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Don’t Tell Tony Cruse He Can’t Do Something; He Will Show You He Can
‘People who tell me I can’t do it make me want to do it,” Tony Cruse spoke of how his critics influence his racing career. Criticism only serves to fuel Cruse and his competitive spirit. “(I) take the junk other people throw away and race it,” he added.
Cruse grew up watching his dad race Street Stocks at Paducah International Raceway. “I always liked racing… I thought I could afford it, so I tried it,” he spoke of what led him to get behind the wheel.
In fact, one of his first memories of racing can be traced back to when his dad was in the driver’s seat. “(I was) four- or five-years old sitting in Dad’s car when he went out for Hot Laps… (back when) the pits were in the infield,” Cruse recalled.
Cruse’s first venture into racing was four-wheelers. He raced those for about four years before hitting the track in the Street Stock division. 2010 marked his second year in the Street Stocks.
Cruse picked up his first Feature win earlier this season at Paducah International Raceway. When asked how he felt when he picked up that coveted first victory, Cruse said, “(It) felt good.” While he makes no bones about a lack of finances, he proves that he has the raw talent it takes to be a successful dirt car racer.
Another major victory in Cruse’s career was winning a big 4-wheeler race at TK Raceway. “(I) built the four-wheeler the same day (of the race), and then won later that day,” he spoke of this milestone in his racing career.
Currently PIR is the only track Cruse races. “(I’m) staying here… it takes money to travel,” he said.
Where would he like to be with his racing career in five years? “(I want to) be competitive… learn not to overdrive,” Cruse said. He also admitted that he would love to run a Late Model, but really does not see it happening due to the financial constraints that many drivers experience.
And where would he like to be in 10-years? “(I) don’t know… (I’ll be) old then,” Cruse laughed.
Cruse resides in his hometown of Paducah, Kentucky, with his wife, Mandy and their daughters- Abby who is 15-years old, and Addy who is two-years old. All three of them can be found at the track supporting their favorite driver. When speaking of his wife Cruse laughed, “She’s real supportive until she gets the receipts. (Seriously) if she didn’t support it, I wouldn’t do it,” he added.
When asked if his daughters have any interest in racing he shared, “My two-year old goes nuts when she sees a race car. The other one can ride anything with wheels but hasn’t said anything about racing.”
For the 2010 season, Cruse had four Heat wins,19 Top-10 Feature finishes, an additional 12 Top-five Feature finishes, plus three Feature wins. He finished the season second-place in Street Stock Championship points standings.
Cruse currently drives the #7 Street Stock sponsored by Dale Bearden Construction, Tommy Shaffer’s Garage, Boehl, Stopher, and Graves- Attorneys at Law, O’Donnely Racing Engines, Party Shop, and Snake Signs & Graphics. He also wanted to thank both his wife and all his sponsors. “(I) couldn’t be racing without the sponsors,” he said.
Criticism might stop some people from following their dreams, but not Tony Cruse. It only fuels his passion for racing. Come to Paducah International Raceway on Friday nights and see him prove his critics wrong as he races for another victory and closer to the Championship.
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