Feature Article, Stock Cars, Washington — July 10, 2013 at 4:47 am

Max Schroeder (Issue 104)

by

Max Schroeder (issue 104)

 

By Steve Heeb

Max Schroeder racked up five seasons of racing quarter midgets before jumping to a full-size car with the Northwest Pro-4 Alliance this year.

“I raced through each of the classes and did pretty well,” he says of competition in the Little Wheels group based in Graham, Wash.

After winning rookie of the year honors in 2007, Max progressed from Novice to Honda, Honda 160 and World Formula before competing in the quickest division, Half.

Even as the equipment changed, Max continued to do well.

“He’s a better driver than the cars were,” Dale Schroeder says of his son’s racing ability right from the start.

Dale recalls coming out to Evergreen Speedway in the 1970s and ’80s to watch the races where his older brother Mike helped crew for a team competing in the Winston West and the Northwest Tour.

But the family’s previous stock car experience did not have an impact on Max’s open wheel racing.

“We were all new to quarter midgets, not just him,” Dale explains. “We had no expectations. We just went out and did it.”

Max also credits help from Steve Cooper and Chuck and Darryl Pittman.

“They helped us a lot setting up the cars,” Max says. “We always took their advice because they’d been racing a lot longer than us.”

Max was able to put that guidance to good use and notched a fifth-place finish in Honda during the 2008 QMA Western Grand Nationals, and ninth in World Formula two years later.

But the 2012 season closed the book on Max’s career in quarter midgets.

“I got too big for the quarter midget cars,” he laughs.

Now at 15, Max’s attention turned to the Northwest Pro-4 Alliance group.

“I came to Evergreen Speedway to watch CJ Hawley race,” Max says of his friend from quarter midgets that already had taken up full-size cars. “It seemed like a fun thing to do and I did want to keep racing.”

Other friends who made the leap from quarter midgets to the Northwest Pro-4 Alliance group include Kayla Pittman and Alex Peck.

“We wanted to continue together,” Max says.

Last year Max turned some laps in a practice car at South Sound Speedway before buying his current racer from Jim Bailey in Idaho.

“I definitely like this one better,” Max says of the No. 29 Chevy Impala.

His current car sports an Outlaw body and a 2330-cc four-cylinder motor that produces about 205 horsepower.

On the hood of the car is a large emblem for the Lakewood Officers Charity, a fundraising effort established by Lakewood police officers to help those within the communities they serve and later expanded to include help for fallen and injured officers around the state.

Our friend Mike Jankelson is involved with the charity,” Max says. “Mike was close to the slain officers. We wanted that to be our charity and Larson Sign donated the stickers for the car. We’ve had them on ever since.”

Max draws his racing inspiration from Nascar legend Dale Earnhardt.

“He was a great race car driver,” Max says. I’d like to be as good as him someday. He came from a small town and did well.”

With sponsorship from Larson Sign, Max is running at select Northwest Pro-4 Alliance events and several F.S.C.R.A Super 4s series races at South Sound Speedway.

“I prefer Monroe,” he says of the group’s events at the larger Evergreen Speedway. “There’s so much speed on the 5/8 and South Sound is smaller.”

He also has raced at Wenatchee and hopes get to Yakima as well.

Mother Michele Anne has watched her son progress through the quarter midgets and into the full cars.

“The quarter midgets were more nerve-wracking to watch,” she explains. “The tracks were smaller and there were more cars. His reflexes had to be quicker.”

Dale says his son is good student of racing.

“Max is learning this stuff,” Dale says. “And he’s respectful.”

He says Max has done well learning the technical side of racing.

“He’s starting to feel how the car is on the track and be able to communicate that with us,” Dale says.

Off the track, Max is an honors student at Stadium High School in Tacoma.

“He tried all the school athletics but keeps coming back to racing,” Dale says.

“It’s a joy to watch Max out on the track,” Michele Anne says. “As long as he enjoys it – that is what it is all about.”

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