Race Weekend Central

Off the Wall with… James Vance

What was your first race car, and what number did it have?

The first car I raced was a Mazda MX-5 Cup.  It was No. 21.  This was six years ago.

What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you during a race?

I remember during the Detroit Grand Prix, that race in and of itself was crazy with the dry-to-wet transition on the dry tires, but I forgot to wear my volleyball knee cap during the race.

I usually put it on the side of my leg so that it doesn’t bang off the steering column.  I left it on the pit wall [before I got in the car].

I remember when I got out of the car, I had blood rushing down my leg because the steering column bolt had been going into my knee.  It drilled a friggin’ hole in my leg.  That wasn’t exactly nice.

What was the first concert you ever attended?

I believe it was Luke Bryan when I was 16 in Toronto.  It was at the Molson Amphitheatre.

What’s the best practical joke you were ever involved in, as either perpetrator or victim?

I remember when I was in high school, senior year. Where I lived was very much countryside, so it was one of those things where we’d always figure out a joke to play on farm animals.

So, on the last busy day of school, it was a Thursday.  We went and bought something like 15 chickens, five goats and a bunch of random stuff from a local farmer’s market, put them in the cafeteria and closed the doors.

It was hilarious.  We all got in a lot of trouble, but what could they do?  We were graduating.

What was the worst thing you hid from your parents as a kid?

I remember growing up that I’d hang out with an older crowd and I was always away racing, too.  When I got to 16, 17 years old, all my friends would be 19, which is the legal drinking age in [Ontario].

All my friends would be going out to house parties.  [My parents] knew that I’d go, but I’d always take a water bottle with me.  I’d put some vodka in it and drink that.  I kept that up for about a year until one day, [my dad] said “Where’d all my vodka go?”

I wouldn’t say it was bad because we have a cool relationship, but at the time, I felt like a little badass doing it.

About the author

Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.

Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.

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