Unbuckled: Getting to Know Kyle Welch
Driver of the #9NH Hubert’s Family Outfitters Chevrolet Impala
Hometown: Newport, NH
2015: Finished 8th in ACT Tour points
What are your favorite off-season hobbies?
My off-season consists of mostly working; I work a lot of hours in the winter. But when I do have free time in the winter I love to snowmobile and ski. I have access to snowmobile trails very close to where I live and snowmobiling is something I have done my entire life.
What do you do for work?
I work for Irving Energy. I work in Terminal Operations; I unload propane rail cars at a bulk plant where we supply our plants in the U.S. In the summertime I’m also doing this, but we’re not as busy, so I travel around New England inspecting and working on all of our oil and propane facilities.
What is your biggest life accomplishment?
Being so young I don’t have kids yet, I’d have to say winning an ACT race (at Speedway 51 in 2014). Being where I’m from not many people have the opportunity to race on the Tour just because of the cost and the time commitment it takes. It’s something to be very proud about.
What are your racing plans for 2016?
We plan on racing the ACT Tour full-time. We really enjoy traveling around and going to different tracks.
What race(s) are you most looking forward to in 2016?
I always look forward to Speedway 51, but Thunder Road is one that I’m looking forward to. Two years ago we were running in the top-5 when I made a dumb mistake and took us out of a shot of winning, and last year we were running 9th and on the last lap our battery died and I coasted back to a 20th-something place finish. So I feel like we just need to rebound and get a good finish there.
What was the highlight of the 2015 season for you?
We didn’t get a win in 2015, but our speed every week was something I was really proud of. We had a lot of bad luck in 2015 but in racing you’re going to have years like that. There’s things we can and can’t control and it just seemed like we had a lot of things we couldn’t control go wrong this year.
How did you get started in racing?
I got started racing go-karts at Sugar Hill Speedway in Weare, NH. But my family has been racing all my life. My uncle used to race at White Mountain and I used to go up and watch him every weekend. I would spend the weekend camping at the track with my grandparents. Racing has always been in my family.
Do you have any drivers that you consider a hero or try to emulate?
Punky Caron. Punky drove for my grandfather for a few years and I was brought up to be a Punky fan. He’s a winner – wouldn’t you want to be winner too?
Who is your biggest supporter at the track?
My parents for sure. To do what we do takes a lot of time. You spend your whole summer racing even on the off-weeks. My dad is always working on the car, and with him you work on it until it’s done. If I have plans on a weeknight, I need to make sure we get the work done on the car; then I can go out and do what I want to do. It’s commitment like this that makes you go fast, and if my dad didn’t support me as much as he does, we wouldn’t go as fast as we do. And my mom is just like any other crew member. It doesn’t matter if we are at the track or at home working on the car – she’s not afraid to help us out.
Who or what has had the greatest influence on your racing career?
Definitely my dad; he’s always pushing me to do better even if we get in a fight about it. (He’s usually right.) But no matter the situation, he knows what needs to be said or done, and there is always something to learn from.
What is something about you that most people don’t know?
The first thing that pops into my head is my age; a lot of people think I’m 26 or 27 years old when really I’m only 22.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
I think its Tom Curley’s favorite word: patience. When I started racing stock cars I wasn’t very patient; I wasn’t afraid to move someone out of my way to pass them. But the last few years spent talking to Tom and sitting in his driver’s meetings hearing that word so much makes you think about it. When you actually apply patience to racing, it gets you a long way. You gain a lot of respect from a lot of people. It also applies in life – when you’re patient good things will come to you.
Tell me about your family?
I have no kids or pets. I have an amazing girlfriend that supports every decision that I make and will always back me. She’s new to the racing world but she loves it. I have one sister that comes to every race that she can. And both of my parents, of course.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
A home owner, married, and thinking about kids. Oh, and racing of course. Who knows where and what I’ll be doing but I’m sure I’ll still be racing.
What would you do if you won the lottery?Buy a house somewhere warm for the winter, build a nice log cabin up here for the summer with a great big race shop, and pack it full of brand new cars. Maybe a new truck too!