see how we can make this go further.”
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Andy Jankowiak