Drew Staveley is fulfilling a childhood ambition this weekend by racing at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. This week in the Pirelli Paddock Pass, Staveley reflects on childhood memories of the event, becoming a father last month, his work at the Ford Performance Racing School, and more.
How much has life changed since the birth of your son in March?
“It’s been crazy fun! This is our first child. I have a lot of nieces and nephews and I have been around kids quite a bit so I knew somewhat what to expect, but I didn’t realize just how tired I would be! It’s been good.
“The first few weeks were a little tough but then we got into a bit of a rhythm and a routine and it’s been really good. I went to work about four days after, and my wife has been home and making sure everything is right.
“It’s been a whirlwind. I can’t believe that when we go practice on Friday he’ll be four weeks old. Life has definitely changed forever.”
How excited are you to get back in the car after missing St. Petersburg to be there when your son was born?
“It’s been a little while. I’m really excited to get back in the Mustang. We were able to test it here in Utah a little bit ago at a local club race.
“We got a lot of good laps in that thing and learned a bunch about the car. I finally was able to get comfortable in it.
“We missed St. Pete, which I was home trying to find a way to still go there and not miss the birth of my kid, but I couldn’t pull it off. I think we are more than ready for Long Beach.”
What makes Long Beach special to you?
“I grew up in Southern California, so this is essentially my home race. All of my friends and family are there and they’ll be coming to the race.
“I remember coming to this race and loving ChampCar but really falling in love with Trans-Am.
“Those cars were just after the ChampCar race when I was eight or nine, and watching these beast sports cars going so fast, it was really cool to watch them.
“I remembering thinking it would be so cool to do this race, to race on the streets of Long Beach.
“Now 22 years later, thinking back on that and to actually be able to race there, it’s awesome. I think we have a really good shot.”
Who are some of the drivers you remembering idolizing at Long Beach as a kid?
“The biggest one was Tommy Kendall, but also Boris Said. I was a Said Head before that was even a thing. But I remember watching that race, watching that series on TV, and watching at the time when Tommy Kendall was the man.
“He was qualifying on the pole and almost with ease winning every race. I remember thinking: that’s what I want to do! Looking up to him, it all sprouted at the Long Beach Grand Prix watching him slide those big cars around the track.”
What have you been working on with your job at the Ford Performance Racing School?
“April 1st we started up with all of our programs. We have the Raptor, Mustang GT350, Focus RS and Focus ST, and Fiesta ST.
“I’ve been working on all those a little bit but my big project that I’ve been working on all winter is the Edge ST program.
“They’ve launched the new Edge and we’re doing an owner driving program, and it’s not at the track. It’s actually based up in Park City.
“I was able to focus on that program and we found some super fun mountain roads to drive on and got a parking lot up there where we designed a really cool autocross track. It’s going to be a fun day.
“I’m actually sitting in one right now and I’m pretty excited about this little car.”