Monday, June 14, 2010

SPORTS >> Redman speaks on track

IN SHORT: Soft-spoken mod racer lets action do his talking on oval at Beebe Speedway.

By Jason King
Leader sportswriter

Beebe’s Ryan Redman prefers to let his actions on the track speak for themselves.
Because when it comes to speaking for himself, Redman isn’t quite as well versed as he is when behind the wheel.

Redman, one of the front-runners in the economy-modified class at Beebe Speedway, got his start five years ago in the fairly young division. The 23-year-old has earned the respect of his fellow drivers and developed a reputation as a solid, clean driver.

But those accomplishments haven’t translated to confidence when it comes to discussing his career with strangers, particularly strangers with tape recorders in hand.

“I’m not a very good guy to interview,” Redman said. “I’m not too interesting.”

Despite his claim, Redman has had an interesting start this season in the E-mod class at Beebe and at Conway County Super Speedway. Redman has a string of top-five finishes, including a feature victory at Conway County in Plumerville.

Redman has finished out of the top five only once in seven starts this year at Beebe. He began the season with a fifth-place run March 23, and started April strong with a third-place finish followed by a fourth.

His worst finish so far was 10th, but Redman helped himself in the season points standings two weeks ago with back-to-back top fives when the USCS sprint cars ran a Thursday Speedweek show. He finished second to winner Blake Jones on Thursday, and bounced back from an early spin in the Friday feature to finish fifth.

He earned his first feature victory at Plumerville last season, and now with a new car for this year and a number of consistent runs in the first half of the season, 2010 has the potential to be an interesting year for the young driver.

The self-described car buff caught the racing bug as a kid watching his uncle build racing chassis, but racing on an oval was not Redman’s first choice.

“I wanted to four wheeler race, but that’s too dangerous,” Redman said.

Redman has been nothing but consistent throughout his short career. His first season in 2006 resulted in a sixth-place points finish when Redman was still a teenager.

He finished fifth in the points standings in 2007 and 2008, and finished runner-up last year to champion Robert Woodard.

Redman works as an electrician during the week to support himself and his racing habit. His operation is family based, with dad Fred Redman serving as crew chief, his mom Christine serving as a one-person film crew and longtime friend John Douglass also helping out with the car.

“I like everything about racing,” Redman said. “It’s good for family — I don’t know how to explain it. I like the thrill and the challenge.”

Redman is clearly humble and a bit leery of the spotlight. But when discussing the car itself, Redman opens up.

“I’ve got a new car this year,” Redman said. “It’s a lot better than the one I’ve been racing the previous years. I’ve won two heat races this year — just waiting to win a feature.”

Drivers prefer different track conditions for different reasons. Redman likes the challenge of a dry-slick track, which is the most difficult condition to set up for and race on.
As the term implies, the track suffers from a complete lack of grip, and races more like an asphalt surface covered with ice rather than clay mud with tackiness.

The condition also lends itself to a lot of wheel spin, particularly with cars sporting big horsepower engines. Some racers even consider dry-slick conditions to be an equalizer between the horsepower haves and have-nots.

“It doesn’t usually take as much motor,” Redman said. “It’s just better for me.”