GILBERT — Jamie Reberg considers himself an adrenaline junkie.
The 39-year-old Gilbert resident has drag raced snowmobiles, competed in hillcross and ice drags and even competed on dirt bikes when he was younger.
“I was an adrenaline junkie. If it ain’t putting me right on the edge of ‘holy crap’ it’s boring. I want that speed rush.
“This definitely gives you that,’’ Reberg said of his new ride in a 450 horsepower super stock race car.
Stepping up to the next level of motorized sports seemed only natural for the father of four.
He was into snowmobile racing for quite a few years and his uncles were “mud strips and building monster trucks’’ when he was growing up as a kid.
“I’ve always been involved in some kind of racing industry. I never thought I’d see myself in a car. I’m glad I took the leap.’’
Ironically, the opportunity came after he broke his neck in a work accident a few years ago and he was fully recuperated.
“Tyler Kintner presented me with an offer that I couldn’t really pass up’’ to buy the Super Stock that was formerly owned by the late Bobby Kintner of Mountain Iron. Reberg didn’t pass it up and Tyler Kintner was patient with Reberg as he paid off the car.
“I have nothing but respect for him. He’s a great guy, great driver. He’s knowledgeable. The whole Kintner family I have nothing but respect for them.’’
Reberg has had a mixture of success in six races so far in his rookie season behind the wheel.
“I was frustrated here on the Range because I couldn’t figure the car out. I had a lot of help which sometimes is overwhelming. I had so many people telling me what I should do to the car.’’
That led Reberg to head to southern Minnesota to a friend’s place and a track in that area. He knew he and his friend were on their own to set up the car. “Let’s just try out our thing and the car performed OK. I felt more comfortable and confident in the car.’’
Reberg continued his improvement last week in Proctor with his crew chief Casey Kintner in the pits. The pair made a serious suspension adjustment, changed gears and some shocks and spring, as well as trying different offsets with the tires.
“It took me a few laps to figure the car out ... but all of a suddent I could drive the car. It wasn’t driving me,’’ Reberg stated. He passed three guys on one lap and was amazed at how the car was performing. In addition, he got a little overconfident and flew off the track.
That didn’t dampen his enthusiasm, however.
“This is fun. I can drive the car now,’’ he said to himself. “It’s coming together. I don’t expect to be a competitor yet. I’m still learning, but I don’t plan on giving up.’’
Reberg has plenty of inspiration when he’s out on the track in his No. 59 Super Stock.
“The car is supposed to be a military themed car’’ in honor of his father Gary of Bear River. He added that his father is a Vietnam veteran who recently had a stroke. “I decided if I’m going to do this I’m going to do this for the military and for the veterans because that’s why we have the freedom.’’
The number on the car is actually his dad’s last company number in Vietnam, where he served two tours. “The last unit he was in was the 59th Land Clearing Division. That’s why that’s my number.’’
“I’m going to probably wreck this car in the process,’’ Reberg said, “but I’m going to race my heart out for them (veterans) and try to show them that I appreciate my freedoms.’’
Reberg said he still has some work to do on the car’s paint scheme, but he already has a POW/MIA decal on the side. He is also planning for an American flag to be through the number and a huge POW/MIA insignia on the hood.
“Hopefully by the Labor Day shootout it will be on the car. If not, there will be something on there. I know there’s going to at least be the U.S. Army star in front of the number.’’
While Reberg has experience racing a lot of things, the feeling behind the wheel of his Super Stock is completely different.
“It was very humbling. It’s not what people think. You have all these rednecks racing their trucks up and down these gravel roads. It is nothing like that. The whole concept of racing these cars is a whole nother world. People think you think you just get in these cars, hit the gas and go and that’s not true. There’s a lot more involved with it than that.’’
Reberg was surprised about that, too.
“I was pretty wild in my younger days. I could drive a car. You couldn’t catch me on back roads. Obviously you can catch me on the race track. I’m hoping to change that.’’
The Gilbert resident has talked to local racers and “there’s a lot of people out there that want to help you. They’re willing to help and that’s a really humbling feeling.’’
Reberg is trying to get his ‘’kids involved in the sport, so they’re concentrating on this and not drugs and alcohol and stealing stuff.’’
He added he wants his kids Wyatt, Hunter, Mackenzie and Conner to have a “fun childhood’’ just like he did growing up in the St. Stephen area and watching the races every Sunday. “If my kids weren’t interested in it, I wouldn’t be doing it. It’s a blast seeing all of them with smiles on their faces.’’
Reberg has his sights set on making it to the Labor Day Shootout in Hibbing. He knows his engine needs a little work and he’s doing everything he can to make it last. “I’m trying to take every precaution I can to save this car.’’
With Casey Kintner as the crew chief, Reberg is confident he can make it to the Shootout.
“He helps me make the biggest decisions on this car. Casey knows the car becaause he’s been around it his whole life. It’s nice to have somebody that’s familiar with what’s going on there. He’s pumped up. He wants to be involved and that’s really nice because it’s a lot of work. Without him and my kids’ support, I wouldn’t be able to do it by myself.’’
Reberg is unsponsored this season, but he may look for some sponsors next year. He has a definite plan for his car next season if that comes to be. His Super Stock will be Army green, look like a Sherman tank and have military insignia all over it.
“Anybody who’s going to sponsor my car has got to be military oriented because my car is going to be all about that from the time I start until the very end.’’
Reberg will be off this weekend, but plans to take part in the FastLane Invitational next Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Superior, Ashland and Proctor, respectively.