|EKN.ca One-on-One: Gary Klutt
| Gary Klutt|
(Photo by: Gary Grant - thegarageblog.com)
Usually a transition from karts to cars takes place over a handful of seasons before a young karter has matured enough to race at the highest level. However this young kart racer has gone from winning the Canadian National Karting Championships in 2009 to racing in Canadaís premiere Stock Car racing series, the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series (NCATS) in 2010. Gary Klutt recently competed in the Vortex Brake Pads 200 held at Mosport International Raceway. The event, the second race of the year, and first of five road course races, featured 26 of Canadaís hottest stock car racers, and was eventually won by JR Fitzpatrick (who also races for JR Motorsports, owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr., in the NASCAR Nationwide Series).
Joining him in the racing action on the weekend was his father, Peter, who has raced in the series before, focusing on the road course events. The duo qualified in eleventh and sixteenth places, with Peter taking the upper hand. The 200km race featured plenty of action, and Gary found himself as high as fifth place at one point. However when all was said and done, the Kluttís finished the race together with Gary in eleventh and Peter in twelfth.
Following the race, we had a chance to catch up with Gary and his father, to discuss the race, some go-karting as well as some vintage racing car restorations.
EKARTINGNEWS.CA (EKN.CA): First off, thank you for sitting down us, it a great pleasure to interview karters who have moved up the motorsports ladder.
Gary Klutt (GK): Thank you, welcome to Legendary Motorcar.
EKN.CA Ė Peter: Peter, can you start us off with the familyís racing history?
Peter Klutt (PK): Well, Gary started racing when he was 7 at the WRKC. For me, I started racing when I around 30. Iíve always been around the sport, mainly vintage racing. I did a little endurance racing in the late 90ís and I raced in four Trans-Am races in the early 2000ís, we took about 3 or 4 years off, before getting back into it a couple years ago.
EKN.CA: So where did the idea to jump into a NASCAR Canadian Tire Series (NCATS) car come from?
GK: My Dad has raced them in the past, two years ago he raced the three NASCAR Canada Road Course races; Mosport, Trois Rivieres, and Montreal. Last summer, he put me in the car to do some lapping days just for fun. Then I got the opportunity to race with some luck of my own, as the current driver, couldnít make the race due to prior commitment.
EKN.CA: Before your race at Mosport, how much time had you spent behind the wheel of a 3500lb racecar?
GK: Iíve been in the NASCAR twice before my first race and one of those was a half-day test a week before the race.
EKN.CA: Do you plan on racing on any ovals this year in the NCATS?
| Shown here following his father at Mosport, Gary would eventually get past him en route to an eleventh place finish|
(Photo by: Gary Grant - thegarageblog.com)
GK: I raced a dirt modified two years ago, and would love to race in it again, but currently we have no plans or financial support to race any ovals this year, dirt or asphalt. My dad plans to race all the road courses this year though. We just do not have the funding for both cars to compete, so if anyone out there is looking to sponsor a young racer, call me (smiling).
EKN.CA: Peter: How did you feel racing against your son in Canadaís premiere stock car racing series?
PK: I thought it was great! Some day I hope I will race against (or with) both of them (Gary and Ryan).
EKN.CA: Peter: Was there any family betting going on before the race?
PK: No, there were some parameters setÖ.donít wreck family (laughing). But no, no rules, just donít hit each other.
EKN.ca: Peter: You do a lot of vintage car restorations, have you worked on any vintage racecars?
PK: Yes, lots of vintage Cobraís, Corvettes, Ferrariís. I think I like working on the Corvettes best. I also think the Cobraís would be really fun to race one day too.
EKN.CA: Gary: Do you feel that youíre many years of racing go-karts helped in the transition to stockcars?
GK: Definitely, its one thing to go fast in a car, but itís another thing to pass guys in a racecar. The go-karting has really helped in the race craft and the ability to set up successful passes.
| Gary won the 2009 Canadian National Karting Championships in the Canada Sr class with a wild last lap battle to the finish|
(Photo by: Cody Schindel - Autosports Media Group)
EKN.CA: Any comparisons between the NCATS car and the go-kart you won the Canadian Nationals with last year?
GK: There isnít much to be honest. The NASCAR is so much heavier that everything you do is earlier: releasing the throttle, braking, turning etc. But itís very similar to four-stroke racing, where momentum is so important; you have to keep the car rolling due to its weight.
EKN.CA: Gary: How did it feel to pass your father?
GK: It was just like passing anyone else, it might have actually been a little easier; he didnít put up much of a fight.
EKN.CA: Did your dad give you any advice before the race?
GK: Just to be there at the end, itís not a go-kart race, itís over an hour long. The race will come back to you in the end.
EKN.CA: Do you plan on defending your Canadian National Karting Championship this year at the new Mont-Tremblant facility?
GK: Yes, it looks like we will be heading up there, the nationals are always fun, and I hear the new track is unreal.
EKN.CA: Your younger brother Ryan also won a Canadian National Championship last year, does he have any aspirations to race a stock car?
Ryan Klutt (RK): Yes.
EKN.CA: How did you get started in karting?
GK: We went and watched the Barrie Grand Prix one year, and my dad asked me if I wanted to race. We checked out a club race the following year, and then bought our first kart, and the rest is history.
EKN.CA: What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment in karting?
GK: My biggest accomplishment is definitely winning the Sunoco Ron Fellows Karting Championship in 2007 in the Canada Junior class. It was a great series; it was a yearlong effort where I didnít finish worse than second. It was a great season.
| In 2007, Gary never finished outside of second place in the Sunoco Ron Fellows Karting Championship in the Canada Jr class en route to the Championship|
(Photo by: Cody Schindel)
EKN.CA: How did you feel racing against guys you grew up watching in go-karts and in CASCAR.
GK: I felt pretty comfortable racing against them to be honest. I guess Iíve never really been intimidated by any big name racers.
EKN.CA: Was there anyone on the grid before the race that you felt was really cool to be racing against?
GK: Robin Buck. Heís been around the sport for a long time, and has been a great help with our program. Itís an honour to race against him.
EKN.CA: Do you have any racing goals?
GK: Just to keep racing and having fun with it. Ultimately, I would like to win a NCATS race.
EKN.CA: Guys, thank you for sitting down with us guys, any closing words?
GK: Thanks. Iím really hoping to find some funding to get back in the car this year, and hopefully confirm for more races next year too.
PK: Thank you, this was great.
The Vortex Brake Pads 200 will air on TSN Sunday June 20 at noon ET.
Anyone who is interested in sponsoring or supporting Gary or Peter Klutt are asked to contact them at email@example.com