RPW Column: Danica Getz Will Be Learning From The Best At Big Diamond Speedway In ’23
Column By: BILLY HODGES / RPW – KUNKLETOWN, PA – If you’re going to learn from someone, in anything, you might as well learn from the best.
When that best is your teammate, it’s all the sweeter.
That is exactly what 17-year-old Danica Getz will be doing for the 2023 season as the Kunkletown, PA native will be entering the Rookie 602 Sportsman class at Big Diamond Speedway, and she’s got the defending Modified champion as a mentor.
“In 2020, Jeff Strunk drove for my father (Butch Getz) at Big Diamond,” Getz said. “The last two years, and for 2023, we’ve had Duane Howard and he last year he was champ.”
What does it mean for Getz having someone like Howard showing her the ropes of an open-wheel racecar?
“Learning from Duane and knowing he won the track championship in 2022 will help me out a ton,” she said. “He’s helped me with driver knowledge like reading the track as the night goes on, being patient during the race and knowing when it’s the right moment to make your move.”
She’s also learned a great deal from her father.
“My dad’s also been teaching me a great deal which means the world to me,” she said. “He is so special. He’s helped me learn a lot when it comes to car set-up and we also work on all our shocks together.”
This deal isn’t just being handed to Getz this season. She’s had to work for everything she’s got and is making the most of it.
“Both my dad and Duane have helped me when it’s come to building the car,” she said. “They’ve had the mindset that, if I want to race, I had to build the car, learn the parts and go through the whole process.”
They’ve been there every step of the way with her.
“If I’ve had any questions with anything, they both have been there helping me,” she said. “They’re right there for me, giving me that extra little bit of knowledge they both have.”
What made Getz choose Big Diamond Speedway this season?
“We’ve had our cars there for three years now,” she said. “Having Duane right next to me in the pits and watching me will be huge in my development. Big Diamond is a track this team knows pretty well and I really like Jake and Jasmine (Smulley, the track owners).”
What appeals to her about the Minersville, PA race track?
“I really like the size of the track,” she said. “As a driver, it has a lot of room to pass. You also have room to avoid wrecks if you get in trouble.”
However, there’s more to Big Diamond that appeals to Getz.
“They really do a lot for their fans and the community,” she said. “They keep fans involved at the track by giving away two grandstand passes ever Friday night. Over the last three months, I think they’ve given away like 600 free meals to the community. In the fall, they do a trunk or treat at the track. It’s just an amazing place to be.”
Does Getz have any expectations for this season coming up?
“I just want to get laps under my belt and be consistent,” she said. “I would like to travel a little bit here and there. I want to branch out so I can give different tracks a try once I get a little better, but right now, it’s all about getting seat time.”
The young racer will have a lot of great support behind her for the 2023 racing campaign.
“I would like to thank my sponsors for making this happen,” she said. “Big Creek Concrete, Cale M. Latshaw Custom Carpentry, Heatwave Stoves, C&B Lawncare & Landscaping, Hoffman Speed Supplies, Dig Racing Products, Behrents Performance Warhouse, S&D Bodyline, 4Star Lettering, and lpaints. They are helping to make this happen for me.”
It’s not all about the names on the car though for Getz. She knows the team behind her is also what will help her to make 2023 a success.
“I’ve got to thank my Dad and Duane and everyone that’s helped me get to this point,” she said. “A big thank you has to go to Bob, John, Jamie, Ricky, Ryan, Colin, my grandparents and family for being my biggest supporters and always cheering me on.”
Getz understands exactly what this sport is all about.
“Racing is hard, no question,” she said. “I wouldn’t be able to do it without all their help. It means a lot to someone my age to have all these sponsors and people backing me all the way. It’s a dream come true and I can’t thank them enough for what they do. I won’t let you guys down.”