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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Avoidable Contact #136: Two decades of real encounters with a fake racer

A note to the reader: Some of you will recognize this person, at which point you will notice that I have deliberately toned down some of these stories to preserve his anonymity as far as I could. Thank you for your patience.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/opinion/avoidable-contact/avoidable-contact-136-two-decades-of-real-en...
48 REPLIES 48
1sloXKR
New Driver

I believe Jack’s article is referring to Casey Putsch of FerrariChat fame… but you didn’t hear it from me.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

Doesn't ring a bell. Was he ever groomed for F1?
ShelbyAvant
Pit Crew

The ONLY person I thought of the entire article.....
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

Some people just have the fire in their eyes!
MATTMERICA
Technician

a quick dive into the interwebs showed me this, which is truly astounding given the article....and it was from 3 days ago lol - the picture of a white 944 didn't make it but the caption of the photo did, was it the same one Jack pulled out of the ditch??

Casey Putsch
Casey Putsch
3 days ago
Literally nobody braved the snow to go to Home Depot and the few vehicles I saw on the road were all 4WD. PLEASE!! It’s not what ya got, it’s how you use it. It’s not what you do, it’s how ya do it. You be you and I’ll be me. It’s just a matter of style… Cannonball! UHHH….. Snowball? 🙂
db2sub1
Intermediate Driver

Funny, may indeed be Casey Putsch but reminds me of the now famed Michael Shank back in his SCCA days. After offering to demonstrate how to dramatically lower my lap times at Nelson Ledges, he promptly blew my S2000's new Ivy engine. aaaargh!!! Later I watched him coach a fellow racer how to wipe out an entire section of armco.
RokemRonnie
Instructor

Was Casey old enough in 2002 to be racing? He would have been 19 or 20.

For what it's worth, he's always been gracious to me and he knows that Jack and I are friends, whatever differences he and Jack may have. I last saw him at the inaugural American Speed Festival last fall and we chatted. As far as I can tell he's not doing anything illegal and if he can make a go at what he's doing with his educational non-profit for turning kids on to cars and racing, props to him. In 2022 I'm not going to condemn someone for self-promotion, God knows there are enough people out there that will tear you down. He recently got sponsorship for some kind of Indy feeder series. I don't think he has a snowball's chance in Hell of getting to the 500 at his age but if he did it'd be a cool story.
Ark-med
Detailer

Now I don't feel so bad about spinning out in my first and only autocross, twenty years ago. I did enjoy putting on my leather gloves that morning. The helmet, not so much. And please don't tell me autocross isn't racing.
hyperv6
Racer

Autocross is a form of racing. One most can afford.

If you did not hit a cone or spin at some point you were not trying.

Forget the gloves next time.
jkstill
Pit Crew

Affordability depends one the class one drives in.
SM and SSM classes for instance are not exactly affordable, when the grid is lined with cars that easily have $100k or more into them.
But, they are fast, and fun to drive.
hyperv6
Racer

That goes for anything. 

For a while I autocross my daily driver ZQ8 GMC out running many cars. 

My cost was my helmet and entry. 

I have seen people win NHRA championships with rental cars. 

To be honest the truck was the most fun I have had for so little investment. I have drag raced and stock raced and both were much more expensive but I was having as much fun in the truck and not worried about hitting a wall or getting taken out by some idiot. 

Heck my sons Soap Box Derby cars could easily run up to $3000 with paint. The scales alone were a grand. 

ShelbyAvant
Pit Crew

You ever get in an accident, you'll break some glass, and you'll be glad you had gloves on. Not to mention how much better the drive can be with the right pair.
9lbhammer
Advanced Driver

Hey man be easy on that whole "10 seconds off the pace thing". I've been a little slower than most ever since we rode bikes around as kids 🙂

Have you ever done an article on the merits of racing motorcycles vs cars? I have a bike now and I have a signing bonus that's going to turn into a fast ish car soon. I'm an ok mechanic which may help keep costs down. I've got no interest in putting down a mortgage payment every month to be fast. I just have a job where getting busted doing 40 rolls will get me fired.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

That's a great idea -- at some point we will make Kyle Smith, our tame bike racer, a car racer and see how he likes it!
CalvinOSU
New Driver

Sounds like Jack and Rob Pitts have a frienemy in common 🙃
CitationMan
Gearhead

So I looked up "Ace" online, and I'm not going to judge him because I enjoy being indifferent, but it's interesting that he maintains such a public profile for whatever it is that he does. 

