10 Questions with…Bryan Riddle!
Last seen campaigning for TBARA Rookie of the Year honors and running wingless sprint car races, he is the grandson of legendary Florida sprint car driver Frank Riddle, currently looking for some sponsorship to get back in the sprint car game, he is Bryan Riddle.
Obviously your family has a healthy history of sprint car racing here in Florida. At what age did the sprint car racing bug take hold of you? I have been around sprint car racing my entire life and was very fortunate to travel all over the Southeast with my dad and grandfather as I was growing up. My earliest recollection of sprint cars is from Golden Gate Speedway in the early 80′s. It was the Halloween race weekend. My grandpa won the sprint feature and I won the costume contest dressed as Kermit the Frog.
Frank Riddle is a sprint car legend in these parts, what is your favorite racing memory of him? My grandpa was a great driver and loved his fans. One of my favorite memories of him is from New Smyrna Speedway. After the races were all over, everyone else was loaded up and leaving except for us. He was still signing autographs and taking pictures and had a line of kids waiting until the track lights were turned off, kind of saying “enough Frank, get the hell out of here already!”
Bryan's grandfather Frank is a legend in these parts and also a member of the Sprint Car Hall of Fame, Class of 2010.
In 2010 you ran for TBARA Rookie of the Year honors. Tell us about your season and the car you campaigned, it was a former Wayne Reutimann Jr. car, yes? The Case Contracting, Wesmar Engines #11 is a former Reutimann Jr car. Once we got the bugs worked out of it and got rid of some dead weight on our crew we were pretty fast. After a couple of races I got more comfortable and grew a sack and eventually realized that the pedal on the right is the one that makes the car go. We only ran 9 of the 18 races with the TBARA that year and ended up 16 points shy of ROTY honors. We ended the season with our best finish of the year at Citrus County Speedway with a top 5.
Bryan Riddle campaigned this #11 sprint car on the TBARA trail in pursuit of Rookie of the Year honors in 2010.
You campaigned this car (below) in the Florida 400 in 2007. Tell us about the car and how that day went for you. This is the car that my grandpa drove for many years until he quit racing. After about 10 years of it sitting in the trailer, we decided to bring it out of retirement. About a week before the 2007 Florida 400 we pulled it out, changed the oil and dumped some fuel in it and fired it off. The 400 was my first time ever in a sprint car so needless to say I got a crash course in Sprint Car 101. We qualified 32nd and finished in 15th. The car was pushing like a dump truck the whole race and about 30 laps in I lost the brakes, so it was definitely a long day.
Bryan Riddle at the 2007 Florida 400, campaigning his grandfather's sprint car.
You’ve run both wing and non-wing sprint cars, which one do you think better suits you? I had more fun in the winged sprint. We could never hit on a good setup for the non-wing races and driving an ill handling sprint car is no fun. We were definitely more competitive with the TBARA than we were with the non-wing series but either way I just want to race.
You’re quite the avid fisherman, tell us a good story about the big one that got away. A buddy of mine and I were fishing around Fort Desoto for redfish and trout. I hooked in to a huge redfish and got it all the way to the boat. My buddy grabbed the line above the leader and the line snapped before he could get it in the boat. I wanted to kick his ass but I thought better of it since he is 6’7″ and around 300 pounds. Probably a good decision!
When you’re not around a sprint car or fishing, what do you like to do for fun? I spend a lot of time on the boat even when I’m not fishing. I love being on the water hanging out with friends and family. It is probably my second favorite thing to do after racing. I also play golf every now and then when I really feel like wasting 40 bucks and losing a dozen golf balls.
Of all the tracks you’ve raced at in Florida, which one do you like best and why? I would have to say Orlando Speedworld and 5 Flags Speedway are my top 2 favorite tracks. Orlando is smooth and fast and I have had decent runs there on a few occasions. 5 Flags is just a haul ass track and you have to have balls to run down into the corners. Also, the fans up there seem to be a little more appreciative of us when we come to town than at most other tracks. Not too many tracks do an autograph session anymore, but 5 Flags does and I absolutely love meeting the fans and seeing how interested the little ones are. They look up to all of us drivers like we are super heros.
Bryan Riddle in wingless competition at Citrus County Speedway in 2010.
When will we see you back racing again? That is the million dollar question. Like many other race teams, times are tough in the Riddle camp. I keep playing my Lotto numbers and working 40 hours a week but the money is still not there. I am working on a couple of sponsors for 2013 so hopefully that will pan out and we will be back out there by next year at the latest.
Frank Riddle is a beloved figure in Anderson, Indiana, will you be the next Riddle to run the Little 500?
Fingers crossed. Right now we don’t have the money or the equipment to compete in the 500, but I will eventually make it happen. That being said, anyone looking for a driver for the 500 this year feel free to e-mail me at Bryan2911@AoL
or write me on Facebook. I would be more than happy to bring my seat and my gear!
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and for golfers check out Stiff Shaft Golf
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Bryan passed along this photo of grandfather Frank from the Riddle family archives.