Contributed by: ACT Staff
Unbuckled: Getting To Know Chip Grenier
Driver of the #9 Grenier Motorsports Ford
Hometown: Graniteville, VT
2012: Ran a limited schedule of Thunder Road and Vermont State Championship Series events.
What are your favorite hobbies in the off-season?
I pretty much race year round because I also race remote controlled cars at Barre Town RC. I started that when I was 14, so I’ve been doing that almost twenty years now. It’s a cool thing. We have heats and features and championships, sometimes we’ll have as many as 65 cars at an event. It runs from October to April, so it’s the perfect off-season hobby for me.
What do you do for work?
I work for Kevin Street doing construction and concrete. He actually used to race Warriors and Street Stocks at Thunder Road. I also work on racecars on my free time. I worked on 8 or 9 of the top ten in the Bond Auto Tiger Sportsmen this year. I built four of them from scratch. I thought that was pretty cool.
What is your biggest life accomplishment?Jeez, that’s a hard one. I won the first 100-lap race in the Tigers at Thunder Road. That’s really big on my list. The most we had ever done was 50 laps before that, so to win that was huge.
Big Plans for 2013?
It’s up in the air. My new car has been a year and a half project so it was nice to get it going at the end of the year. I think we’re going to run some of the ACT Tour, I really like the schedule this year. I’m really looking forward to the International 500 at Airborne Speedway, and anything at Devil’s Bowl Speedway. Thursday nights I’m going to try to crew chief at Thunder Road. Either Jamie Fisher, Matt White, or maybe even bring back Rich Lowry.
What is the state of your car currently?
It is sitting in my garage, just as it was right after the Milk Bowl. I sold my other car to a guy who is racing Late Models for the first time this year. I am also currently building a Street Stock for my nephew Kyle Streeter, so my stuff is on hold.
What race are you looking forward to the most in 2013?
International 500. I think that’s gonna be big. It depends on what drivers are there. I think it will attract a lot of different kinds, so getting in will be the hardest part.
What was the highlight of the 2012 season for you?
As of late, the most recent one was running so well at Devil’s Bowl in the last Vermont State Championship Race. I should have picked the inside of the last restart, so finishing second on a mistake I made was sort of bittersweet. But honest, I’ve had a tough couple of years, so being in it for the win again was really huge.
Do you have a hero? Someone you idolize as a racecar driver or try to emulate?
Ted Musgrave. When he was racing the old ASA cars, he built all of his own stuff. That’s what I’ve tried to do, too. I built my own Late Model, and any car I get I put my own spin on it. It’s nice to know it might be fast because of something you did.
Who is your biggest fan at the track?
My Uncles. Casey Craig and Nelson Craig. They’ve always been into it. They are “bank dwellers” at Thunder Road. That side of the hill lights up whenever they hear my name. My Dad too, because he puts up with me.
What is something about you that most people don’t know?
Most people probably don’t know that I love Sponge Bob Square Pants. I watch Sponge Bob all the time. I have so many movies and DVDs because I don’t have TV. I think I have six seasons, plus thirty other DVDs of Spongebob.
How did you start racing?
A buddy of mine and I built a car at school for our senior project. We built a Chevy Chevette for the Street Stocks. He was suppose to race it but got in an accident and couldn’t , so I got to race it. Funny how things work out. I started racing in 1995 or 1996, and then my Dad and Brother and I built a mustang to race after that.
Tell me about your family?
We’ve always been involved in racing. My old man use to work at Thunder Road. He use to sell popcorn at the track, and then was on the wrecker crew. He’s always loved racing, and we used to go to Catamount Stadium and Sanair growing up. One of my Uncles and my stepfather raced too, so we watched him as kids. I pretty much got sucked into it.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully on a pontoon boat! Ha, I’m not sure. I really enjoy working on the cars. I enjoy seeing my work out on the track. I’d just as soon crew or crew chief on a full-time basis, as I would race for myself.