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Meet AFS Badger Midget Series Driver, Dave Collins Jr.

Meet AFS Badger Midget Series Driver, Dave Collins Jr.

He's an Okie transplant that now calls Lake Mills, WI home. One of the most afable drivers on the AFS Badger Midget Auto Racing Association trail, "Danger" Dave Collins Jr. finished 18th in 2023 points. He's proud to note that his team earned the "Best Appearing Car and Crew Award," at the 2023 BMARA banquet.

Your Name: Dave Collins Jr
Car Number: 40 Jr
Owner: Me!
Team Name: Big Hat Racing
Sponsors: Doyle's Dogs of Lake Mills and Kenzie Dunn
Crew: Dad, Mom, my wife Kayla, and when they can be here instead of Oklahoma, my uncle Ryan and grand-dad "Pops" Wallace Collins

BMARA: Were you a fan of racing before you got behind the wheel and if so, who were your heroes and what tracks did you attend?

Collins: Oh absolutely I was! I grew up going to State Fair Speedway in Oklahoma City and loving it. There were some greats back home that I got to enjoy, like Danny Wood and the Jennings clan. I never got to see Pops drive at the Fairgrounds, but did get to see him at a couple other places and got to watch my dad at the Fairgrounds with great memories.

We also used to go racing at Black Widow Speedway too, before his time racing at that Fairgrounds and made great memories there. One of my most exciting nights at a race track as a kid was going to Lawton and getting to be in the pits all night (Oklahoma City had a minimum age of 16 to get a pit pass). Unfortunately, that was also the night the engine let go.

Spent a lot of nights at I-44 Speedway in OKC before getting to make my own debut there in a micro.

My biggest favorite from childhood was definitely Doug Wolfgang. And I could rattle off a bunch of old Oklahoma City semi-regulars to get nostalgic. Those were great times when anyone was liable to show up on a Friday night. Locals like Steve Gastineau, Wayne Johnson or Dutch ter Steege would be there, but Gary Wright or Mike Peters might pull in from out of state with no warning. That same feeling comes around at Angell Park from time to time, probably why that place feels so good too.

BMARA: Give us a synopsis of your racing career:

Collins: I started off in a micro sprint at I-44 Speedway in Oklahoma City, and we eventually added the weekly show at Fort Cobb, OK to the mix. Did that weekly for years before moving away for work. While I was in college, I competed with the Sooner Racing Team, a Formula SAE program where we built and raced in SCCA style events. After relocating to Wisconsin, I got another micro sprint up here to run with the Badger shows before transitioning to run the midgets in 2019 and have been since.

BMARA: How much time do you spend on the car each week during the season?

Collins: We've got things smoothed out enough these days that, assuming everything is going smoothly week to week, it's the full weekend and maybe a night during the week for maintenance and minor repairs.
If things went poorly...well, it'll take more time.

BMARA: What is your day job and how does racing fit in?

Collins: I'm an engineer at Bell Labs in Windsor. Aside from some socializing during the day and regularly talking about racing with folks, it doesn't really factor into my work making rat traps.

BMARA: What's something interesting the fans might not know about you?

Collins: I'm a fourth generation racer in the Collins family. And as of 2023, the second to have won some form of a "best dressed" award.

Article credit: Bill Blumer Jr. with Dave Collins Jr.
Photo credit: Bill Blumer Jr.

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