Matt Juhl and TKS Motorsports are Ready for the 2021 Season!

Matt Juhl and TKS Motorsports are Ready for the 2021 Season!
Wednesday, April 7, 2021
Matt Juhl and TKS Motorsports are Ready for the 2021 Season!
by Heath Jacobson

We have all heard the expression a thousand times or is a lifestyle. Yet the countless throngs of sprint car racing enthusiasts understand that their personal passion and dedication to the sport runs so much deeper than a mere lifestyle. The mud slinging frenetic machines which captured their attention at first glance now permeate the very souls of the sprint car faithful. Their collective infatuation with every aspect of sprint car culture has created lifelong devotees who have kept the races stacked with cars and spectators alike decade after decade. For Troy and Tammy Renfro, they have built an admirable life and established a formidable racing team around their mutual love for the community which encompasses the Sprint Car Capital of the World.

Four A Feature victories and 84 total laps led by Austin McCarl for TKS Motorsports highlighted a dominant 2018 Knoxville Raceway Track Championship. For those who had observed the Renfros build their family-owned and family-centered team from the ground up, the breakthrough season felt like the culmination of many years committed to developing a perennial contender.

Following a tumultuous 2020 season which resulted in four different drivers behind the wheel of the Casey’s 2KS car, Troy and Tammy have made the decision to form a partnership of sorts with Matt Juhl Racing for their 2021 campaign. The Renfros intelligent conviction to consistently race within their means combined with Juhl’s interest in competing regularly at Huset’s Speedway and Jackson Motorplex opened an opportunity for the two established teams to work out an agreement which benefited both parties.

“We kind of did this deal where the car is [Matt’s] stuff and he’s going to run Huset’s but it’s going to look like my car and then I’m going to go up there on Sundays,” Troy commented from his modest racing shop in Mitchellville. “Instead of dragging the truck and trailer up there, I’m going to drive up and then he’s going to drive down here on Saturdays. It saves each of us money.”

“We’re just a small family type of deal and I like it that way,” Troy reflected on the TKS Motorsports Team. There is a glint of excitement that can be seen in Troy’s eyes when he speaks about the chance to develop one of Knoxville Raceway’s burgeoning talents.

“I feel good about this year, I really do. The little bit that Matt’s drove for us, he’s very low key which is what I like,” Troy stated about his new driver. “I said, ‘You’ve just got to tell me what you feel. We can find a way to fix it, but you’ve just got to communicate with me and tell me.’ He’s pretty good at that.”

In turn Matt expressed his eagerness for the start of the new season, his fifth year competing full-time in the 410 class at the famed 1/2-mile dirt oval. “I’ve gotten more comfortable at Knoxville over the years. I think once we get to Knoxville we can really see what can happen and what I can feel, see what [Troy] does different with his car. I think I can definitely learn and tell more of a difference at Knoxville with him. So I’m really excited to get to Knoxville and get some laps there.”

The significance of receiving the call from TKS Motorsports is not lost on the Tea, SD native, who was quick to acknowledge the people who provided the initial boost to his career in racing. "I wouldn't be here if it weren't for my parents. They have done everything they could to get me to where I am today."

Juhl is particularly looking forward to working under the tutelage of a seasoned veteran Crew Chief for an entire season for the first time in his racing career. The decades of extensive experience tuning a sprint car which Troy has amassed seems of immense benefit to Matt’s crew as well.

“I have three guys that have been with me for the last five or six years that all kind of have their assigned stuff that they do,” Matt commented prior to the start of the 2021 season. “Nathan Spoo has been with me since I first started racing in 2010. He could be a Car Chief for sure, he knows how to do everything. He’s the one that assembled the cars all winter. Anthony Timmerman and Zach Ignaszewski are my other guys that do a lot for me in the shop. We haven’t necessarily had an actual Crew Chief which had a bunch of knowledge. We’ve raced Knoxville enough that we have a good idea of where we need to be, and I think having Troy will definitely help us in the area of having a head Crew Chief who can make the calls.”

“I think we’re really close,” Juhl continued. “But to have someone like Troy and his knowledge to be part of the team, we can hopefully get over that little bit of difference that’s really hard to do.”

Speaking with Troy Renfro about his decades of triumphs along nearly every sanctioning body in sprint car racing, one gains a sense that there is no quit in the man. Counted among numerous assets to weekly racing at Knoxville Raceway, Troy still has a wealth of valuable sprint car knowledge at his disposal and an understanding of when too much is too much.

Like so many storied car owners, drivers, and sprint car mechanics before him, Troy once measured his successes by the number of A Feature victories accrued. But now he has become a man who fully understands what is truly valuable to him at his core. Knowing his twin daughters Sydney and Katelyn along with their mother Tammy are at the center of the team they have established, one gets a sense that he found what matters most for him to be completely happy....

“If they weren’t involved in it....I wouldn’t do it.”