For The Tribune
Like many other local racers, Matt Boknecht has grown up at Brownstown Speedway.
Through the years, Boknecht has become one of the most passionate guys in the pits in addition to being one of the most respected.
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From spectating to competing, and most recently becoming involved with the fair board, he displays a passion for the sport.
Some 40 years ago, Boknecht spent his Saturday nights at the famed quarter-mile dirt track watching his father, and Hall of Famer, Dennis Boknecht competing.
“When I was growing up my dad was always racing,” Boknecht said. “So on Saturday nights, that’s how I was raised.”
Boknecht, of Seymour, followed in his father’s footsteps and began his own racing campaign in 1994.
Since then he has posted more than 100 feature wins to his career and nine track championships: six of those being at Brownstown.
“When I was younger it used to mean everything to me,” Boknecht said.
Boknecht was inducted into the Brownstown Speedway Hall of Fame in 2014, which etched his name next to many racing legends including his father.
Most of Boknecht’s success has come in the UMP Modified division, but he’s proved to be versatile in other classes as well — most notably the Super Stock division where he has posted numerous wins.
He is the only driver thus far to win the Scott Patman Memorial race in its two years existence.
Winning at Brownstown has even more special meaning to Boknecht when his wife Heather and their two daughters, Jenna and Reanne, are in attendance.
“It just makes the week,” Boknecht said. “The older I get, there are other things that are more important like my family and God.”
Boknecht is quick to mention his love for his family in Victory Lane interviews.
He now sets his sights on the upcoming Jackson County Fair races, as he will compete Thursday night as well as Saturday’s competition.
The fair races are always atop any drivers list of prestigious events they want to win.
“It’s always fun if you win the fair race,” Boknecht said. “You will see people out in the community, and they will always congratulate you.”
Boknecht’s passion for Brownstown Speedway goes far deeper than just competing in the races, as he is a very active member of the fair board.
“The fair race also is special to me, because I’m on the fair board,” said Boknecht, who is in charge of outdoor exhibits this year.
He is also very involved with all of the grandstand attractions as he is second in command over those events.
“That’s why I got on the fair board, because I wanted it to be special for everybody else,” Boknecht said.
Fair week is the busiest week of the year for many in Jackson County, and Boknecht’s schedule is no exception as he juggles his fair board duties and his racing duties.
Boknecht comes into this week’s events as a notable favorite to win in the UMP Modified division as he is two-for-two in his new race car that debuted it a couple of weeks ago.