George Costanza: "It's not a lie if you believe it."

Worldrider
Intermediate Driver

Here’s a quote from Ace’s website:

“ Often described as the ultimate renaissance man…”.

That, to me, smells like the type of person who makes up their own nickname and then tries their damnedest to make it stick. Which, with the right friends, never works of course.

I think Jack is just the right type of friend for this scenario.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

He's often described that way!

By himself!
Adam12
Intermediate Driver

Then don’t get involved in aviation. You will meet plenty of these types with money but no knowledge. Will tell you all about the types they have flown and all about the handling characteristics, but you get them in an honest 152 or 172 and they can’t do the simple things a pre solo pilot is expected to do competently like hold a heading or complete the pattern. I hang with the guys who won’t share advice unless it’s asked for and take their counsel seriously. Two ears on mouth. Really helped checking out in a DC-3 rather than the unsolicited advice of “Aces” of this world.
CJinSD
Instructor

He also said that he has a "self-made racing background." It's all just a matter of perspective.
CitationMan
Gearhead

Since no publicity is bad publicity, Ace will probably add “as profiled in Hagerty” to his list of accomplishments.

Isaiah1000
Intermediate Driver

This is the oddest article I've read in a while. Is this the same author that was complaining about non-excellent drivers in vintage racing in the latest print issue of Hagerty?
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

I assure you it is not.
drhino
Technician

Jack;
Kudos on the musical talent introspection. Self awareness is a noble pursuit that few seem to undertake. It’s something I try very hard at— having a brutally honest wife certainly helps!

I’ve never heard of this guy. (But I did look him up.) Another reason I’m happy to be as far away from social media as possible. Although, this Hagerty community might qualify as social media…

Self awareness…
ChevyDave
Detailer

Jack, buddy, we get it: in this Golden Age of Phukery, Ace is our hobby's shining example; "Living His Best Life" and making sure everyone knows it.
But c'mon, he didn't cause global warming, create SARS-CoV-2, or blow-up an orphanage. Let it go....this isn't why I read your stuff. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUTGr5t3MoY
compaqdeskpro
Detailer

I found it informative. I don't mind a break from the doom and gloom myself.
Jfslater98
Intermediate Driver

And the last paragraph wraps it all up. I played around with Formula Fords back in teh 90s. Lime Rock exposed my (lack of) talent in a very obvious and expensive weekend. And while I didn't have the personality to turn that into a vintage racing "career", in the end Ace is boosting the same stuff we all love. Just not in the manner we find palatable.
Gary_Bechtold
Specialist

The internet is full of phonies. "Lovers of themselves", always taking selfies, pretending to be something they are not. Hoping some fool will believe them. It's why I am not on social media. I still see these fools in person from time to time and am amused at their desperate cries for attention on youtube.
Sburke
Pit Crew

Originally being from Ohio myself, the more I read. The more this sounded like a familiar name, I haven’t heard in eons.

Looks like it’s the same guy! Went down the rabbit hole, to see he has a fairly decent YouTube audience, where he seems to complain endlessly about how racing is ran…..

It appears people buy what he’s trying to sell em.

God bless America.
AlpinaC2
Intermediate Driver

Thanks for the anecdotal read, enjoy it thoroughly. It reminds me of the enjoyment of going to see a musician that is well beyond their prime, but the stories they tell are often better than the music and well worth the price of the ticket.
mikeb63
Pit Crew

Hits home to those on this side of the fence, and those on THAT side of the fence... brilliant.
Tsaxman
Advanced Driver

Guilty! Even though I was trained by Hurley Haywood, my last timed run on a track (in someone else's 911, of course), a guy in a Volvo station wagon cleaned my clock.

Didn't stop me from talking up a good game afterwards, about braking into the chicane as if I were the second coming of Ayrton Senna.
Tinkerah
Engineer

In my world of sticky stage floors and beer stained guitar cases I'd call him a poseur. And yes, poseurs seem to have a way with the ladies.
CJinSD
Instructor

All of the perceived danger without the off-putting intensity.

Swamibob
Technician

Well said!
ConfuciusRacing
Detailer

Ah yes, the juxtaposed position of the poseur and the genuine article.

I suppose the very crux of the essay is this:
When one (Jack or others) stops caring about the accolades the fraud is 'getting', then it really becomes a case of the Emperor's new clothes. Those who know, know and those that don't; believe the hype.

