PELLA – Austin Schrage has two big goals for 2021: park his IMCA northern sportmod in Victory Lane and continue to race all across the Midwest with his dad, veteran racer Brian Schrage.
Racing has just always been a part of Austin’s life. His dad had already been racing for a number of years when he was born. So, when he was old enough, he started racing dirt bikes and go-karts. It didn’t take much more than that for the “racing bug” to take hold:
“I just love meeting all the new people and building relationships with new friends. Racing is my family’s hobby that we have always done together.”
Austin got behind the wheel of a full-size racecar about 11 years ago. Starting out from his hometown of Cresco, he’s run all across Iowa and the neighboring states – running IMCA, USRA, and with the WISSOTA Midwest Mods – and has notched laps at all of the following tracks:
- 300 Raceway in Farley
- Adams County Speedway in Corning
- Boone Speedway
- Chateau Raceway in Lansing, MN
- Cresco Speedway
- Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, MN
- Dubuque Fairgrounds Speedway
- Eldon Raceway
- Fairmont Raceway in Fairmont, MN
- Hamilton County Speedway in Webster City
- Hancock County Speedway in Britt
- Independence Motor Speedway
- Knoxville Raceway
- Kossuth County Speedway in Algona
- Lee County Speedway in Donnellson
- Marshalltown Speedway
- Mason City Motor Speedway
- Mississippi Thunder Speedway in Fountain City, WI
- Murray County Speedway in Slayton, MN
- Ogilvie Raceway in Ogilvie, MN
- Princeton Speedway in Princeton, MN
- SK Speedway (formerly Spring Lake Speedway) in Unity, WI
- Upper Iowa Speedway in Decorah
Someday, Austin says he might like to try moving up to an IMCA modified. But, for now, he’s quite content racing his northern sportmod:
“I like the close, tough competition. And, there’s a lot of great people that are fun to race with.”
It doesn’t hurt that Austin’s been pretty successful, even if he hasn’t parked it in Victory Lane yet this season. In seven races so far this season at Boone Speedway and Marshalltown Speedway, he’s scored six top fives, including three runner-up finishes.
The biggest challenge, especially as an engineer himself, is making the right call on car setups:
“Not overthinking myself. As an engineer, sometimes I get a little carried away on thinking. Sometimes, I just have to go up on top of the trailer and watch some other races, then come back to what I was thinking on.”
The scariest moment of Austin’s career came during a qualifying race at the 2014 IMCA Super Nationals at Boone Speedway. Getting caught up in a big wreck, his car was totaled. His dad, however, put him behind the wheel of his own car for the rest of the week – and he wound up being the first non-qualifier.
Two years later, he raced his way into the Big Dance by winning a qualifying feature. That’s easily the happiest moment of his racing career, he said.
Now, Austin’s reached the point where he just wants to keep enjoying racing:
“Racing for me is the hobby that brings my family and friends together. My racing family is a group of people near and dear to me. I am not a shy person, so feel free to swing by my trailer and say, ‘Hi,’ if you see us out on the road.”
And for those who are thinking about starting a racing adventure of their own, Austin has three simple-to-remember pieces of advice:
“Keep it enjoyable. Get others involved. And, show your enthusiasm for the sport.”
To continue to follow Austin this season, click HERE.
(Photos by PHOTOGRAPHER [Click HERE for more])
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