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World-record-holding monster truck driver, sprint-car racer and businessman Joey Sylvester, in his own words. “Welcome to my race shop –...

February 7, 2019

World-record-holding monster truck driver, sprint-car racer and businessman Joey Sylvester, in his own words.

“Welcome to my race shop – 6,000-square-foot Canfield Speed Farm that’s housed everything from the Bad Habit monster truck to now my High Octane Coffee/AMSOIL/FK Rod Ends sprint cars.

“I try to keep one piece of everything that I’ve ever raced or driven, if possible. Here are two different sides of the Bad Habit monster truck. The one on the right is from 2013 when I broke the Guinness World Record for the longest jump in a monster truck for the second time.”

Puts Bigfoot in his sites

“Right when I got into monster trucks, before anybody knew who I was, I said I was going to break Bigfoot’s record. They went 202 feet, I think it was, and that was the standing record for a long time. Nobody even tried it. And here’s me, a 22-year-old kid, and I’m going to do that.

“I was the youngest independent owner-operator in the sport. I took a bank loan. I got a toter-home, a trailer and an old crappy monster truck that every dime that I made doing shows went back into the truck.”

“I went out there young, tattooed, mohawk punk-rock kid and just drove my truck into the ground every single night. I didn’t care if I had to stay up all night long, fix it, cobble it together.”

Sets new world record

“Throughout my entire 20s, that’s what I did 45 weeks out of the year. And my practice jump went terribly wrong. You name it, I destroyed it. The truck was just a balled-up mess. I literally put the truck back together with a stick welder and whatever I had in my trailer. I stayed right there in the field and just worked on it every single day all the way up until the day of my jump.”

“I came back and made a world-record jump of 208 feet. My second one was 237.”

“Something about getting in a truck like that. I sit in it, I get comfortable in my world, you know? A monster truck is pretty much full-throttle, wide open all the time. Racing? I don’t think you could ever be like that all the time, especially racing sprint cars.”

Preparation kicks in when you need it

“Here’s my wing car, fully prepped and ready to go for Sharon Speedway this weekend. It has a 410-cubic-inch, methanol-injected, small-block Mopar. It makes about 900 horsepower, only weighs 1,200 pounds. They get down. Shear insanity.

“And this, even crazier, is my non-wing sprint car. And there is a certain level, especially in sprint car racing, where you can’t think about what’s happening. You have to be so mentally prepared that your body, your muscle memory – everything – it just happens automatically because it is happening so fast.”

“If you think about it, it’s too late. But you have to go out there and be calm and collected and not just say, ‘I’m going to go win, win, win, win, win.’ You have to say, ‘Okay, how am I going to win?'”

Falls back on hard work

“I’m a firm believer that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work. Your ability is only going to get you so far. Part of life is figuring out what that ability is and then capitalizing on it. But you have to work hard at it. You have to continually try to get better at what it is that you’re doing.”

Full-throttle off the track, too

“I’m not very patient; and I work very, very diligently even if it’s something I know is going to take time, like my business. Business and racing, I feel are both very, very similar because nobody’s ever good at either one of them when they first start. And I have to keep telling myself that and know that it’s going to take time and you have to respect the process of that time.”

High-Octane Coffee

“When I told people I was starting a coffee shop, my friends and everything, they looked at me like I had two heads. Like, ‘What are you talking about – what do you mean?’ You know? I’m like, ‘Just wait till you see it, what my version of a coffee shop is.’

“You know, you can get good coffee at a lot of places, but what you can’t get anywhere else is this: is me. The personalities that are behind the counter, the stuff that’s on the walls, the whole entire general vibe, the music, the car shows – you don’t get that at any other coffee shop in the world. And that’s by design.”

“I’m always trying to provide the best customer experience for everybody that comes here. So, from that aspect, it’s just like trying to win a race.”

“Whether or not you’re beating any competition or not, it’s all about progression every day. It’s who I am. It’s what I do. I don’t question it, and it’s what makes me feel alive. And the day I can’t do that anymore, I might as well be dead.”

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