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“After 10 Years, Herman Says Farewell to Pro Cup at Lakeland”
Oct 30, 2007 - updated Oct 30th, 2007 8:17pm
Web posted by

Kannapolis, NC. --

For Immediate Release:10/28/07

Mike Herman Racing, Inc.

For 10 years, veteran short-track driver Mike Herman, Jr. has called the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series home. This Saturday night at USA International Speedway Herman will make his 90th and last scheduled Pro Cup start of his career.

Flashback to May 23rd, 1998. Concord Motorsport Park would host the fledgling Hooters Pro Cup Series for the first time. In the race was Herman, who at the time was the defending Concord Late Model Stock champion. At the young age of 24, Herman would embark on a new career path that would see its peaks and valleys.

Peaks would include point leads, laps led, and second place finishes at Hickory (2000) & Winchester (2001). Recently at the first 2006 Pro Cup event at Peach State Speedway Herman would lead with 3 laps remaining with victory in sight. However, a late caution and worn tires would allow his elusive victory to slip away once again.

On the opposite end of the spectrum were part failures that led to destroyed cars at Lakeland (2000) and Kenly (2002) that would set the financial tone of the future.

In between the highs and lows were plenty of fun times on the road and many battles on the race track.

Expect those times for Herman to continue in the future, but not at the Pro Cup level.

The year 2007 brought about a new chapter in his career by working with Joe Gibbs Racing while continuing to compete full-time in the Pro Cup Series. Herman was hired by JGR to guide young development driver Marc Davis on his climb through the racing ranks.

The relationship with JGR & Marc Davis will continue to grow in 2008, which forced Herman to make several tough decisions. One of which was a step back from the Pro Cup Series.

When asked about his decision, Herman replied, “It was a tough decision to make, but at some point a man has to look at the big picture. I’ve been fortunate to call the Hooters Pro Cup Series home for 10 years. As a team we are proud of our longevity because we have watched many teams and drivers come and go. We might not have always had the best equipment, but we were always there trying to entertain the fans of the series.”

“I not only watched the Pro Cup grow, but I feel like I played a big part in it as well. The great people in this series made it what it is, whether it was the USAR officials or the teams. USAR has been a great organization to work with, and there is no doubt that the teams in this series are the toughest short-track racers in the world,” Herman said. “But it’s time to move on, especially with my job with JGR & Marc Davis.”

“I enjoy working with the young guys. I joke all the time that I’m like the character Crash Davis in the movie Bull Durham. I’m the experienced catcher who deserved to be in the show but never got the chance, who’s brought in to teach the young fastball pitcher. There’s not a scenario on the race track that I haven’t been through, and it’s my job to pass that experience along. The USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series gave me that experience, and I’ll be forever grateful.”

Fans of “The Hermanator,” as he is affectionally known, shouldn’t worry that they won’t see him behind the wheel anymore. He is adamant that this is not a retirement.

“I’ll still be racing next year, but it’ll be on off nights from my JGR work schedule,” said Herman. “I wish we could continue in Pro Cup, but this is a series in which you have to be 100% focused on to be competitive. It would be extremely tough to race Pro Cup part-time so we’ll regroup and go have some fun when we can.”

Where ever Herman races in 2008 expect his car to be adorned by the Fireside Hearth & Home logo once again. Fireside and Herman have one of the longest running partnerships in all of racing with the upcoming 2008 season being their 14th together.

Herman touched on his relationship with Fireside and others: “I have so many people to thank for my Pro Cup career, but the main ones are my Mom & Dad and the loyal members of Fireside Hearth & Home. My Dad, everyone knows him as Pop Herman, has worked side by side with me since I started racing go-karts in 1983, and he’s still right there working full-time for MHR. Mom has been a tremendous supporter of my career as well. I couldn’t have done this without them. My partnership with Fireside started in 1995, and I wouldn’t be where I’m at today without their support. All three have molded my future, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds!”

“One more person I’d like to thank is Don Sprouse,” said Herman. “2001 was my best year ever in Pro Cup and I owe that to him. Don was the only person to ever give me a chance to drive a car other than my own. Everyone knows Don didn’t have the best equipment, but in a way he took great pride in that. He enjoyed doing more with less. When we’d have a good finish, and I had a lot with Don, he’d ask me if I knew what we just did. Like nearly winning a race with a car he drug out of the field and straightened on his body shop floor. I’ll never forget that year and the chance that Don gave me.”

Even with all the reminiscing, Herman knows he has a job to do this Saturday night at Lakeland.

“It’ll be an emotional day but this team is focused. We’ve loaded our guns to go out in style.” Herman remarked. “We’ve had good cars this year, like at Kenly and Iowa, but bad luck kept us from showing it. We’re 110% prepared to go to Florida to have a chance to win this race. There’s nothing more in this world that I’d rather do than go out on top for this team, Fireside, and all my loyal fans.”

Fireside Hearth & Home is the retail and distribution division of Hearth & Home Technologies, the world’s largest fireplace manufacturer. Fireside Hearth & Home offers more than 50 years of hearth experience, as well as the strongest brands in the industry with Heat & Glo™, Heatilator® and Quadra-Fire®. It is America’s #1 destination for fireplaces, stoves, fireplace inserts and hearth accessories. For more information on Fireside Hearth & Home and retail locations, visit www.fireside.com.


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