Q and A with Go Green
Racing’s Archie St. Hilaire
Photo by Brenda Owen
Archie St. Hilaire (right) poses for a photo with Frank Stoddard (left) and Bobby Labonte (center) prior to the start of the 2015 Daytona 500.
Archie St. Hilaire is the owner of Go Green Racing, the single-car operation that fields the No. 32 Ford Fusion in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. St. Hilaire recently talked with The Racing Experts about how his team continues to run full-time as a smaller Sprint Cup organization.
Q.: Nine races into 2015, assess the performance of your race team week-in-and-week-out.
A: “We’re still working on setup. With all of the new rules, we’re struggling a little bit. With Bobby [Labonte] in the car, we’re hoping for a top-25 finish. Anything can happen [at Talladega]; we can do better, we can do worse.
“With a veteran, a former champion in the car, I think we’ll be competitive.”
Q.: Your team missed the show at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March. How frustrating and how stressful was it, from an owner’s standpoint, knowing your car wasn’t going to be out there?
A: “Well we knew we were going to be right on the bubble there. A lot of the other cars, the smaller teams.... can be very competitive. We were disappointed.
“Going there, we knew it would be close. But, it just pushed us to get our program better, and that’s what we need to do. We bought some new parts, we bought some new cars.”
Q.: Talk about the new purchase your team recently made.
A: “We bought seven new cars from Roush Fenway Racing—new to us. They were the cars they ran last fall. We’re putting those together and we’ll have those on the track hopefully by Kansas.
Photo by Brenda Owen
Archie St. Hilaire at Daytona International Raceway in 2015.
“Our engines are from them all the time. It’s just the chassis have been a couple year old chassis, where this is the newer stuff. One of the cars we put together and weighed it, it was [more] powerful than our other equipment, so that’s definitely a big plus. By Kansas, we’ll be out there with a new chassis. That’s part of getting better; getting newer equipment.”
Q.: How closely do you follow the owner’s points to track the No. 32 team’s progress?
A: “It’s important to follow every week… You’ve got Chase Elliott who comes to the track, and then the 21 and 95 car, Ryan Blaney and Michael McDowell, haven’t been racing every race. When they do show up, which is always at the big shows, they send people home.
“You don’t want to be dead last, you don’t want to be 42nd or 43rd in points, but I think consistently, when I look at it overall, I see that we can be about 36th. Does that sound great, no, but last year we we’re 38th, but we’ve got three new teams this year.”
Q.: How much does your team look forward to running at the superspeedway races?
A: “We’re a small team, and we know at the mile-and-a-half tracks, we’re going to get eaten up on. Half the races are intermediate tracks, so you’ve got the big teams focusing on them. They have their programs, some of them anyway, down pretty well. We know we’re going to struggle there, but we like the spacing of the road courses and the plate races.
Photo by Brenda Owen
Archie St. Hilaire and Jack Roush pose for a photo at Sonoma Raceway in June 2013
“We know we can be competitive at them, so it keeps the guys motivated. When we go to Texas or Las Vegas, we may not be as competitive, but we know when [superspeedway and road courses] come, anybody can win. We work extra hard because we know it could be a great point day, and our model is to just stay out of trouble, and on change the last set of tires, we’ll mix it up and cross our fingers.”
Q.: As an owner, how many race weekends are you at the racetrack?
A: “I go to half of them. Mason, my son, runs the team; he’s the general manager. I’m still living in Maine and he moved down to Huntersville[, North Carolina]. The shop’s down in Mooresville.
“I get to about half [of the races] and maybe more this year, with the points being so tight, so I anticipate two thirds of them overall.”
Q.: How many people work for Go Green Racing?
A: “We outsource the over-the-wall guys to Roush Fenway Racing. We’re really fortunate to have their development guys doing our pit crew. We have 12 full-time employees—we have seven on the road, five in the shop.”
Q.: Anything else you’d like to share with us about your team?
A: “We appreciate everyone rooting for us. We’re definitely the underdog, but we appreciate everybody through our social media sites and Tim Barile, our social media guy. We’re just trying to develop the fan base.
“Down the road, our goal is to have one driver, all season, and build the program, but at this point, the business model is what it is—to pay the bills.”