From radio talk shows to in-depth features, McIntire has had to adjust quickly to his newfound stardom. And that trend will only continue when the IHRA Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series returns to the track this weekend for the IHRA Nitro Jam Palm Beach Nationals at Palm Beach International Raceway this Friday and Saturday.
Can McIntire keep the momentum going or will we see another surprise winner in south Florida? We asked McIntire these questions and a whole lot more as he gets ready to make the trip from his home in Mentor, Ohio to the southern tip of Florida for race four of the season.
IHRA: First off, tell us how your life has been since getting your first win?
Mike McIntire Jr.: The weeks since the win have been a little crazy to say the least. I was amazed by the amount of people calling and congratulating us on our win. The amount of support from fans, family, friends and other racers has been really cool. Thanks again to all of you!
IHRA: I know everyone dreams of winning races and being successful, was that something you expected of yourself in your first year, or did the win catch you by surprise so early in your career?
MM: This win did catch me by surprise a little. I knew our car was capable of it, I have just have been trying to stay consistent in my driving and not screw up. I think we accomplished that goal in Bradenton!
IHRA: What went through your head the moment you realized you had won the race?
MM: Backing up after the burnout, my dad signaled to me that Rupert had broke on the burnout. Believe it or not, I didn't even think that we had won yet. I just wanted to get it down the track from A to B clean and safe. Now, after the chutes were out, all that kept going through my head was that I can't believe this is real! WE WON!
IHRA: While you were sitting in the lanes waiting on Rupert, what were you thinking? Did you believe in your heart you could beat him not knowing he was broke?
MM: I mean, it's racing, anything can happen. Our car was extremely consistent that weekend, that's credited to my guys all doing a great job between rounds.
IHRA: What are your thoughts so far on the 2014 season, especially winning against such a tough group of racers?
MM: The 2014 season has been a dream come true for me – and it has only just begun. IHRA put together the best teams in the country. The racing is super competitive and has just been fun to be a part of.
IHRA: Does a win so early change your outlook on the rest of the season at all?
MM: Not really. We went to Tucson with the goal to qualify. After qualifying there are next goal was to win a round. That didn't come in San Antonio, but it came in Bradenton. So the goal stays the same, win some rounds, have fun, and the rest will come.
IHRA: Are you looking forward to hitting the track again in Palm Beach and defending your win?
MM: To say I'm looking forward to it is an understatement. This has been our longest break since the start of the season and we can't wait to get to Palm Beach. The saying around the shop the last two weeks has been ‘is it May 2 yet?’
IHRA: Anything else you want to add?
MM I just want to give a big thanks to Spee-D-Metals, Cometic Gasket, JTS Machinery and Sales, Boninfante Friction, Clevite, Total Seal, Speed City, my parents, my wife, my crew and their families for all the help and support. It is said a lot in racing, but it is so true, we couldn’t do this without them.