Steve Hoelscher – A Successful Driver with a “Go For It” Attitude
I met Steve Hoelscher for the first time at the Dixie Nationals 5 years ago. He was friendly and helpful in recommending a few lines for turns. And then I saw this giant climb into a 1982 MR2 and lay down some incredible times. Watching him run since then, there is no doubt : competition brings out the best in him and he has no problem “going for it”. It’s great to see people succeeding in motorsports and life and Steve’s contribution to SCCA and the Solo program has been significant. Here’s a little more about his life, passions and Terrie, the lady who keeps him in line and on “track”.
Birthplace : Chapel Hill, NC. While I was born there, I consider Huntsville, Alabama as my home town. I lived there from just a few months after my birth until I moved to St. Augustine, Florida in 2005.
Home : (current) Harpers Ferry, WV Moved here in January of 2010.
Family/Pets: Wife: Terrie (Christian Recording/Performing Artist Terrie Howard) Married April 10th, 2010. I proposed to Terrie on the stage at the 2009 Solo Nationals Awards Banquet.
Pets: A pair of cats named Honey & Layla.
Profession : Director, Sales & Marketing, Trivinci Systems (Trivinci makes the Race-Keeper video-data logger, among other things)
Cars presently owned : 2002 Mazda Millenia, 2009 Hyundai Elantra, 1996 Ford Clubwagon, 1974 Fiat X1/9 and 1986 Toyota MR2 (DP autocrosser)
Favorite past cars owned : 1980 Fiat X1/9 (DSP Autocrosser), 1972 Fiat 124 Sport Coupe
Championships/Titles/Offices held : 2006 and 2010 DP Solo National Champion; 1998, 1999, 2000 & 2002 DSP Solo National Champion. 1989 National Solo Rookie of the Year. Multiple SE-Div Solo Championships. 1 Term Solo Events Board, 6 years on the Solo Nationals Protest Committee, 2 terms as Regional Executive of the Tennessee Valley Region.
Your favorite childhood memory involving cars: Attending races with my dad. When I was about 9, we attended the 12 hours of Sebring and the Can Am series at Road Atlanta in the same season. Mario Andretti was driving for Ferrari at Sebring and Jackie Stewart was driving the L&M Lola in Can Am at Road Atlanta.
What you enjoy most about motorsports: I am very competitive and enjoy testing my abilities as a driver, car builder and engineer. It is very rewarding to know one can build a car capable of winning and then drive that car to its full potential. However, over the years I have come to realize that motorsports is a way for me to escape from the “real” world and immerse myself in my passion. When i am in the car, the day to day demands of life are shut out. I am alone. It is a rare escape. Most importantly, some of the best days of my life, and some of the worst, have been spent at the race track. But with one comes the other and each is made possible by its opposite. Without the depths of frustration and despair there could be no peak of elation. Motorsport can promote the entire range of emotion like few things in life.
Advice to up and coming drivers : Decide what you want out of the sport, then choose the venue through which you can achieve your goals with the level of commitment you are willing to make. Remember that you are only limited by your own ambition and commitment.
Favorite professional driver past or present : Past: Giles Villeneuve, he drove with true inspiration. Present: Andy Pilgrim, a true professional, both on and off the track.
Favorite road to drive : I have several actually, Top 3: Pacific Coast Highway. The Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd. (which connects to the PCH) and Hwy 50 from Pueblo to Montrose Colorado.
Your future racing plans: Hill Climbs. Looks like a lot of fun and something I have always wanted to do.
Anything you’d like to share about yourself, motorsports or experiences: Like most of us, in my youth I was a big racing junky and dreamed of being a racing driver. Later, when starting college and looking ahead to what my career would be, the reality of life dissolved those dreams. Then I attended my first autocross and thus set in motion a chain of events that would lead me to where I am now. For 16 years I lived and worked in corporate America. I wore a suite and spent my time in offices and meetings. I would never have dreamed that years later I would more likely to be found working in the paddock at a race then a conference room in an office building.
Favorite story from your driving career : In 1989 I attended my first Solo Nationals at Salina, Kansas. My goal was to finish in the top 10 (there were 40+ cars entered in DSP) and not embarrass myself. I bought a brand new set of Yokohama’s brand new (A008Rtu) tires, which I had never tested on, for the event. The first day, (first heat Tuesday morning) in heavy rain, I was 10th and completely frustrated as the car would simply not turn. I knew something was wrong as I am usually pretty good in the rain. I knew that if I was 10th with the car this bad, if I could figure out the problem, I could have been much further up the order. In impound, I figured out that I was the only car on the new A00Rtu. The “fast guys” were on the old A008R. “Those are junk” was what several experienced drivers told me. I put my old tires back on for day two but due to timing problems on the south course, Tuesday’s final heat (my work assignment) was delayed until dawn Wednesday morning. As a result, I never saw the South Course in daylight until I drove it. Still in heavy rain, I spun on each of my first two runs right before the finish in a big puddle. Before my third run I walked over to see the puddle. As I prepared for my 3rd and final run I evaluated my situation; I was DFL. All of the hope from my first day was gone. I had made the wrong choice on tires and paid for it. Now, due to the two spins, I was DFL and trying to salvage anything I could from this disaster. As I strapped in for my final run, I decided that I would lay down a smooth clean run just to be sure I posted a time. While it probably wouldn’t move me into the top 10, it would pull me up from DFL and that was better than nothing. As I rolled into staging, I looked at the starter and thought to myself: “I didn’t come all this way to just lay down a smooth clean run”. So when the light went green, I hammered it. I finished the run and rolled back into grid happy that I finally made a good run. Then it started. Someone told me the time and I did a double take. Then another driver told me “yeah, that was South Course FTD”. What did you say? I asked. I ran to the score board to verify my time. Yes, it was indeed the course FTD for the class and I now stood 3rd overall. I was stunned. From last to 1st for the day in one run and 3rd for the event.
Thanks Steve for all your effort working with SCCA, the Solo Program and TVR. Make more room in the trophy case, keep going for it, take good care of Terrie and we look forward to seeing you at solo events … and maybe on a hillclimb! And Thanks for being a Southern Driver!