Through the Esses - Andy Brumbaugh Looks To Broker A Career In Racing
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© Andrew S. Hartwell

Andy Brumbaugh is a name we have read on a handful of entry lists the last few years. And, frankly, that was all we knew about him; that his name was on entry lists for sportscar races. We assumed he was either a young man with money who bought that line on the entry, or he was perhaps a superstar talent who had migrated over to sportscar racing from another motorsports discipline which we were not followers of. Or, we figured he might be someone who was looking to turn talent into opportunity and commute that into success. Could he perhaps be yet another struggling talent trying to break into the ranks of the paid professional sportscar driver?

We came to learn Andy Brumbaugh is among the latter group. He has worked to position himself for success in each of his prior racing experiences. And for the most part, he has succeeded. This season, running with Meyer Motorsports driving the #16 RamTECH Mazda RX-8 in the ST Class of the Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series, he is hoping to find his name recorded frequently on both entry lists and at or near the top of the list of race results.

Brumbaugh began his career, like so many other 20-somethings in racing today, in karting. He started at the age of eight, having grown up around his father's SCCA racing activities. He spent so much time at the track as a child that he actually thought people who did not have a race car in their garage were not normal.

We talked with Brumbaugh this week and asked him to educate us about his rise from racing in seats that were barely an inch or two above street level, to fast times spent in a front line sportscar series like KONI Challenge. In our conversation we came to learn that, as a real estate broker in his spare time, he can close a deal on a house sale. But all things considered, he would much rather close a deal to drive with a top notch team full time in the Grand-Am Rolex Series,

I am a real estate broker, but I would rather not be one. I'd rather be racing professionally full time. But it helps pay the bills that racing doesn't pay and we all have to find ways to make ends meet, I can't tell my mortgage company that I didn't have a race so I can't pay my mortgage this month!

I started in karts at the age of 8. I had been going to race tracks since I was six weeks old. My dad raced in karts and then in SCCA club racing. Going to the track was just normal for us. I remember when I was five years old I thought everyone did that. When we would go over someone's house I would ask them why they didn't have a race car in their garage. I thought they were supposed to! I didn't realize that I was the one who was different.

We lived in Phoenix, Arizona and I did most of my karting out west. We raced in Southern California, Las Vegas, and Phoenix. I had a great time and did really well but I knew karts were just my start and that I would eventually want to move into racing cars.

A father can tell when his son has a talent and the ambition to utilize it to the fullest. This was true of Brumbaugh's dad, a man who knew the racing game well enough to know you had to be prepared if you wanted to be in the show.

My dad had an idea of what was coming and he knew the work it would take to go from karts to cars. All the while that I was asking him to get the latest and greatest karting equipment for me, he was pulling back on the reigns and putting that money aside to help me later on. He knew that while karting gave me tons of experience, having the best equipment there wouldn't necessarily help me when I made the transition to cars. In hindsight I can see that it was a good thing that he did that because it would have been so easy to spend all the money he had in karting and then never have the chance to get into a car.

Brumbaugh was one of the biggest kids in the karting game back then. But he leveraged his talents against the advantage the smaller karters had<