When it comes to racing in the Sunshine State, there is no name more familiar in the pit area than Joe Winchell. The local racer has dominated in every style of car he’s driven for more than 30 years. From Modifieds, to Trucks, to Late Models and more, Winchell has seen it all. But now, he has turned himself to a new challenge, the Sportsman of the Brandon Ford Wheelman Series.
“I like the Sportsman cars. I like how competitive they are. I think it’s a good class for Saturday night racers,” Winchell said. “I got hooked up with Chad Rutherford and Donnie Rutherford. I’ve known Donnie since I’ve started racing. He was a hot dog at Hialeah Speedway. Him and his kid Chad Rutherford own the car I drive and Chad Rutherford also races. So they put me into the car and it just turned into a really neat deal.”
Racing is not just a passion for Winchell, but a way of life. Living in Tennessee, Winchell regularly travels down to the Gulf Coast as often as he can to continue chasing his passion.
“I married probably the greatest racer’s wife anybody could marry, and she has no problems making these trips with me,” Winchell continued. “We’re going to run as many Sportsman races as we can this year. We’re actually trying to put two Late Models back together so we can hit some of them races. So we’re going to try to hit some of them shows a little bit later this year. We’re going to do as many Sportsman races as we can. So we just kind of make the trip down there and turn around and come back and do it again.”
After competing in 10 of 12 Wheel Man Series points races in 2018, Winchell hopes to do the same again. It’s hard to argue with the results of winning two races and picking up six top five finishes.
“I wish we were still living in Florida, but we’re not,” he said. “Dirt racing is really big up here, but I’m not really into dirt racing right now. I’ve been doing asphalt racing my whole life. I’m not a kid anymore. But I’m still enjoying it. It’s really the best thing I like to do. I love short track racing. I love everything about it. So we just keep doing what we can to keep doing it.”
You can catch Joe Winchell and the rest of the Brandon Ford Wheel Man Series competitors go to battle Saturday night at Citrus County Speedway (FL) with Speed51’s live video stream available to premium subscribers on the Speed51 Video Network.
-Story by: Allick Jorgensen, Speed51.com National Correspondent – Twitter: @AJorgensen24
-Photo credit: Robert Howell Photography