Gary "Hammerdown" Costa and Patty Haudenschild
"Sometimes I think racing is a lot like boxing, you get
taken out and on the count of ten you get back up and take the
punches, but you just keep on racing" Quote by Patty
Tell us a little about yourself......
Patty: I love
racing and I'm excited to be involved with it and have something
I love so much be a part of my life.
How long have you been involved in racing?
was born into it. I think my first race was when my mom took me
to Ascot at the age of two, probably because she was not able to
get a sitter. My mother Sally Sweeney Hogle is the reason we
ever started racing on my dads side of the family. My
Grandfather Tommy Driscoll was a sprint car racer and gave my
dad his first race car. My dad, Max Sweeney raced sprint cars
all of my life and then passed it on to my brother Mike Sweeney.
I still have 2 cousins racing the USAC/CRA at the PAS Steve
Ostling and Verne Sweeney. My father was hurt at Ascot and
passed away. Ten years later my mom married Bob Hogle who raced
mainly for the Morales Brothers at Ascot and was a 3-time CRA
champion. Bob Hogle who now my stepfather was inducted to the
Knoxville Hall of Fame 3 years ago. Well after all that racing
here I am still racing and passing it on to yet another
generation Sheldon Haudenschild, my son who is 11 years old and
tied for first in the points in the AMA winter indoor series on
two wheels for now.
I remember Brad Doty strapping in at Eldora for the first
time since the wreck, what were some of the emotions going
Patty: Well that was pretty emotional and I
remember watching Brad, but as a wife I was also watching Lori
and the kids and wondering what they were feeling. I was very
happy for all of them.
I've seen you get excited over the years watching Jac, was
the win at Oskaloosa the most exciting race you've seen?
I hope the excitement wasn't to embarrassing LOL! Yes, Osky was
pretty awesome excitement by far the most exciting while others
such as the Kings Royal and the HBO are more emotional
excitement if that makes any sense. I think the Mopar Million
was about as exciting also, but I was very nervous about Jac in
a non-wing car at the fastest track I have ever seen. The Mopar
Million was the same feeling I felt when I saw Brad Doty back in
a race car "emotional". I felt the presence of my
father Max Sweeney helping Jac stay smart out there and stay
smooth with my brother Mike by my side and all my old friends
and my dads from Ascot there which I got to go visit. It was all
"DESTINY". I said, this one's for you dad!!!!
What do you do to decrease burnout on the road?
I try to exercise and stay in shape which gets harder every year
the older I get.
When at the races, what racers wives/girlfriends do you spend
Patty: Well, most of us see each other when we
get to the next race at the board for time trials. That is where
we say hi to one another or go visit with them at their
trailers, but that is about it. If I have my kids with me I hang
out at the motor home with other wives who also have kids so
they can all play together and watch the races from the
What are some of your hobbies and interests aside from
Patty: I love to play racquetball and water ski.
What kind of music do you and Jac listen to while traveling?
Patty: We usually listen to country or old rock'n'roll music.
What's your favorite track & why?
Patty: Ascot was
my most favorite, but now I like a lot of different ones. I like
small ones like Chico or Pevely because of the incredible
reflexes a driver has to have and the excitement of such a
powerful race car getting around those places so quickly. I do,
however have respect for the high speed tracks like Eldora and
Knoxville. I appreciate the talent of all sprint car racers.
Who's your all time favorite driver, Jac not included!
I would have to say my father Max! He was so smooth at Ascot and
so was my brother Mike.
Funniest thing you've seen in racing?
have been so many of those, but they called my dad the
"Ascot clown" really they did! My dad pulled off a lot
of crazy things at Ascot. Okay here's one, but it happened when
we went to Phoenix to race Manzanita. Dad was racing for Carl
Alleman in the #62 car and he also was the manager for his
foundry. Carl and my dad were always pulling jokes on each other
so we were in our hotel room, now us kids were young and were
asleep they thought, but my dad decides to flash Carl late at
night while no ones around so he tells my mom he's going to
knock on the door and flash Carl & Donna his wife. Well he
does and runs back to get back in, but my mom locks the door. So
there's dad running around this hotel in his birthday suit to
the back door trying to get in. My mom finally let him. That
story was funny to here my mom and dad tell, until the next
crazy thing my dad would do and the stories continued throughout
my childhood. Oh well, maybe this story wasn't the most
appropriate but I wanted you to appreciate my fathers humor! He
was a great man!
What does it take to be a racers wife? Any advice?
My mom was a class act of any racers wife growing up. I guess
the best thing she did was stand behind her man, so that would
be my advice. Just be there for him as much as possible.
What's your favorite race to attend and why?
Knoxville Nationals, because I get to do what I do best in
racing, "T-Shirts"! I wish more tracks would let a
racers wife be with her kids in the grandstands and at the same
time give the fans access to their favorite drivers t-shirts. I
noticed also it helps take stress for Jac & I cause he
always feels better if I am with the kids. The stress level is
better for me, its much more fun to be up top instead of by the
race car. The fans make it fun for me!
How do feel and handle the negativity you see written about
Jac on message boards, etc.,?
Patty: Not very well! I
don't like it, but have found out that you really can't do to
much about it.
Anything you would like to say to the posters out there?
Hope you all enjoy your racing. Please visit us at www.haudenschildracing.com
for any new information regarding Jac for the
Any personal goals you might be working towards?
No, just trying to think of just one more shirt design for this
year. I change goals in this business a lot.
Is their anything about you,people may not know, but would
like them to know? Patty: I tend to be a very focused and
intense person at the races, it's just nerves. In fact I heard
once I should be driving that race car not Jac "LOL"
and no thanks! I really feel I am easy to get along with.
Someone once told me that I was probably the most misunderstood
out there and I agree, but do not understand why. To know me is
to love me "LOL"! I think you shouldn't always believe
what you hear. If you really want to know me just ask, depending
on what I'm doing out there I'll stop what I'm doing and listen!
I tend to be bold and that's okay sometimes my honesty will
sometimes get the best of me. Jack Elden was the longest car
owner of Jac's career that I have been involved with and have
the utmost respect for. Jack has always said and still does,
that I am a great business person. I'm thankful for his respect
and at the same time his constructive criticism sometimes. I
feel I am a lot like my dad very funny at times, good at what I
do, a little crazy and a little forward at times.
Gary, I want to thank you for the opportunity to let all of
Jac's fans get to know me a little better. I hope they feel they
know me more by reading about my life and background in racing.
It's been fun and it's been tough! Oh yes, I have one more thing
to share! I have a sister, Susie Sweeney Kemp who lives in El
Segundo, California who also was a racer and could beat the best
of some drivers in her Quarter Midget days at Firestone raceway
in California. I could name a few, but don't want to embarrass
them. I tried it once in a quarter midget, but was a better
spectator (my dad made me do it and I didn't want to) I tried
and I couldn't do it, I tried and cried and then crashed!
God bless all of you!
No Patty, thank you for being such a good sport, and letting
us fans get to know you a little better !