NORMAL, ILLINOIS — Rockford native Brock Spack is all-in when it comes to coaching Illinois State’s football team. But even he has other interests besides football.
Summer means a couple of things to Spack, youth football camps and auto racing. It’s been that way since he grew up in Rockford. “The Rockford Speedway was a big deal on Saturday night. I grew up on short track stock car racing,” said Spack.
Long before he was roaming the sidelines as a coach, he used to cut the grass in order for his dad to take him to races. Now he’s the one bringing his family to the race track. He’s gone to the the Indy 500 for more than 30 years. He’s brought his kids to Daytona International Speedway for a NASCAR race. He’s even had the chance to get behind the wheel of a pace car.
“That pace car you see with me and my wife, we went about 120-130 miles an hour in the pace car at Talladega,” said Spack. “It’s similar to a team-oriented sport and there are a lot of things that go into making a car run fast. Very interesting!”
He has played or coached football most of his life, and Brock Spack has loved that. He admits if he didn’t fall in love with football all those years ago he might be in racing.
“If I came reincarnated I would like to be a race car driver. I’m not that talented and it takes too much money!”
He’s been in the garage, the pits, and to driver’s meetings, but he says the best spot at a race track is the one closest to the action.
“They draft around 20 cars. Hair is everywhere. It’s really loud. The ground is shaking. The feel of speed. It was pretty cool!”
Spack will be entering his 11th seasons as the head coach of the Redbirds this fall. They’ll open up DeKalb against NIU on Saturday night, August 31st.
(Our thanks to Kurt Pegler from our sister station WMBD in Peoria for this story).