Servantez enters turn one at the track
As the race cars came off turn four and crossed the finish line during Champion’s Night on September 3rd, the I-35 racing season ended. But NIACC student Justin Servantez, who finished eighth in that race, hopes to be entering turn one in life at the track.
Justin Servantez, a business major, races the number 22S in the hobby stock division every weekend from April to September at I-35 Speedway at the North Iowa Fairgrounds. Like many drivers, Servantez decided to become a driver after going to races at the fairgrounds.
“I just got started in racing,” Servantez said. “I went to the track one weekend, and that’s when I decided that’s what I wanted to do. I’ve been racing for about two and a half seasons now.”
But why race? Why go around in circles and turn left?
“I think I mostly race because of the adrenalin,” Servantez said. “Where else can you drive as fast as your car will go and you won’t get into trouble?”
Whenever Servantez races on the track, he doesn’t only race for the win, he also races for family bragging rights. Jay Servantez, Justin’s first cousin, also races in the hobby stock division.
“(We are) kind of competitive,” Justin said in describing racing against his cousin. “I want to make sure I end up in front of him.”
Jay, who had his first season as a driver last year, agrees.
“It’s different racing against him than anybody else,” Jay said. “It’s more of a challenge. I want to beat him and he wants to beat me more than anyone else.”
But off the track, the two cousins try to help each other off the track as much as beat each other on it.
“We try to pit next to each other and help each other as much as we can,” Jay said. “I enjoy working with him.”
Like any sport, racing involves time and money. Justin throws a lot of money at his hobby stock car, but says he has a little help in funding his car.
“I got a lot of money invested in the car, this year alone I have around 10 to 15 thousand in it,” Servantez said. “I spend most of the money on motors, tires, and racing fuel. My sponsors help out a lot. Without them I wouldn’t be able to be out there every weekend. Whenever something breaks, normally its tire rods or upper arms. Normally, (it’s) nothing too serious.”
Last year, Justin finished 10th in the point standings in the hobby stock division, including a second place finish in the feature of the Fair Races. Justin wants to improve those marks next season and to become a contender.
“My goal for next year is to win two to three races and hopefully be able to compete for a point’s championship,” Servantez said.
But Justin also has goals to for his future in racing as well.
“I hope to be able to race a late model before I hang up the race suit,” Servantez said. “But if not, it would be fun to race a modified. I plan to keep doing it for as long as I can, hopefully until I’m around 50 or so.”
But in his short time in racing, Justin’s favorite part about racing isn’t on the track.
“I think it’s the people that you meet along the way. It’s the friends that you make at the track, whether its fans, reporters, or other drivers,” Servantez said. “For instance, I’ve became friends with Jared Patterson through racing. I’ve also became good friends with J.J. Wise and Adam Ackerman also through racing.”
So while the checkered flag fell and ended the season in September, Justin hopes the green flag has just dropped to start his racing career.