Traditional Sprint Car FanSite

See You At The Races!!!

by Gary "Hammerdown" Costa

Wide Open With Chad Layton
We the fans thank you Chad for granting us this interview!
Layton: Gary, it's my pleasure to do this interview, thank you for the opportunity!
I've gotta jump right into this deal Chad. You seem very intense and focused, would you agree? I'm talking in a positive way of course.
Layton: I have been called many things before, intense was never one of them.... I take racing very seriously. People may see that as intense, focused or whatever, but I am there to do one thing. No games, strictly business.
Often you mention your father in post race interviews. Explain how he has been such a big influence on you career...
Layton: My father has been involved for many years in automobile racing. He was involved in auto crossing in the 70's, then moved to road racing and was a former SCCA National Champ at a few of the tracks in the 80's: Summit Point, Watkins Glen, Road Atlanta, Mid-Ohio were some of the tracks we traveled too. My brother also did a few years of the SCCA racing, but found himself in 1997 buying a sprint car and it all began there for me and my dad both, I would say. We attended many sprint car and dirt track races over the years so we were familiar with them. But for some reason being around one in our own garage got us all hooked. We put my deal together in 1998, a 358 limited sprint car, and my dad was all for it!
Some pressure will be off your family next season. You're the hired gun for Bob Stewart's Apple Motorsports #12.
Layton: The financial pressure yes, but the expectancy of the Apple Motorsports #12 and the productivity of myself will keep them on edge I'm sure.
With you mashing the gas and "Lethal" Lee Stauffer turning the screws, I have a hunch that you guys will be fast out of the box for the 2006 season. What's your take?
Layton: We ended the 2005 season on a strong note, we learned a great deal from one another in a very short period of time. I expect it to only get better.
Let's talk 358 racing. A lot of those guys are really talented, but don't have the bucks to jump up to the 410s.
Layton: There is a long list of talented 358 drivers, sometimes they go unnoticed due to the national popularity of the 410's. Unfair as hell, but ultimately money is the deciding factor in what we do, as it is in all racing.
Speaking of talented. You have won 358 Championships in 2001, 2002, and 2003 at Selinsgrove Speedway. Also in 2002 and 2004 you were the 358 Champion at Williams Grove Speedway as well.
Layton: We sure put together some spectacular years. The group of guys we had, our team, it was special! They helped make all of that happen. Everything seemed to fall into place for us, and if it didn't they made it seem as if it did.
In 2002, you racked up an astonishing 18, 358 wins and proceeded to pick up a 410 win for good measure!
Layton: 2002 was one of those years that you just don't have to often. I can remember winning races with flat tires, broken motors, damaged wings the usual stuff that goes wrong, the racing gods just looked after us a little more that year I guess. The 410 win was the icing on the cake though, that was a sweet deal.
In your opinion, what makes you so successful in such a tough division?
Layton: No matter what the night seems to hold early on, you always have to be optimistic. Run the thing as hard as you can and stay focused with one thing in mind - if that one thing seems to be slipping away, look to the next best thing don't give up!
After running the 410, and toss in today's technology, when you run the 358, does it "feel" like the wing is still "unhooking" the car?
Layton: The two cars are different but I wouldn't say that one feels unhooked compared to the other.
Do you remember a few years back when you spun twice, had to start at the back both times, and you still managed to win the deal! My friend..... That's bad-ass!
Layton: That was a crazy night! The track was so slick, and we had a real fast car. After the 2nd spin, I knew we were fast, but thought there was no way we would be able to catch the leaders! Then there was 15 down and 10 to go, we romped our way back to the front running 3rd. With one to go, we took the lead coming off of turn 4 for the checker! It was one of those nights where we just couldn't seem to do any wrong. I made some costly mistakes, but the car was able to make up for them 10 times over. It was an indescribable night of dominance, how hooked up she was!
If you could choose a joint, which one is the funnest to run at with the 358 bolted in and why?
Layton: 358 or 410 I like racing at all of the tracks here in our area. I have had a great deal of success on the bigger tracks and probably prefer them, but I equally enjoy the smaller ones too. Anytime you can strap into a sprint car it's fun no matter what track your at!
July 8, 2005 Williams Grove Speedway. You are the first driver ever to win a 410 and 358 feature the same night. It was also your first career Grove win!
Layton: That was a big night for me. We were racing the 410's at the Grove for a while and it seemed as if we were never going to get our first win there, what a night for it to come on.
You then picked up another 358 win the following night, July 9th, at Lincoln Speedway after starting 12th! This was one exciting race, take us through the last lap.
Layton: Coming down for the white flag I didn't really think I had too good of a chance. But I managed to get a strong run through 1, and seemed to close a bit on the leaders going down the backstretch! Once we reached turn 3, the 2nd place runner dove to the bottom and I hauled her in on the top, and we both actually passed the leader!!! We met coming off of 4 wheel to wheel for the checker, it was a close one.
Let's kick up the horsepower! We've touched on some of your 358 accomplishments. But we can't overlook what you've accomplished in the 410's. For running them for such a relatively short time, you have done pretty well. For instance, you won the Selinsgrove track championship in 2003.
Layton: The 2003 Selinsgrove point series was decided on a 6 race deal, and we were fortunate enough to have come out on top. It was a big unexpected surprise to all of us. Rahmer, Hodnett, and all the big boys were there so we definitely earned it. Looking back on it now it's hard to believe, because at that point, we still didn't compete in a full season of 410 racing, and we were way under-experienced. Running there on a weekly basis with the 358 paid off.
What are you looking forward to in regards to the 2006 season?
Layton: We are fixing to have a strong year! The shop preparations are all being handled by Lee, and seem to be going rather well and as planned. I am looking forward to racing the 3 night a week schedule that we are planning. We ran 2 last year, and cut back to 1 due to finances, so that was a bummer.
What kind of mindset does a professional sprint car driver like yourself have to maintain?
Layton: Just to try and stay focused on the goals and tasks at hand. Staying focused is the key.
And as a professional sprint car driver, when you see that guy in the top-spot and you're in 2nd, what are some of the things you're thinking about, especially if you're running him down!
Layton: It is an overwhelming feeling, and is hard to describe. You just want to catch him, get your car in front of him. Make it so they cant pass you back, there is so much, it really depends on the situation.
You have earned a reputation as a driver that takes no shit when out on the race track. What's your opinion on that?
Layton: Well, I race people with the same respect I would like to be raced with. It don't take long to figure out who you can and can't race with.
No doubt you have heard the term "Laytonized", what do you think that means?
Layton: Not really sure what the "Laytonized" thing ever really meant, but I would imagine it has something to do with the no bullshit on track attitude we adopted.
In ending, you're a helluva shoe right now. And I can't wait to see you get after it next year. Thank you again for your time, and of course I wish you and your family the best.
Layton: Gary, again thank you for the opportunity!
Be sure to follow Chad and the Apple Motorsports team at

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