Rider Spotlight: Dan Ingram
NEWS July 26, 2012
Photo by Dave Hoenig
AMAP: Where are you from?
DI: I’m from Clermont, Indiana, which is on the west side of Indianapolis. I was born, raised and still live there.
AMAP: How did you get into riding motorcycles?
DI: My father used to race motorcycles back in the ‘60s and 70s when my brother and I were young. I first got on a two-wheeler when I was three years old. I rode it by myself without training wheels, and of course I promptly crashed it. I stayed riding my entire childhood, but didn’t get on a racetrack until I was 13. My father was racing as I was a child until the day I started racing. The day I started was the day he quite. It was my dad’s last race and my first race. I rode amateur two years, and when I was 16 I moved up to professional. I rode that class for a year, moved up to junior class, rode the restricted 750 for a year and then moved up to rookie expert. I had a pretty good rookie season. Doug Chandler ended up beating me out of the Rookie of the Year title, but we qualified for seven or eight main events that season and finished third in one national. I continued as an expert for nine years, and in my 10th season (1993) was the season where I got hurt and had to retire. I had three Grand National wins along the way.
AMAP: What made you want to come back to flat track racing?
DI: I never lost desire and the love for it, because it’s all I’ve ever really known and wanted to do. All the times I was injured, I was pretty badly hurt with a head injury and broken neck. It took years to get over that. I always wanted to make a comeback, but I thought I was getting too old. After five-ten years went by, I thought, “Man, now it’s too late.” But, I focused on trying to stay in reasonably good shape so if the opportunity presented itself, I’d be pretty close to ready. I healed up and all the injuries have healed themselves. The age thing isn’t bothering me because I’ve been in good enough shape to where I don’t think it’s a factor. I still feel like I have the ability, and on the right equipment, I can run with these guys.
AMAP: So far this season, what are your thoughts on the change in competition from when you raced to what you’re up against now?
DI: I’ve come to find that not that much has changed. The competition level is real close. The guys who run up front in the main event are very fast and have great ability, just like years ago. It’s the same deal, just a different crowd. The format is different, but our lap times are pretty much the same as what we rode years ago. The bikes have progressed with changes in suspension and add-ons to make them better, but they also have smaller restrictors which slow them down, which balances them out on lap speeds. The biggest thing is learning the new chassis and all the different adjustments that weren’t available back in the day. There are several things in the suspension that I don’t know about is what’s hardest for me.
AMAP: Will we see you at Sacramento this weekend?
DI: I am going. I have been racing for TCR, but we didn’t have the funds to get all our big trucks and everything that we needed out there. But, after discussing everything with Tom Cummings that I’d like to find another ride out there, I talked to Tony Dodge from the Dodge Bros Racing in California. He’s got a Harley-Davidson XR 750 for me to ride. I fly out Saturday morning and will compete on his bike.
AMAP: What goals are you expecting to accomplish this season?
DI: This season, I really just want to have some good finishes and prove to myself that I’m still capable. I feel in my heart that I am, but I need to prove it to myself. I need some very strong finishes in the nationals. I’m not happy just making the main event and barely making it in there. I want to run up from with these guys. I’m running out of time. So, I need to have some impressive finishes this year and put a strong program together for next year so I can go after wins.
AMAP: What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen since coming back to AMA Pro Flat Track?
DI: It’s just the motorcycles and their chassis are the biggest difference for me. The haulers in the paddock are a lot bigger. That’s another big thing. There were a few big haulers back then, but now there are a lot of them. It’s cool to pull into a racetrack and see that. There’s a lot of money out there in equipment, probably more than when I was doing it. There are a lot of really fast bikes now, whereas back then, there were only a couple bikes capable of winning.
AMAP: Is there a particular type of track layout you like most?
DI: I prefer the mile tracks, but that’s only if you have the horsepower to be competitive. If your bike is down on horsepower, the mile tracks are a miserable place to be. Given the right motorcycle, I prefer the mile tracks.
AMAP: What do you think it means to the fans that are seeing you make a comeback?
DI: It means a lot to me. I’ve seen that flat track fans are very loyal. I’m seeing that and it’s really cool. It warms my heart to know that there are people that remember and care. For me, to see the faces I haven’t seen for 20 years in the pits again and to talk to them is really neat. It’s a good reminder of some of the things I’ve either forgotten or let slip away on how much it means. There are folks that have remembered me, and I hope I can do them proud.
AMAP: What draws you to the sport? The thrill, competition or the speed?
DI: I enjoy the speed, which is why I prefer the mile tracks. I also enjoy the competition and the fans. I’m certainly not doing it for the money. I guess it’s just the love. It’s something I grew up with, and the day I got hurt, it was taken away from me, but the love wasn’t. Now, before it’s too late, I have the chance to do it again, and I want to take advantage of it and have something for them.
AMAP: Who’s your racing hero?
DI: I used to like Rex Beauchamp. He was friends with my father and was one of my idols. He used to come over to our house in his big motorhome with the factory Harleys. I’d have to say, Rex Beauchamp is by far my biggest hero.
AMAP: Who would you like to thank?
DI: My wife Lexie, I’ve been with her for 18 years. She’s never seen me race, but heard me always talk about it. Now she’s getting to see firsthand what I’ve been talking about all these years. TCR (Tom Cummings Racing), Nicky Cummings along with Zanna Racing and Indy Southside Harley-Davidson, ABC Harley, JCR (Josh Chisum Racing), Harley-Davidson of Bloomington Indiana, Tucker Rocky, Stay Racing, Brownsburg Signs and Mid-America speedway.