NORMAL, Ill. — Summer means a couple of things to Brock Spack. Youth football camps and auto racing.
It’s been that way since he grew up in Rockford.
“The Rockford Speedway was a big deal on Saturday nights,” Spack said. “I grew up on short track stock car racing.”
Spack is getting rady to enter his 11th season as Illinois State’s head football coach. But long before he was roaming the sidelines as a coach, he used to cut the grass in order for his dad to take him to races.
Now he’s the one bringing his family to the race track. Spack has attended the Indy 500 for over 30 years, he’s brought his kids to Daytona International Speedway for a NASCAR race and he’s even had the chance to get behind the wheel of a pace car.
“My wife and I went about 120-130 mile an hour in the pace car at Talladega,” said Spack.
He sees plenty of similarities between football and auto racing.
“It’s similar and a team-oriented sport and there are a lot of things that go into making a car run fast,” Spack said. “It’s very interesting.”
He has played or coached football most of his life and Spack says he has loved that. But he admits if he didn’t fall in love with football all those years ago, he may be in racing.
“If I came back reincarnated, I would like to be a race car driver someday,” Spack said. “I’m not that talented and it takes too much money!”
He’s been in the garage, the pits and to driver’s meetings on race day. But he says the best spot at a race track is the one closest to the action.
He recalled being closed to the track the first time he went to Daytona.
“(Drivers) draft around 20 cars, your hair is everywhere, it’s really loud, the ground is shaking,” Spack laughed. “The feel of speed.”