Andy, Phil and Bryce Bozell competed in the same race Sunday at Spartan Speedway with the Late Model Sportsman as part of the track’s Sunday Slugfest Series. Andy’s accolades are well-known in racing circles – he’s a 12-time Kalamazoo Speedway track champion, a four-time Kalamazoo Klash champion and a Michigan Motorsports Hall of Famer.
Phil’s also an accomplished driver in the Outlaw Super Late Model ranks, with a track championship at Kalamazoo and wins in the Kalamazoo Klash, Summer Sizzler and at the Canadian Short Track Nationals.
Recently, his son Bryce has made the jump from Quarter Midgets to full-sized cars with plans to compete in the weekly Late Model Sportsman class at Spartan and with the CRA Junior Late Models.
“We wanted to support the racetrack up there and we’re running our Outlaws there, and we saw this Slugfest race they were doing on Father’s Day and it just so happens that I have a Sportsman that I drive for a friend of mine (Mike Shewchuck) and my dad drives Doug Lane’s Sportsman car,” Phil Bozell told Speed51. “We just made plans for all three of us to get out on the track together.”
It was a successful day overall for the family on the track. Andy won the feature, the third straight year he has won on Father’s Day. Phil finished fourth, while Bryce finished 11th after falling out of the race with three laps to go.
For the family, the day wasn’t about on-track results.
“Just to make it happen and be able to do that, results weren’t on our mind that day. Dad won, which is cool. He’s won on Father’s Day each of the last three years. Really, we just wanted to make it happen. We had a bunch of friends and family out there, it was a pretty cool deal.”
The opportunity was made possibly after Spartan Speedway track owner Tom Hernly allowed Bryce, who is just ten years old after a recent birthday, to race at the facility this season after seeing him turn laps before the season started. The family’s plans are to have him also take part in CRA Junior Late Model events for the rest of the season.
They first got Bryce in a full-sized car last year, taking him to M40 Speedway throughout the summer to make laps. A call to Hernly to get extra laps at new racetracks before the season started helped lead to Sunday’s race.
“He raced Quarter Midgets the last couple years and we still had the old car that my dad raced with the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour, it was just sitting in the barn next door since we hadn’t done anything with it for a while. I saw the Junior Late Model Series that CRA is doing and it sparked some interest with that.
“Last summer, we modified some pedals on the floorboard and put his seat in the car and started taking him down to M40 and having him make some practice laps. Our plans this year were to do the Junior Late Model Series after he turned ten, which would’ve been at Anderson last week. We went to M40 twice a week all the way up until the snow flew and got him a ton of laps. Spartan Speedway opened up this year and I called the new owner (Tom Hernly) and asked if my son could come practice because we wanted to get practice at different tracks. We took him up there and he did really well and impressed them and I asked him if he could race, I wasn’t sure what their insurance policy was. He said absolutely, I see no problem with him racing. We started having him race up there Friday nights with their Late Model Sportsman division.”
Fans in Outlaw Super Late Model racing have grown accustomed to seeing several Bozell’s racing each other at tracks throughout the Midwest. The elder Bozell’s have raced against each other for going on 20 years now, and have been joined by Andy’s brother Jeff Bozell on countless occasions.
The father-son duo leave it all out on the track anytime they are around each other. They have finished 1-2 on three occasions in Outlaw Super Late Model competition since 2019, Phil winning twice at Berlin and Jukasa and Andy winning at Galesburg last year.
“It’s cool enough just to see your kid on the track. Me and my dad have raced against each other a lot, which a lot of people don’t even get to do that. We are fortunate that we’ve raced against each other a lot and we race hard together, there’s no give and take between me and my dad. We probably race harder with each other than with anybody else, it just makes us better.
“We’ve been watching him and we’ve been able to be at the track with him and teach him stuff, but to be out there experiencing it with him, it was a pretty cool deal.”
The family hopes to race against each other again in the future, but that will depend on racing schedules for the older Bozell’s. He also hopes for his son to be allowed to race at more facilities as the year goes on, both in the Sportsman and with CRA.
There also may be more family members joining them on the track in the coming years as well
“I don’t know how soon we’ll be able to but we are going to continue supporting the Sportsmen class up at Spartan. As of right now that’s one of only a couple tracks Bryce can run because of the insurance deals. We may try to do one at Galesburg this year if all three of us can get out there. Our schedules are crazy right now, we’re just picking and choosing. There’s so many races going on right now because everybody was off with the COVID deal and we want to support everybody.”
“We still want to travel and get him experience with the CRA Junior Late Model Series but we have so much to change with our car to make it legal for that, we may just look into another car to let him do some of those races. We got my nephew turning ten this fall, he’s already practiced my son’s car. There’s no substitute for laps, my dad made me do the same thing. He made me go out and make laps and laps, so we go out as much as we can and make him do laps and get him in the car, I think we’ll have a couple little ones racing here next year.”
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Thomas Stumpfig