Let’s Chat – Max Guilford

Quick fire questions
Years racing: 7 years
Home track: Baypark                     
Feature wins: 6
Classes raced: Quarter Midgets, Formula 2 Midget, Midgets, Wing & Non Wing Sprint Cars

Welcome back Max, it’s great to have you sign to us for the upcoming season, can you give us an idea on why the change?  We are excited to have you!

We decided to register to Baypark in support of Bill Buckley and his team after helping me while in America. I think he has Midget racing in his best interests and that’s something I want to be a part of.

How did you get into racing? Where did you start?

It all started from the late Ray Bull (Grandad) after he owned a multiple Midgets in the late 80s and early 90s for the likes of Barry Butterworth and Calvin Bonney just to name a few.

What classes will you be racing in NZ this season?

This Season we will be running the Ivent 3NZ GRD Chevy and 79M Sprint Car 

Tell us a little about your recent trip to the US to the where were you based and how long was your stay?

I was fortunate enough to race for Matt Goodnight’s family. The whole team welcomed me in for another year and gave me and my crew chief Scott Benic the equipment we needed to do the job. I was there for majority of the summer based out of the Northern town of Marion about 5 minutes from Gas City .

What classes did you race in the US?

We focused on the 410 Nonwing Sprint car this season and ran a handful of USAC Midget shows 

How would you compare to the speedway racing schedule in the US to NZ’s?

Racing in America is on another level. In Indiana your able to race two plus times a week at the hardest bullrings with stout competition, The biggest difference to NZ is they are able to do it as a career path which is what 80% of Indiana residents do. I believe there’s a way we can move to racing multiple times a weekend.

What about the tracks, do they differ from the one’s here at home?

I raced on tracks from Terra Haute (Flat ½ mile) all the way to Kokomo (Bank ¼ mile) this allows you to have the ability to read and adjust to each track we attend even in NZ. The Tracks here all consist of flat tracks with Baypark being the biggest here that is at a big (¼ mile).

How did you go? What are some of your achievements?

 I was able to achieve several top 5 & top 10 finishes against some of the best dirt drivers in Indiana. In my last few races, I managed to get on the podium twice, and if it weren’t for a mechanical failure at my last race at Gas City we were in contention for the team’s first win of the season.

No doubt you have come back to NZ with a wealth of racing experience, what have you bought home with you that will help you through this season?

I think just being able to understand race craft and how my competitor’s race. Also, a big part of what we do in this sport is understanding the car so we can make the right changes to find speed. 

What was your favourite track in the States, and why?

I can’t just decide on one. Kokomo, Gas City and Lawanceburg had to be my favourite tracks by far. The technicality of running Kokomo using angles to create speed as well as banging the wall down. Gas City was our home track where we got to race weekly on a Friday and was very similar to Startford. Lawrenceburg was just a big beast that you had to respect, the speed and ability to run the fence that fast feels like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.

Most memorable moment racing in the US?

I think it was the team’s first podium together at Kokomo

I’m sure many race car drivers have followed your journey and are eager to do something like that themselves, what would you say is important when preparing for a trip like you have just been on?

All i can say it’s a lifestyle in the States and you have to be committed to working 7 days a week to stay on top of you program but also building relationships with teams, car owners and sponsors will help you immensely in having a long term career. 

We are sure you have a few people to thank for helping you on your recent trip, who were they and what did they do?

This year wouldn’t of been possible without the help of:

  • Ivent solutions
  • Smart water
  • Benic Enterprises
  • Goodnight Racing
  • Simpson Racing Products
  • Zaki Trail Lawyers

Back to this coming season in NZ, what race meeting are you looking forward to most?

I’m looking forward to all the big meetings with the likes off the Baypark 50 lapper, Western Springs 50 lapper, New Zealand title at Stratford and the Bryce Townsend Race 4 Mates.

What do you hope to achieve this season?

I just want to win races anywhere we can this year.

What is happening with your midget car in the off-season any major changes we should look out for once the season starts?

The plan is to run the same King/GRD that we had some success in and debut a new Maxim Sprint Car

Speedway racing can be fast and dangerous, looking out towards the fans, what do you think is one thing the fans will never understand until they are behind the wheel of a race car?

The speed we go and the time we must make decisions to put on a show for the fans  

Who do you admire most in motorsport and why?

Kyle Larson is some who can race anything and win in it. Being able to get advice from him has been a massive help in my career.

We like to give our drivers the opportunity to thank sponsors and alike here, who have you to thank?

I’d like thank everyone who has made my passion a career

  • My family
  • Ivent solutions
  • Smart water
  • J.A Russell LTD
  • Benic Enterprises
  • Goodnight Racing
  • Simpson Racing Products
  • Zaki Trail Lawyers
  • CRC industries
  • Mondiale Freight
  • Hytools NZ
  • Quix Plumbing
  • Yale / SG Equipment
  •  Kirtland Engerineering
  • Marcel Facoory Kiwi Personal Finance
  • Signs 100

If fans would like to follow what you are up to while you are there, where should they head?