At just 16 years old, Tony Grams began racing stock cars on dirt oval tracks. Before that, he and his brother helped his dad who raced, sparking his interest in the sport. It wasn’t until the late 90’s that Tony got a chance to race a sprint car, stating, “Once I drove one, nothing else was worth it!” With tons of help along the way, Tony got his first sprint car win at North Central Speedway. It’s particularly memorable because he was up against some accomplished and seasoned drives like Indy Car driver Roger Rager.
Being successful is something Tony earned through a lot of dedication, hard work, and tons of help along the way. Having learned everything he knows about racing from his father, his family has been incredibly supportive. “She loves racing, it’s what we do!” Tony says, of his wife Mary, who’s supported his passion for racing from the moment they met. The secret formula to making it all work is to “Have fun with it”, Tony says, “surround yourself with good people, good equipment, and good resources.” Balancing his personal and racing calendar has helped keep him grounded too. “You’ve got to pick and choose your moments”, Tony says. This formula has clearly paid off for Tony this year with two wins in four races, it’s been a busy summer.
With the basic design of the cars staying the same over the years, technology has made components lighter, stronger, and longer lasting. All this however requires more money to stay competitive. That’s where sponsors come in. Tony brings a unique philosophy to his sponsorship. He’s not just looking for someone with finances or product, but someone interested in racing. “It’s important to me, personal relationship is what I look for. ” Tony says.
It’s been important to Aggressive Hydraulics® too: Says Aggressive Hydraulics President and CEO, “We sponsor race car drivers, the race cars are just part of the total package. A racer’s personality and demeanor is important. After all, they’re a spokesperson for us. It’s important to be competitive, as well as being a person of character. Tony has done a wonderful job in that area for us dating back almost 15 years. We’ve had a lot of fun over the years and have forged a strong friendship along the way. I’m flying to Charlotte next month to watch Tony’s last race of the season. Although I’ll be on vacation, I know Tony will be working hard to promote and represent Aggressive Hydraulics the best way he knows how, winning.”
Of the fans, Tony says, “They’re great wherever we go! We like to talk to the kids especially, as much as possible.” The upside of racing sprint cars is their popularity and accessibility to fans and drivers alike. Technology is helping bring the racing to more people. Racing is now bigger than ever.
You might be wondering what Tony does when he’s not racing… You can find him working with Stewart Haas Racing as a suspension mechanic on the #14 car of Clint Bowyer. Even Tony’s coworkers are behind him and his racing, helping out whenever there’s an idea or problem that needs to be solved. And what about when he’s not working or racing? You can find him laying by the pool, or going to a Charlotte Checkers hockey game.
Drivers like Tony Grams are a rare bread, and it’s no wonder Aggressive Hydraulics is proud to sponsor Tony, with a grounded balance of commitment to work and family, and his passion for racing sprint cars. If you’re looking for hydraulic cylinders that are Purpose-Built® in the USA with these same guiding principles behind them, call our Hydraulic Cylinder Experts at 866-406-4100 to get started.