‘KID CHAOS’ COOL, CALM, COMFORTABLE
Second-year, second-generation Pro Stock racer Kyle Koretsky has (the second-hand-ish) nickname “Kid Chaos.” It’s a play-on-words taken from dad Kenny Koretsky’s reputation as “Captain Chaos.” But Kyle Koretsky rather likes it.
“Yeah, I like it. Gives a little twist to it,” Koretsky, the newest KB Racing team who’ll turn 32 next month, said.
It’s fitting. He caused a little chaos in his previous appearance here, advancing to Pro Stock’s final round against Erica Enders at the 2020 Finals. (He missed his chance to earn a Wally trophy in his rookie season by leaving the starting line .051 of a second too early.)
“We had a great outing last Vegas. Great car, as usual. KB Racing cars are phenomenal, but I think I was anxious, went red. But it's all right. Great people, good team, and if you want to be the best you got to beat the best.” He said of Enders, “Seems like she really does good in Vegas.”
(Enders usually does. But this weekend she had a hard time during qualifying and finally made the field in her last chance Saturday. Her 6.693-second pass put her in the No. 13 starting position.)
“I think our goal this weekend is to go out there and do what we do,” Koretsky said. “I’m confident. The car is great, so it’s all down to me. As long as the driver doesn’t make any errors, I think we'll be fine. I mean, I try to stay pretty humble. I love this sport. I love Pro Stock, and it's really just like a dream. Yeah, I feel good. I feel confident. I don't know how to word it. But with these guys behind me, I feel like every time I come to the track I have a shot to win. So that gives me a lot of confidence.
“Just the opportunity I have here is great. It really is probably the best opportunity anyone can ask for,” he said, “and we're going to try to rise to the occasion with that.”
Koretsky said if he ever has jitters, “I try to hold them back and put them aside. I don’t have many fears, though. I don't know why. I just kind of go with the flow. I skydive. I just got my private pilot’s license. Roller coasters, I'm not too fond of roller coasters. I’ll do them – I’m not scared of them, but they don't do anything for me, though. We're going to try to do that zipline. I don't have many fears. So it's good, but the nerves definitely get to me. I mean, I'm not gonna lie, but I really wasn't nervous that final round. I was more just excited for myself that ‘Hey, now I'm doing it. I'm living my dream.’ I'm trying to make everybody proud, and it comes to me and I just have to minimize the little mistakes.
“The field is so tight. I always say, ‘Man, I came into this at like the worst time in Pro Stock.’ It's so tight. Everything is so competitive. Some teams have their edge, but now everything's so tight. And now it really comes down to the driver. It always did before. I think 1,500 RPMs can make or break a win light,” Koretsky said. “[This class] definitely needs some more love but I think it's hard. It's very challenging. I'm learning new things every time I get on track.”
He said he already is comfortable on the marketing side.
“I'm a little bit younger-generation, so I like the whole flashy cars. Lucas Oil came on board this year, which was great. We have a bunch of other sponsors. Nitrofish obviously is a family-owned business. KPK Development, Summit Racing's back on board, Goodyear, Short Line Express, Rob's Automotive & Collision. So we have some very good marketing partners that keep us out here, and without them we couldn't be here. This sport and this class is definitely driven on funding, and right now with the economy the way it is, it's tough. For these companies that continue to back myself and the team is great. It shows them to be really ‘ride or die.’ They're in it for the long haul,” he said.
“It's a great thing. Every little bit helps,” he said, noting that some teams have productive hustlers on the funding front. “They work their tails off, and that's hard to do. It's a hard thing to ask the company for funding like that. Especially with the economy the way it is and you really got to be good at it and know that you could give them the return that they're helping you out and provide that, so that's what it's all about. But Justin [Ashley] definitely does a great job.
“It's a full-time job. A lot of these teams have full-time PR people or they do it themselves. It's a full-time job. There's no if ands or buts – you have a lot of people that not only need to please but you need to do the job you told them you're going to do. And that's important to keep them coming and keep the marketing partnership alive,” Koretsky said.
He acknowledged that different companies seek different types of return on their investments. Some are focused on piling up trophies. Some simply want exposure for their brands. Some use the B2B platform. Some might have other reasons to enter marketing partnerships with teams.
“Some companies are in different positions. We feel that our marketing partners want us to win. They want to see us do good, and unfortunately with NHRA stuff and Pro Stock, if you're not winning, you're not getting the TV time that you need. So it's kind of tough,” he said. “You need to do good. They want to see you do good. The media stuff that really push it out there, that's what they look for. They want to see the coverage. They want to see the advertising side of it, and some companies want to see more of the B&B side of it where you're bringing them business with other marketing partners. So that all might just go together, and that's kind of the biggest thing is to keep the flow going. So if everyone kind of can withstand each other and work together, then it’s a big circle team and I think the marketing partnership works great. You put one and one together and it turns into something, and every little bit counts. There's sponsors too big or too small. Everything counts, anything helps.”