Profile On: Rob Kubli!
Friday, May 11, 2012
Rob Kubli, #23K
By Joanne Cram
Starting 2012 with a hard wreck, resulting in a badly damaged car on practice night is not how Rob Kubli wanted to kick off his Rookie of the Year season. Luckily, Rob and the crew were able to thrash and pull the car back together for opening night.
Rob started his race career as a spectator at the age of eight years old, attending races with his friends, Stacy and Jim Alexander. The Alexander’s lived nearby Rob’s hometown of Milo, farming as the Kubli family did, so when they offered to take the young Rob to a World of Outlaw show, he jumped at the chance. Kubli says he was hooked from then on and knew he would be a sprint car driver one day.
Taking small steps to achieve his dreams, Rob began racing figure 8 at the Warren County Fairgrounds in Indianola as soon as he was legal at the age of 16. He spent a few seasons dodging the dicey intersection and became known as a driver who didn’t back down! With a self admitted under-powered motor, Kubli tore up a lot of cars, yet still found success in the figure 8 class winning a few races.
The natural progression for Kubli from figure 8 racing was to move up to the hobby stock class where he raced at the Des Moines fairgrounds for two seasons. He won a feature race, but still knew his heart was in sprint car racing. Unsure of how to fund a team, Kubli decided to take a season off of racing to regroup and save money.
In 2009, Mitch Alexander helped Kubli begin to realize his dreams of piloting a sprint car. Alexander paired Kubli with a complete 305 car to begin racing the Midwest 305 class that traveled around Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, and Missouri. Rob seemed to be a natural in the 305, with two wins his rookie season; his first at I-80, and a second here at Knoxville Raceway.
Later in the season of 2009, close friend, Bruce Williams helped Rob to ease into the idea of running a bigger motor by giving him opportunities to race a 360 here and there. Rob’s first success in that bigger motor came when he won the Jerry Richert Memorial Race.
By 2010, Rob felt he was ready to move into the 410 class, and admits that he made the leap over the 360s for the prestige that running a 410 sprint holds. His sole goal for that season was to race as much as he could race to gain experience and laps under his belt. Kubli ran for three weeks before his motor blew up on him, ending his goal to finish out the season at Knoxville Raceway.
Fortunately, Rhyse Layton’s #19 of Minnesota needed a driver to wrap up the IRA season. Kubli got his laps after all, and even had several top 5’s in his 10-15 shows with the IRA.
Last season, the season began in a legal 12 headed motor for the 410 class, due to budget constraints. Kubli saw improvement on his consistency and mad the feature several races by transferring out of the B Main. His best finish last season was a 9th place finish. After the 5th night out, Kubli once again broke his lower budget motor, and was unable to return to Knoxville, when he returned in Jeremey Scadden’s car out of Sioux Falls, in August.
This season, Kubli is hopeful to even more success and consistency, after partnering with Andrew and Ron Shelton, of Shelton Painting. He feels he has a strong car this year, as well as a good motor by Parker. Kubli is focusing on being more competitive on the bottom of the track, and already feels he’s made progress in his three races thus far in the season. He missed the World of Outlaw’s opener by one transfer spot in the B main, but still felt like he had a great race.
When Rob isn’t in the shop with his racecar, his wife Amy and dog Pete like to find down time to hang out. He also enjoys spending some time attempting to golf and hunting and fishing for anything that moves. Kubli pays the race bills by farming for himself and another Milo farmer, as well as driving his newly purchased truck hauling loads of grain and hauling for Hy-Vee.
Crew on the 23K Eagle-Parker Engines 410 include Casey Gruebel; his wife, Amy; his dad, Robert; Gary Waddell; and Mike Owens. Sponsors this season are Shelton Painting, Shelton Trucking, Affordable Elegance, Pro Diesel, Kubli Farms and Kustom Sprint Car Parts. You can follow Rob on Facebook by friending him!