Digging Deep With Denise: Visiting With Michael Gervais Jr.

“Digging Deep With Denise” is a semi-regular question and answer feature with local racers and racing personalities produced by RaceDayCT’s Denise DuPont

Michael Gervais Jr. (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

Michael Gervais – And it took off from there!

The racing roots for Michael Gervais Jr. began at a small track in a Go-Kart. Just like many other stories, his father brought him to a local track to watch Go-Karts and got him hooked on the sport after he sat behind the wheel. Gervais, of Wolcott, graduated to Legend cars before his move to Modifieds. Currently Gervais is driving at Stafford Speedway behind of the No. 33 SK Modified from the Keith Rocco Racing stable. Gervais has a stout car on the track every week and is looking for his first 2022 win.  

What got you interested in racing?

“I was 5 years old and my dad brought me to Wilton to a little track there. And we watched Go-Karts on the track. My dad asked if I wanted to try it and I actually tried out someone’s Go-Kart. After that we bought one. We started in a parking lot and it all took off from there.

“I started racing Legend cars in 2005 at Waterford Speedbowl. I was the 2008 Waterford Speedbowl Legend Cars Champion. Then I moved to Stafford Speedway in 2009 to drive an SK Light. My first year at Stafford I was the SK Light track champion and SK Light Rookie of the Year. In 2010, I moved to the SK [Modified] division at Stafford.”

The move to an SK Modified for Gervais was challenging. Starting 16 races he only had three top-10 finishes in 2010. In 2011, Gervais received the SK Modified Most Improved Driver award after securing two top 5’s and eight top 10’s. Every race you will find him competing in the field of the top five or ten, but a win has eluded him since 2016.

Looking back at your career, what car or division did you enjoy the most?

“I was still learning a lot when I was in the SK Light. I definitely love SK racing. It is a fun. But driving Legend Cars was just a blast doing that. You get to go to different tracks and you do not have to change anything besides the gear. We did a lot of traveling for that and it was pretty good. And they are fun to drive.”

Racing an SK Modified 

“I love running an SK at Thompson. I do not get there much though. I would like go to the World Series there. Besides Stafford, I have only run the Speedbowl and Wall [Stadium in Wall, N.J.] in an SK. We have not been to many places, but we really love racing at Stafford. “

Do you work on your own car?

“I do my own maintenance and everything.. We keep the car at Keith’s [Rocco’s shop] where we use the scale and stuff. I like to be hands on – just doing the normal maintenance and fixing things. And if you do need some extra hands Keith is always there to help me. ”

What is your most memorable racing experience?

“I think probably racing Legend cars at Bethlehem Motor Speedway. It was my first Legend Stock race.  And we won, which was just awesome in general. The next day we went to Chemung and we won again. And the next weekend at Waterford, we won again there. It was a good week in general.

“Second to that was winning the National Championship in Go-Karts. I was young at the time and that was a big thing for me. I did not have the same feelings then as I do now.”

What do you find unique at Stafford Speedway?

“They just have everything prepared. They run a good show. They do just as much promoting themselves as they do us. Which shows that they care about the people that race here. And it is just a beautiful facility. The track is definitely different. For people that come here for the first time it is not a track easily learned your first time out. There are a lot of little intricacies and to learn how to pass or just race it in general. That makes it challenging for sure.”

What are your 2022 Plans?

“I plan to just run the SK at Stafford. I am married to the SK here. We might go somewhere at the end of the year like Thompson. But for now we are at Stafford.”

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