The man D.J. Netto had in mind to help get the family car headed in the right direction was veteran crew chief Brad Goebel. Earning his spurs, Brad had worked for Terry McCarl and the entire McCarl family.
Goebel has nothing but positive things to say about that experience.
“Austin (McCarl) and I are still tight, and Terry is passionate about sprint car racing and he races in order to eat,” Goebel noted. “He gets wound up and he hates mistakes. I have a lot of respect for that.”
Returning home to California, Goebel helped establish the Country Builder Construction team piloted by Kyle Offill. When Netto queried Goebel about joining forces, it could not have come at a better time.
“He is one of my best friends,” Goebel said. “I used to come down here in the off-season. He’s just a good guy. He wants to win, he is aggressive, but outside of the car he is fun and kind of goofy. He is a good fit for what I like. I have more of a temper than he does if something screws up or I think he isn’t driving hard.
“They are a great family, all of them. They all love racing and they are doing it because they love it, not because they think it is going to be D.J.’s career. That takes a lot of stress off me as a mechanic.”
The move also synched with their respective life goals.
“I’m 32 years old now,” Goebel said with a chuckle. “I like being home some weekends, because I was married to a race car for 15 years. Now I have a wife and kids, and life has changed for me. There’s a little bit more to life now than just worrying about a race car. So, with what D.J. wants to do and what I do, it is perfect. We met in the middle.
“He wants to support the King of the West Series, which I think is great. If we want to run somewhere else, we can, but if he doesn’t want to run we don’t run. I enjoy it. It is more relaxing. Now, understand, when it is go time for racing we are all hands on deck, but when it is go time for harvesting we’re all hands on deck too.”
Goebel’s last statement is the one that truly makes his involvement with the team a lot more interesting. He’s not just a racing mechanic, he is signed on to the entire Netto operation.
With a laugh he reported, “I have been in the low boy today. I have been fixing trucks and, really, I have done a bit of everything. I would say I am Frank’s right hand man when it comes to taking this truck here, take this dozer here, fix this. I do it.”
As Netto has taken on more of a role in the business, he counts on Goebel for more than just getting his sprint car ready.
“Brad does everything,” Netto said. “He takes care of race cars, he takes care of the trailer, he can work on semi-trucks, and he will move tractors if we need that. He really is a jack of all trades.”
Nonetheless, Goebel did come with a desire to go racing, and his employers are still interested in doing so. His driver, however, has made a fundamental shift in his perspective.
In May of this year, Netto graduated with a degree in Agricultural Business from Fresno State University. He now sees it as the best decision he ever made and credits his uncle for laying down the law.
In contrast with his teenage years, he now asserted, “This is my profession; this is what I want to do. I am full on with the harvesting.”
He views his entire racing enterprise in a completely different light.
“I look at it like this,” he said. “Our family business pays for what we like to do to have fun. If we don’t take care of business, we aren’t going to be able to have fun. I try to focus on this as much as I can, and when I go racing I focus on that. Brad really allows me to do that, because I don’t have to worry if the car is ready or well-maintained, because that is what he does.
“I mean, when we get going with harvesting, as we have for the past three weeks, it means 14- or 15-hour days. I don’t see the race car until I get to the track. He allows me to have that trust that the race car is going to be ready to go.”
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