The Senneker name has been synonymous with motorsports success in the state of Michigan. Bob Senneker is a former ASA National Tour champion with seven Winchester 400 wins, three Glass City 200 wins, and an All-American 400 win to his credit. Brother Terry Sr. is also a former Winchester 400 winner and the father of Senneker Performance head man Terry Senneker Jr., who has carved his own path both behind the wheel and in the shop.
After sitting out the last two editions of the Kalamazoo Klash due to a blown engine in practice in 2017 and Senneker Performance obligations one year ago, Senneker Jr. is set to chase after a record sixth Klash victory Wednesday night at Kalamazoo Speedway. It will be the Wayland, Michigan driver's first race since winning the Lee Anderson Memorial at Berlin Raceway in July 2018.
He joined Speed51.com’s The Morning Bullring on Monday to talk about his return behind the wheel.
“We’ve been working hard on the car,” Senneker told Speed51.com’s The Morning Bullring. “It’s been a little over a year since I’ve been able to have my Outlaw car out because we’ve been so busy with the Super Late Model stuff and helping customers and being at the track. My kids are getting older, so they’re getting into sports and more activities. It’s been a lot harder to find time to go racing, so we’re excited to get the thing back out onto the track and I’m excited to get back behind the wheel.
“I think I’ll be fine. We went and tested last week and toward the middle and the end of the day, I definitely felt comfortable hitting my marks and stuff,” he continued. “I’ve been doing that for over twenty years now, so I don’t think it’s going to be too bad. It’s going to be good to get back into race mode to be running door-to-door with guys and racing hard. It’s been a couple years since I’ve even been to Kalamazoo Speedway. I’m really excited to get back there, it’s one of the best, raciest short tracks in the country.”
One of the most successful Outlaw Super Late Model drivers of the era, Senneker compares the Kalamazoo Klash to the Snowball Derby in terms of prestige. He credits the draw to the Klash to Kalamazoo Speedway itself. The two-time Outlaw Late Model track champion says there is no other track like the fast 3/8-mile ova.
“It’s kind of like our Outlaw Snowball Derby,” he stated. “Obviously, it’s a lot smaller than that but it’s a big deal up here in the Midwest. Guys from all over the Midwest with the Outlaw cars are coming to make their presence at this show. It’s prestigious, it’s a lot to do with Kalamazoo Speedway because it’s so racey, it’s not one-lane racing so you’re not going to see a lot of single-file or rooting each other out of the way. The outside and inside groove can race side-by-side, door-to-door. You can make your way to the front from the back if you have a lane, which you usually do, and you can run two or even three-wide racing. That’s what makes it a real pinnacle because it’s good racing, it doesn’t really turn into a wreckfest or anything like that compared to what some of the other shows do.”
In Senneker’s two years away from competing in the Kalamazoo Klash, Tyler Roahrig has gone to victory lane both years in exciting fashion. Arguably the top Outlaw Super Late Model driver in America right now, “The Rocket” will be the man to beat come Wednesday. He and Senneker have had their battles for wins in the Klash in the past, and Senneker doesn’t see anything changing come race time.
“It’s going to take everything we have,” he said. “Tyler is no slouch, even when we’ve won a couple Klashes he’s been just as good as us, if not a tick better, and we’ve pulled off the win against him. He’s still on his game, every time he goes to Kalamazoo Speedway he’s typically the one to beat. I don’t foresee anything different in this scenario.”
With Senneker Performance taking off and limiting his time behind the wheel, he will cherish the memories created Wednesday night no matter the result. His ultimate goal for the Klash is simply to put on a show for the fans in attendance and those watching live on Speed51.com.
“Hopefully we can bring out A-game and be right there with him and the other strong Outlaw teams and I hope we put on a great show for the fans,” he said. “I feel really fortunate to be where I’m at in my career and be able to do what I love to do, building race cars and to be able to go race now and then. I’d say the biggest thing is hopefully we can go and put on a great show for the fans and I hope I can come out on top, but whenever we look back on this race, no matter who wins I’m going to be happy we had a car that’s capable of winning and we can put on a good show for the fans.”
Race fans unable to make it out to Kalamazoo Speedway Wednesday night will be able to watch the Klash via a live pay-per-view broadcast. Live video tickets for the event can be purchased today by clicking here.
Whether you're watching from the track or on Speed51.com, be sure to draft your fantasy racing team for the Kalamazoo Klash on Dirt Draft. The winner of Saturday's contest will receive a VIP suite for up to eight people for the season championship on August 24 at Kalamazoo Speedway. Visit www.speed51.com/dirtdraft to sign up and draft your Kalamazoo Klash team today.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN/MI) - Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Speed51.com