SPOTLIGHT ON SPEED: THE STALLBAUMER FAMILY
If there is strength in numbers, nobody should be able to rival racing's Stallbaumer family.
Jim Stallbaumer, a former racer and current Top Fuel tuner himself, currently has five of his seven children racing at Heartland Park Topeka in either the E.T. Bracket Racing Series or the Jr. Dragster program.
His two other children have also raced and he and wife Joyce's two grandchildren are expected to make their debuts in the near future.
Quite simply, drag racing is what the Stallbaumer family does.
"It's definitely a family deal,'' Jim Stallbaumer said. "When they built the race track here in Topeka (in the late 1980s), that was really exciting.
"I had a race track close and all these kids and Jr. Drag Racing and I had a guy that was going to build me cars. It just evolved from there.''
Currently, the Stallbaumer lineup includes 14-year-old Camryn (Jr. Dragster), 18-year-old Korbynn (Sportsman), 21-year-old Jordan (Super Comp), 23-year-old Landon (Super Comp) and 25-year-old Micala (Super Street/Pro).
Jim's 28-year-old daughter, Lindsay, formerly raced and is contemplating a return in the Pro class.
"She just purchased an S-10 pickup and she's going to start racing pro,'' Stallbaumer said. "She raced Jr. Dragster and she's the only one of my seven won a national championship.''
The seventh offspring, 26-year-old Talena, currently lives in Atlanta, Ga. and is not racing, but she grew up in the Jr. Dragster program.
"Except for the little one, all of them have won Division V (championships) at one point in time,'' Stallbaumer said.
All of the Stallbaumer kids have got their start in the Jr. Drag Racing ranks.
"A fellow here in Topeka, Dave Meek, called he and said, "Hey, let's build one of those little cars,' '' Stallbaumer said. "And I've still got that car. That's the car Lindsay drove when she won the national championship in 1995.
"Dave and I built that car in his garage and from there we just kept building cars. We make every one of them start in that (first) pink car. Even my two boys had to drive the pink car, and they hated it.''
After graduating from Jr. Dragsters the Stallbaumers have chosen to keep racing.
"They wanted to continue and we tried to provide them a ride,'' Stallbaumer said. "I told them, "If you're just going to go out and piddle around, you're on your own, but if you want to go race competitively, I'll help you out.'
"That's what we've done and plan on continuing to do.''
Stallbaumer refused to keep track of how much money he's spent on the racing over the years.
"I choose not to dwell on the expense,'' he said. "It's no different than going to movies or going to whatever. We don't do a lot other than drag race. That's our entertainment. That's how we spend our entertainment dollars.''
The Stallbaumer racing success has now extended outside Jim's children.
"We have extra cars and my niece, Madelyn, my brother's daughter, drove one of the extra cars last year and she won the 10-12-year-old class and wants to drive it again this year,'' he said.
"So we have another Stallbaumer involved and I 'm just waiting for the grandkids and that will be next year.''