Mike Taylor likely won’t race against his son, Kyle, at Madison International Speedway this summer, which could be a good thing for the family.
Taylor has raced his son in the past – “A couple times when I had my late model,” he said. “My wife was pretty nervous then.”
Taylor will drive on Friday nights in the new MISfitz class at Madison International, a quarter-mile and half-mile asphalt oval in Oregon, Wisconsin, just outside of the state capitol, Madison. Taylor’s brother, Jim, will race the same sportsman car on Saturdays at Jefferson Speedway in Cambridge, Wisconsin, while Kyle will race late models.
“It’s a family thing,” Mike Taylor said. “My brother has always been my best friend I guess, so it works good that way.”
Taylor has been racing at Madison for 33 years. His dad raced in the 60s, but Taylor himself didn’t get into the sport until he was 23 years old.
“I just used to go to the races all the time and watch,” he said. “And then they started having enduros so I got into that. After I got the bug then I made a sportsman car. I had a street stock and a sportsman then a late model.”
Taylor and Jim, who is two years younger, have been working together from the beginning. Now they work to get their car ready every weekend, while also getting the late model ready for Kyle.
When Taylor isn’t in the car himself, he’s working with Kyle, serving as the youngest Taylor’s spotter. Kyle would help his dad work on his race car until he was old enough to get his own.
“Him and I built a sportsman car together when he was 15 so he could start racing when he was 16,” Mike Taylor said. “Then he moved up to late model and now I’m driving the sportsman car.”
When the two did meet up on the track, the elder Taylor made sure to help his son in any way possible.
“I always gave him the better car. He’s usually faster than I am,” Mike said. “I just hoped he didn’t beat me too bad.”
“It’s fun. It’s exciting when he’s winning.”
Racing against his brother was a different story though.
“We raced limited late models together. I was much faster than him then,” he said. “It was clean. We never ran into him each. I lapped him one time. He let me go.”
Taylor will run a full season at Madison in the MISfitz class, a new division that puts different cars – stocks, trucks, modifieds, late models and even some purpose built MISfitz cars – together to run timed laps. The class will have few rules other than the cars can’t go under 20 seconds per lap. Teams can use any treaded Hoosier tire which mounts on an 8″ wheel, and any V-8 engine.
Taylor said he’s run in something similar before, but never for a full season. He isn’t preparing any differently though.
“I just get everything fixed up and looking nice and get out there early and get some practice,” he said. “Same as everything else I guess.”
After working nearly full time on race cars for more than three decades, Taylor said he’s just excited to get back on the track and try to get to victory lane a few more times.
“Just getting out of winter – I’m getting old. I’m getting close to retiring so I’ve got to get a few more wins under my belt,” he said.
Madison International Speedway will hold a track clean up day and open practice this Saturday beginning at 8 a.m. They’ll open the season on May 5 with the Joe Shear Classic 200, featuring ARCA Midwest Tour, stocks, trucks and vintage series.
The track’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series season opener will be held on May 17 with late models, MISfitz, bandits and 6shooters.