Mike Skudlarek out of Plymouth, Michigan has been drifting since 2006. At the age of 16, he came out hard to local Michigan events and started traveling to several Drift Indy events before realizing that this is what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.
We had the pleasure to sit down with Mike Skudlarek during a trip to Detroit and find out what’s going on with the Skud Missile in 2013.
Edgar Sarmiento: Hey Mike, seems like we missed you at Long Beach this year. Are you driving
Formula D in 2013?
Mike Skudlarek: After the 2012 season, my team and I evaluated our program options and decided to
take a step back from competing at the pro level. With that said, we do intend to be back
there to mix it up in the near future!
Edgar: What series are you running this year?
MS: Part of our program evaluation included where the team would be based. I lived out
in LA for about 4 months following Round 7 at Irwindale, where I was able to experience
everything that Southern California had to offer, including the chance to drive in the
2012 JustDrift All Star Bash. My intention was to stay in LA until April for Round 1 at
Long Beach in order to get as much seat time as I could during the off-season. By the
time January rolled around, we decided that FD just wasn’t in the cards for 2013. I was
faced with the decision to try to move everything and struggle to make things work in
California, or head back home to the Midwest. I decided that the time wasn’t right for me
to be on the west coast, and that back home in Detroit with my family from the Midwest
Drift Union, was where I wanted to be.
Edgar: I’m sure a lot of our readers can relate to your ups and downs over the past
couple years. How does that make you feel as a driver?
MS: I think most people would look at being in FD for only two years then dropping out
as a failure or something. I see it as anything but a failure! Sure, it was a lot of money
and time… But more importantly, it was a ton of fun, and an experience that I’ll use to
motivate myself to continue the path I’m on.
Edgar: What would you say you learned while your two years in Formula D?
MS: I won’t say I learned everything there is to know about running a championship-
winning program. However, I learned a great deal about what goes on behind the scenes,
and what makes those big name teams work (and no, it’s not just a MM dollars). Most of
it just has to do with being prepared. Prepared to drive when it’s time, prepared to fix the
car when something breaks, having the car prepped before you even think about loading
it onto the trailer to leave for an event, etc. I also learned how important seat time is, a ton
about car setup and the proper build methods, how to act and be professional on and off
track, and I also learned how little I knew coming in to FD as a rookie. I think the most
important thing I learned was that if you aren’t enjoying yourself; it’s not worth doing at all.
Edgar: What would be the best advice you can give to your fellow ProAm drivers
around the World?
MS: It’s great to have goals and dreams, but don’t let those things consume you. Also,
don’t think you’re ready to jump in the shark tank after just one year of Pro-Am,
especially if you barely have the means to even compete in a local/regional series. FD is
expensive, and drifting is here to stay. Take a year, or two, or three. Get your car set up
as if you were in Formula D and practice with it for AT LEAST a season. I wish someone
had made me do that! Talk to current or past FD participants. At the end of the day,
they’re all normal people and are usually super cool and more than willing to help. I think
the most important piece of advice I could give would be to keep a level head- never get
cocky, and let your driving speak for itself.
Edgar: On the lighter side of things Mike, what are some of your hobbies outside of
MS: When I’m not at the track, I’m usually working on building a roll cages, putting a
project car together, or putting parts orders together for my company, Mike Skudlarek
Motorsports. I also work for a really cool home theater company called The Sound
Vision, installing integrated home audio/video systems. When I actually do have “free
time”, I like to bicycle around downtown Detroit on my ’73 Fuji and check out different
historical locations and architecture. It’s pretty crazy to imagine what the city would have
looked like 70 years ago compared to today! I played AAA hockey between the ages of 6
and 16, so I like to get back out on the ice every once in a while as well!
Edgar: If there was one car you could have a joy ride on what would it be and why?
MS: That’s a really tough question, but I think it’d be Chris Forsberg’s 370z. That thing
sounds so wild and manly. It looks like it drives really well, not to mention looks pretty
awesome too! I’d love to romp around town in it for a night! I know that would never
happen, so I guess I’d settle for one of those 4wd TORC trucks haha. Seems like it’d be
pretty fun to jump them, floor it, then do a backwards entry to slow down enough to go
around the corners!
Edgar: Favorite color?
Edgar: One last question, what’s your favorite movie?
MS: Inglorious Basters or Inception
Edgar: Thanks for your time Mike, this would be a good time for any shout outs you
First, I’d like to give a huge thank you to my parents. Without them, none of this
would have been possible! Second, I’d like to thank my friends who helped out at events,
lent a hand whenever I needed it, or provided moral support: Ben Kramp, Ryan Nalezyty,
Jake Maturen, Aaron Bledsoe, Brett Kabana, Paul Beiswenger, Alex Lenane, JTP, Jerry
Lint, Jason Schumer, Frank Fardell, Chris Conley, Ryan Clemens, Nick
Swann, Pat Goodin, BG, Geoff Stoneback, Dan Popowich, Mark Lenardon, Brian Casse.
Also, Thanks everybody that came to talk to us and supported or efforts at any of the
events! It really means a lot! I’d also like to thank our sponsors for helping us get a great
program together for 2013! Falken Tire, Exedy Racing Clutch, Canton Racing Products,
Wiseco Pistons, K1 Technologies, Stance Suspension, SPL Parts. Also, a big thanks to
Drift Indy, Midwest Drift Union, Smashed Clothing, MotorCity Drift, and ClubFR for
making drifting happen in the Midwest!