GTWC America Acura NSX GT3 Evo
- Matt McMurry
- Rodrigo Sales
- Michael Di Meo
- Ashton Harrison
- Mario Farnbacher
Ryan Eversley drives for Compass360 Racing in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, joining Kyle Gimple in the No. 75 Touge Tuning/ Children’s Tumor Foundation/ Racing4Research.org Honda Civic Si.
The pair finished second in the 2013 Street Tuner (ST) point standings, with Eversley also second in the 2011 championship. He has 12 career podium finishes in the series, with and earned his third career Continental Tire Challenge victory at Watkins Glen International in June.
Before starting out as a driver, he was a mechanic in both the GRAND-AM Rolex Series and American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón. He served as crew chief on the winning car in the SR II class in the 2001 Rolex 24 At Daytona.
When he’s not racing, @RyanEversley stays busy with his nearly 50,000 Tweets entertaining his 6,828 followers on Twitter.
Have you turned your 2014 season around after a slow start?
“One of the worst things that could have happened was that I crashed out in the opening race at Daytona and that started us off on the back foot, and when we got to Sebring we broke a driveshaft during the opening hour. So we had two races from the get-go where we scored very minimal points. I don’t think our Honda was the car to have for probably the first five races, so even when we were running, we weren’t as quick as we probably will be for the rest of the year. Winning at Watkins Glen was a real shot in the arm that re-established our confidence. We had a real fast car at Lime Rock but got caught up in an incident, otherwise we had a shot at a top five, and we had fourth-place finishes at Kansas and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. So I feel like we’re back to our old ways.”
What are your thoughts returning to Indy?
“I’m not going into the weekend with expectations of winning. I’m going in looking to score as many points as possible. I think the new chicane will hurt the front-wheel-drive cars. Racing is Indy is a real treat and the fans like it. I’m not as excited as I was last year, but I’ll race anything, anywhere.”
Did your work as a winning Rolex 24 At Daytona crewman help get you started as a driver?
“In 2001, I was a mechanic and tire changer when Archangel Motorsports won the Rolex 24. It was a great opportunity to work under Andy Lally as a driver and Mike Johnson as a team manager – who’s gone on to become one of the most successful team managers in the sport. I had a very good learning curve put in front of me. My goal was always to drive, but I had no clue I was going to make it happen because I had no personal sponsor or family money, I had to work for it. There were a lot of times I thought I would never get to drive a race car. Fortunately, working with a team like Archangel and being around the GRAND-AM paddock led to a few drives here and there to get some seat time. Then, I was fortunate enough to get established in the Continental Tire Challenge back in 2003, and I’ve been racing there ever since. I worked in the former GRAND-AM series and a little with the ALMS as well, so I knew what each series had to offer in terms of the mechanic’s side. Now it’s pretty cool to be racing in the combined series, especially considering how hard it is to make the change from being a mechanic to being a driver.”
How did you get involved with various charities in conjunction with your racing – a role you obviously enjoy – and how much of your time does that occupy?
“As a young child, I had spinal meningitis, and it was very touch and go for a period of time. So I always wanted to give something back to a charity of some sort. When I was able to join up with the Children’s Tumor Foundation in 2010 it was really a positive experience. I enjoyed it so much and got positive feedback from the families I was helping I felt I was making a difference. Ever since then, I’ve made a pledge to myself that if I’m in a race car, it will have a charity of some sort. I’ve worked with a bunch of different ones, primarily the Children’s Tumor Foundation, but I’m trying to help anybody, any way I can.
“I also try to help younger drivers coming into the series. When I was first getting into the sport, I noticed guys like Andy Lally and Spencer Pumpelly would always take the time to talk to me and help me. I try to take that attitude towards charity, towards mechanics, towards people trying to get a job in the sport. If I can help anybody, anyway, I try to do so the best I can.”
You’ve got a very high profile in social media, primarily Twitter. How did that come about?
“I feel that certain forms of social media – like Twitter and Vine – can really let your personality come to light. I’ve always been a bit of a class clown and tried to make people laugh. That’s a good trait to have if you’re trying to build a brand on social media. Otherwise, you’re only saying the same thing as everybody else; you’re not going to stand out. I’ve tried to be as open and friendly and welcoming to anybody from any form of sport, to my world of racing. I’ve been really blessed with the feedback – I’ve got as many followers as some of the factory drivers from the big classes. I don’t really understand it, but I absolutely love it. I love talking shop so much that this is another platform to do it.”