As for me, I agree, there is something to 'the love' of motorsport and full marks to you Jack for finding the very thin shred of 'redemption' this person might poses. Keen eye there.

Question: How does he get a babe to hang with him? Bravo Ace.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

Women respect self-confidence, earned or unearned.

That's my theory.
whitef
Pit Crew

The YooToob video that is sure to come as a result of this should be a hoot.

Ace does have quite an ego and comes up with some interesting conclusions about his place in the world. He seems to have created a tidy little existence though via whatever he does for income, and he probably married well (Not as well as the article's author or me. My success is the result of failure. I gather the author's may be as well).

So, who's to fault him? I've concluded that pretty much everything is just an ad supported TV show anyway. If enough people are watching the TV show, then kudos to him for creating the narrative that keeps the money flowing. And who knows, perhaps a young person will be genuinely helped along the way?
hyperv6
Racer

Say did this fake racer become a writer?

RokemRonnie
Instructor

<i>. I am absolutely committed to every part of being a great musician … except for the part where I’m actually a great musician.</i>

I'm not a very good musician but I've been a serious fan of a variety of musical genres since I bought a 45 of the McCoys' Hang On Sloopy (with a young Rick Derringer on guitar). I have over 500 LPs, about 700 CDs, and about 400 hours of live shows on cassettes and CDs, including some shows that I recorded myself.

As a writer I've been fortunate to be able to meet and interview a number of world class musicians, names that people would recognize. I've also invented and developed an electric harmonica called the Harmonicaster and in connection with that I've interacted with many, perhaps most, of the greatest harmonica players currently working as well as other world class musicians. At the Summer NAMM show I was literally standing next to Tommy Emmanuel as he put a Martin through its paces. Many people consider Tommy to be the best acoustic guitar player in the world. Just in the last few months I've seen, in fairly intimate venues, Jorma Kaukonen and David Bromberg, two disciples of the legendary finger picker, Rev. Gary Davis.

It's fair to say that I'm an informed music fan who can tell good from bad.

I have a friend who has excelled professionally in both technical and creative fields, simultaneously, no little feat. He's also a music lover with pretty good taste, a fine stereo system and a well thought out guitar collection. I was at his comfortable suburban house once, in a room filled with musical instruments that wouldn't look out of place at Daryl's House, and he was noodling on his carbon fiber acoustic.

I said to him, "You know, you're a good enough guitar player to be a professional musician." He replied, "That's probably true, but to do that I'd have to give up doing the things that make all of this possible," gesturing to the room, its contents, and the house surrounding us.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

The only ability that fellow has ever had... was the ability to pick writers!
fueledbymetal
Advanced Driver

Your final stance on this guy is what the Bad Brains call PMA. 🍺

Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

I haven't heard that in forever!!!
SlotcarThom
New Driver

I was thinking of CP as I was reading the article, if it would have mentioned an alleged foray into slot cars it would have nailed it for me.
ShortestCircuit
Intermediate Driver

*obligatory vinwiki interview
*flexing with unadjustable KW coilovers
On the plus side he seems harmless. The codrivers face in the photo where he's driving a "carbon fiber prototype" tells all.
ShelbyAvant
Pit Crew

I would personally like to see a video made that gets to the facts. It doesn't need to be truly mean-spirited, but hey sometimes the truth hurts doesn't it? If I were that brazen in front of so many for so long, I would certainly expect an audit of some kind eventually! The sad part for me is already covered somewhat in the article, and that is the fact that he is talented as all hell and has impeccable taste, but is just so full of that delicious bologna!
RallyRaid
Detailer

A lot of responders seem to think the article is written out of jealousy or pettiness, but several times Jack gives credit where it’s due. My takeaway is that, on some level, this guy is probably tormented by unnecessarily living a lie, given he could be equally successful regardless.
I once had a handsome friend who was fond of the odd lie and ridiculous embellishment. His accomplishments sounded like the combined dreams of every 12 year old boy you’ve ever met; expert guitarist, proficient in ninjitsu, ex-Commando regiment, decent at computer hacking, rode motorbikes…
What made his compulsive lying so crazy was that the above list was all true…
VADanno
Pit Crew

A kernel of truth is the building block for the outrageous lie. "Professional Race Car Driver" is a true statement on my resume, but sounds better than the drilldown reality: IMSA Firehawk driver, paid by one owner of the team to manage a satellite auto repair operation during the workweek. Still, any time you are driving someone else's race car in a pro series without any of your own money in the deal...that's a sweet deal!