WALKER, Mich. – Brandon Hermiller and his No. 6 H.S. Die/VISI-TST Ford Team are in their second full season of running Super Late Models on the short tracks of the Midwest. During the 2014 season, Hermiller will be running a mixture of races on the ARCA/CRA Super Series circuit, several Super Late Model races at Berlin Raceway, his home track, plus some special events thrown in here and there.
Who is this rising young racing star and what makes him tick? Here is a little insight:
Full Name: Brandon Hermiller
Birthplace: Grand Rapids, Mich.
Birthdate: 3/16/1993 (21 yrs. old)
Height: 5’ 11”
Weight: 147 lbs.
Current Residence: Walker, Mich.
Sport: Give me anything with a motor and I’ll watch it. I’m not really into the traditional sports like football, basketball or baseball. I just really can’t get into it. But, give me anything with a motor and you have my full attention. We really enjoy the days out on snowmobiles in the winter, our motorcycles any chance we have. We event built a little go-kart track out behind our house. I have a couple of karts out in the garage. I enjoy tinkering and tweaking them to make them as fast as possible.
First (Personal) Car: 2008 Chevy Avalanche
Hobbies: Dirt-biking, racing 4-wheelers, go-karting…anything that comes with speed
Food: I’m not a real picky eater and like a lot of different foods. I really like Japanese food. One of my favorite restaurants anywhere is Wild Chef, a Japanese steak house, bar and grill located in Holland (Township) in the Grand Rapids area.
Movie: I love comedies…I like to have a good laugh. There was a great movie out last year called “Bad Words.” I really did like that movie. It’s about this 40-year-old dude who finds a loophole in the rules and hijacks a spelling bee. It is absolutely hilarious.
TV Show(s): I like “Resurrection” a lot. It is a drama series about dead people who return to life. It’s based on a book that was out several years ago. It’s one of those deals where if you start watching, you just get into it so much you have to watch every episode.
Favorite Musical Group/Concerts Attended: Kid Rock is number one, for sure. I saw him again last spring and he seems to get batter every day. I’d say that AC/DC and Nickelback are tied for second right now. I’ve recently even gotten into a little hip-hop type music, too. It’s really nothing too deep…stuff I hear on 95.7 FM (WLHT-FM) in Grand Rapids.
Song: If I need a song to get me pumped up, it’s probably “The Beautiful People” by Marilyn Manson. I always contended that if I could listen to the song just before qualifying, it’d be worth a tenth (of a second) or so. I actually tried it out one time and I was right…I went that much slower in qualifying than I had in practice. So now I just sort of hum it in my head to get pumped up.
Race track: Of course I love Berlin, my home track, but so far it’s a toss-up between Winchester (Ind.) and IRP (Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis). But, to tell you the truth, I have to throw Auto City Speedway into the mix now. The turns are so different on each end. We ran really well there last season and when you run well on a track it’s hard not to like the place.
City we race in: We had so much fun last fall when we went down to Nashville to race. I really enjoyed racing down at New Smyrna in Florida and staying in Daytona Beach. Nashville is a really cool race track there at the fairgrounds and there is so much to do in that town. We are scheduled to go back there again this fall and I am really looking forward to it. It’s a really cool track located in a great city.
Person I Admire Most: My grandpa (the late Harold Steele). He was such an inspiration to me. He was able to build him a new office on the second floor at the plant and it’s like a museum today paying tribute to him. He was able to enjoy his 67th birthday party up there before he died and that was so special.
Biggest accomplishment in life: As for racing, it was winning the pro stock championship (2011 season at Berlin Raceway). But probably the most important accomplishment in life itself will come in a couple of years when I get my engineering degree from Ferris (Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich)
If I wasn’t a race car driver, I would be a…? Using my education in engineering, probably doing 3D modeling.
Three things I’ve always wanted to do/try/visit: 1) do the burnout pit at the Iron Horse Saloon in Daytona or at least attend Bike Week in Daytona Beach; 2) visit the Middle East and see the Egyptian Pyramids; and 3) go scuba diving. I can’t believe I have not tried that yet.
Worst moment of my career: In our first year down at Winchester for the CRA sportsman race, I led the first 10 laps. I already had built up a 20-car-length lead. I went to pass the lapped cars and spun out all by myself. It was so embarrassing that I felt like I just wanted to crawl under the track. Probably in second-place would be our qualifying run at Toledo earlier this season. I have raced there before, knew the line around the track, was really fast in practice…and just blew it…all my fault.
Other jobs I’ve had: I was a floor sweeper, so I guess you could say I have come from the ground up, ha-ha!
If I was a big-time NASCAR team owner, I would hire ______ to be my driver? I used to would have said Kevin Harvick or Matt Kenseth, because those guys have seemed to have gotten the most out of their equipment. But that has changed over the last couple of years. I’d now have to say that I’d hire Kurt Busch. Everyone saw what he was able to do with the No. 51 car a couple of seasons ago. What he did with the Furniture Row car last season was really mind-blowing. Compared to the big teams, it’s a single-car operation and he made the Chase. The defending Cup champion (Brad Keselowski) didn’t make the Chase, but Kurt and that 78 team did.
One thing people don’t know about me is… I really do have a personality and can be a really fun guy to be around. When I first started racing, I was a pretty shy driver. I’ve watched all the guys running in NASCAR and know how important it is to be personable. I have sort of broken out of my shell. I mean that in the right way. What you see is what you get. I just try to be a good guy and a role model for the younger kids.
What I did during the last off season… One of the neatest things was becoming an uncle. My niece was born last October and it’s been so cool to spend time with her. Another thing was that I turned 21…legal age…back in March. We all went up to the Indian casino to celebrate. It was almost like one of those Las Vegas commercials…what happened there stays there, ha-ha!
Goals for 2014: I want to be able to get as consistent as possible and run up front. I want to be one of the guys that others look at and base speeds off of. I want them to say stuff like, ‘hey, we’re only a tenth or so off of what that No. 6 car is running, so we’re definitely in the hunt…’
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For additional information on Brandon Hermiller, please visit his site at http://www.brandonhermiller.com/.
For the latest news and insights, we invite you to follow Brandon on Twitter: @bhermiller (www.twitter.com/bhermiller) and Facebook: Brandon.hermiller (http://www.facebook.com/Brandon.hermiller)
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