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Front Tire Changer Clay Robinson Talks About His Other Business - Victory Lane Indoor Charlotte, NC
Facility NewsClay Robinson is the front tire changer on the #88 of Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Hendrick Motorsports. Over the last few years he has not only been proving to be one of the best tire changers on pit road, but also a pretty crafty business man as well. Clay is part owner of Victory Lane Karting in Charlotte, NC. Along with some other family members, Clay has helped grow VLK into a house hold name when it comes to indoor karting. We were able to catch up with Clay and talk racing and karting. Hope you enjoy.

How did you get your start in racing?
I grew up watching my dad race at a local short track in California called Saugus Speedway. So Iíve been around racing all my life.

What made you want to become a pit crew member?
I guess you could say I just fell into it. I was a tire changer on a southwest tour team before I made the move to the east coast. I was hired on at SBIII as a fabricator. They needed a pit crew and anybody in the shop could try out. So I did and I got the job.

What is the most exciting part about pitting?
Winning! When you have great stops all race long and donít win, youíre like ďok I did my job and I did it wellĒ. But at the end of the race when you win itís ďHell Yeah! What I was able to do today helped get us here to victory lane.Ē

Just recently you came out of the shop and went into another business, why donít you tell u about your new venture?
Six years ago the opportunity to purchase Victory Lane Indoor Karting (VLK) was presented to me by my brother-in-law Fred Ogrim. I had been going there as a customer from the first day it opened in 2000, so I thought it sounded great. I could race whenever I wanted to! Then I thought it might be a good retirement option when I am done changing tires as wellÖ My Father-in-law Ed Bradford, Fred and myself partnered together to purchase VLK.

What do you like most about the Karting business?
Itís still about racing. Thatís all Iíve ever been a part of my whole life. We get to meet people who love to race from all over the world, we get to mentor kids who want to be the next NASCAR star, and we host special events that help raise money for great charities. When a customer that has never experienced any type of racing gets off the track with a smile from ear to ear, you know that the racing bug has bitten them. The people who come to Victory Lane Indoor Karting leave happy and I am a part of that. Itís very cool.

You have special leagues for pit crew guys as well donít you, can you tell us about that?
We have done them for the entire NASCAR community and had a blast, but it can be very challenging to get guys who are sometimes gone from home for 4 days a week to be able to commit to a weekly league. I continue to host the Hendrick League, which includes all departments of HMS and would like to expand that to any and all teams who are looking to start a league of their own. With the race shops being so big, itís a great way to get to know who your coworkers are.

How has your involvement on Nascars pit road helped in your business with VLK?
Articles like this help but honestly, most people donít even know I am a part of VLK!

What does the future hold for you as a tire changer and also as a partner in VLK?
As long as I work hard, stay injury free and perform at a competitive level I will continue on pit road for many years to come. I look forward to being a more hands on partner at VLK, to watch our business thrive and see what comes of our hard work and passion for karting.

So for anyone who wants a summary of what VKL offers, could you give us a little sales pitch?
Iíll do my best. Victory Lane Indoor Karting is an indoor conference center, race facility, and entertainment venue located in the heart of Charlotte, NC. Our 1/3 mile road course is the fastest in the Carolinas and one of the fastest in the nation. Victory Lane Karting can host any type of event you are looking for, from a small group of 8 to a large group of 1000. If itís a teambuilding exercise for your company, a childrenís birthday party, a product launch or just some friends looking for something exciting and different to do, VLK is YOUR PLACE TO RACE as well as a top-notch facility for any kind of event. Please check our website www.victorylanekarting.com or call us at 704-377-FAST (3278) with any questions.

Thanks for taking time out to talk with us and introduce us to life as a business owner and tire changer. Good luck with this year with changing and VLK!

For more info on Victory Lane visit www.victorylanekarting.com
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