Barrett-Jackson Auctions and Vintage Cars Keep Mike Joy Busy

Photo Credit to Sam Cranston and used with permission from Mike Joy
Mike pictured with son Scott. On top of cars, Joy takes an active role in his son's racing career.

By Dominic Aragon Reporter

BOLD = Questions
BLUE = Mike Joy

Mike Joy is a family man. When he’s not at the track calling the lap-by-lap commentary for FOX, he always has something that keeps him busy. Hobbies over the off-season include hanging out with the family, restoring vintage cars, and hosting SPEED’s coverage of the Barrett-Jackson Auctions.

How long have you been interested in classic cars, and working on them?

My dad enjoyed cars.  He had a 1930 Model A Ford that I helped him restore, though he resisted my interest in putting in a V8 and turning it into a hot rod.  He also had a Mercedes roadster that I helped polish and maintain, and that started my interest in sports cars.

How often do you work on vintage vehicles, and how many would you say that you work on over the off-season?

There's never enough time...  We are hard at work now getting the 1965 Ranchero ready for Charlotte's AutoFair.  My 67 MGB needs the clutch hydraulics looked at, and I'd like to find enough time for my son Scott and me to complete my 67 Sprite.  Eclectic Restorations in Jonesville NC is doing some of the work on the Ranchero so we make our deadline.  There are usually four or so "project" cars in various stages of completion at any one time, plus maintaining the ones that run and drive.

Over the off-season, if fans tune in to SPEED, they can see you providing your voice to the Barrett-Jackson Auctions from time to time… How did that deal start out? And do you usually bid on a few cars?

Speed had Alain deCadenet as their on-the-block expert, and Alain is absolutely the best on European cars... they wanted someone to balance Alain with good background and perspective on American cars, and I was chosen.  When Alain moved on, Steve Magnante joined me, and I think we offer a good balance of detail and observation.

I have a bidder pass, and I've bought several cars there, most notably a Chevy SSR that GM spent lots of money customizing into a pace car for NASCAR and ALMS races.  we use it as a pace car to promote our racing fuel business in New England.

In the early 1990s, according to Wikipedia, you raced in IMSA races, and the 1993 24 Hours of Daytona. Have you gotten the chance to test any of the CoT cars, or new Nationwide cars?

Nope... I still have my gear ready, but I limit my driving to the occasional track day or vintage sports car race.  Most of my amateur racing time is spent crewing Scott's Bandolero race car.  He races regularly at Charlotte and has also raced at Bowman-Gray, one of the historic NASCAR tracks. His crew chief, former NASCAR driver "Tiger" Tom Pistone, is 83 and has lots more energy than I do.  His grandsons Nick and Tommy do a lot of the work, and Scott got his first big win during this year's Summer Shootout at Charlotte.

Have you ever worked on a vintage race car?

Sure... The historic races at Laguna Seca and Lime Rock are among my favorite events of any year.  I really wanted an historic Trans-Am car.  That series and era are my all-time favorites in racing. I've been privileged to drive a '71 Mark Donohue/George Follmer Javelin and the '70 Warren Agor Camaro, and that's racing heaven!  Cars like that quickly rose way above my budget.  But I've got my eye on a couple... maybe next year.

Besides spending time with your family and working on classic cars, what other off-season hobbies keep you busy?

FOX, Speed and family activities don’t leave much free time.  I'm very happy concentrating in those areas.