I sat down with long-time friends John Weinberger and his son Joel at their Ferrari/Maserati dealership in Hinsdale, Il to talk cars, racing and business.
This is Part 2 of the story from last month. IF you missed Part 1 of this interview, CLICK HERE
Q – How did you guys get into the whole racing scene?
JOHN: My 1st race car was a TR-2…drove it to the track, raced it, and drove it home. Later we convinced Joel’s mother that father and son were going to race vintage…slow old cars, super safe, me in a Lotus Elan, and Joel in a Lotus 11.
JOEL: After racing we realized we really DID have slow old cars, and I went out and got a 66 Lotus Elan and dad got a Lotus 23.
Q – Joel… do you want your kids to race?
JOEL: I’ve introduced them to racing as a hobby and I want them to make up their own minds about getting on the track…
Q – Favorite tracks in the world?
JOHN: Early on, Meadowdale, and the Milwaukee Mile, of course, Watkins Glen, Sebring, Laugna Seca, and Road America…all great tracks
JOEL: I loved VIR (Virginia), Road America and Road Atlanta, and Mid-Ohio, but I got a chance to do the 25 Hours of Thunder Hill. I really enjoy endurance racing for the team aspect, fuel and driver changes…
And at Thunder Hill one of my stints was 5am-9am…still dark, tires going away, but I was in the zone and set the fastest lap…it’s the most fun I’ve ever had.
Q – John… what was your most memorable race?
JOHN: I really remember an incredible dice with a great racer named Martino. I was in a Porsche 906, he an Alfa T-33, and I knew I was faster in only one corner.
A 906E leading two Lolas, the T-33 and me…so the leading Porsche hit a hay bale, and the Lolas got into a scrap throwing gravel all over the track as they took themselves out. I knew I had one chance and I took it, went to pass, side swiped the T-33 under a very late yellow flag, in those days you traded a lot of paint, but pulled ahead and won the race. I got protested but my win held up, and without a doubt, that’s my most memorable race.
Q – Joel, what was yours?
JOEL: Of course winning the 2011 SCCA Championship was wonderful and, like a Super Bowl champ, you are always recognized, but my proudest moment was racing with Dad in a 1991 vintage race at Road America. Dad and I were up front gridded against a very experienced guy. Unfortunately dad spun right away at turn 1, I led the race until turn 14 where I dropped a wheel, and my opponent and I drag raced uphill to the finish. Lost by a nose, but I was never prouder of my driving.
Continental AutoSports ~ Hinsdale, IL
Q – What about your wish list cars?
JOEL: Wishing big, I would love to have a Ferrari 250LM, my favorite Ferrari.
JOHN: Well…a Ferrari 250 SWB California Spyder, but close behind, a Ferrari 275 NART Spyder. Just missed owning a NART and someday that story’s worth telling.
Q – One last question, as father and son, what have you learned from each other in racing and in life?
JOHN: Joel preaches integrity always, and I’m so very proud of that trait in my kid…
JOEL: Well in business, from my dad I’ve learned to take care of your employees, because they take care of your clients, and from that, profit flows…
JOHN: And over all of my years I have learned to eat a lot of crow. My biggest challenges are straightening out messes or mad customers, and I tell people I’ve f—ed up more times than I can remember, but I love to make people happy, leaving them feeling better than when we started talking, and making my clients and friends the center of my attention…
DAVE: Thanks for your time gentlemen…
IF you missed Part 1 of this interview, CLICK HERE
John Weinberger, President of Continental AutoSports
An ex racecar mechanic from the 60’s. More than thirty years ago, in 1975, John started an exclusive Ferrari dealership. Under his leadership Continental AutoSports has achieved Ferrari #1 ranking nationally for sales and service customer satisfaction.
Joel Weinberger, Dealer Principal of Continental AutoSports
A second-generation auto dealer and a huge motorsports enthusiast. Joel has participated in many different types of racing for over 23 years, including Vintage and SCCA. He even competed in the 25 Hours of Thunderhill and the Baja 1000. I love the relationships that we build with our Ferrari and Maserati clients, because we share the same passion for these wonderful cars.