Winner’s Stories – Search for a Champion

The First SFAC Winners – Corey and Kyle Michalek

2012 Search for a Champion winners, drag racing brothers Kyle and Corey Michalek

The Michalek brothers have been drag racing together for eight years. Kyle has been racing for 13 years and Corey for 10 years. They crewed for Mark Thomas on his alcohol car in the IHRA. Both brothers are licensed A Fuel dragster drivers.

In 2011 Corey was reading a drag racing website when he noticed a banner ad for the Champion Spark Plug’s Search for a Champion contest. Both brothers were racing a super comp car at that time. Corey is an art director at a digital agency so he was interested in the editing part of it. According to Corey, getting their story down to two minutes was the tough part, they had a lot they wanted to say and not much time to say it. “It’s the racer’s form of an elevator pitch,” said Corey.

The brothers brainstormed for two nights to come up with their script and then the whole video was shot one night starting at 5:00 PM in the afternoon and finishing at 5:00 AM in the morning. When the video was submitted and the contest opened the brothers did radio interviews, took ads out in local newspapers, promoted very heavily via social media, ran trivia contests with free T-shirts to winners, just about everything they could think of to get votes.

“When we won it changed our racing careers on the spot,” says Corey. He said that they had proved on a public stage that they could sell themselves to a Fortune 500 company and that gave them the confidence and credibility to go out and seek the opportunities and other sponsors they needed. So winning was about a lot more than just the money.