Ryan Murkowski #87

This week's featured Behind the Goggles driver is just starting to get his feet wet in the Pro Champ ranks of the TLR Cup Tour, although he has well over a decade of experience racing on the ice oval. Last year, Athens, Wisconsin's Ryan Murkowski competed in just four rounds of Pro Champ action but this season will be even more of a transitional one as he intends to race in both Pro Lite and Pro Champ each weekend.

Racing is a major part of the Murkowski family history and many family members make up the crew and cheering section for Ryan and his brother Brad, who also races. We think he's one you'll want to get to know, so go ahead and get your head start here.

Q&A

strong>Favorite racing memory: In 2013 I won every heat and final in Semi Pro F-500.

How did you get started racing: My family has been racing since the 70's so I was born into and it's in my blood. I loved watching my dad and my uncle Russ race and I always dreamed of racing.

How did you pick your race number: My dad's number was 486 and my uncle Russell's was 488 so I went in the middle and picked 87.

Racing role model: My uncle Russ; he just made racing fun and always pushed my brother and I to race.

Favorite track: The Winter Spectacular in Alexandria, Minnesota. It's just a fast track and you're always on the throttle.

Ultimate racing goal: Finishing top five in points in the TLR Cup Tour.

If you didn't race in the winter, what would you do: Racing has always been in my head. I've never thought of what I would do if I didn't race.

Hardest driver to pass: Everyone is depending on the circumstances.

Worst racing memory: In 2014 when I broke my neck in three places at Eagle River.

Pre-race routine: Making sure my machine is track ready.

Post-race routine: Telling my crew how the sled was handling and the changes that need to be made.

Do you ever talk to yourself while you're racing: Never really have time to talk, there's barely enough time to think what to do.

Hobbies besides racing: Farming, hunting, fishing and tractor pulling.

How do you stay in shape during the off-season: Farm work and my job always has me running around.

Advice to anyone interested in starting their race career:No matter what the outcome is weekend to weekend, never give up on your dreams - good things will happen.

How many miles do you drive on average to races in one season: I haven't kept track but I know it's a lot.

Keep up with Murkowski and his team's efforts this season by Liking their Facebook page.

FAST FACTS:

Team: Murkowski Racing/Portable Welding Racing
Hometown: Athens, Wisconsin
Sled: 2015 Polaris Pro Lite/2016 Polaris Pro Champ
Years Racing: 14
Marital Status: In a relationship
Nickname: Murks
Top Speed: Somewhere between106-109 mph
Biggest pet peeve:Goggles fogging up
Number of motors blown up: A lot, too many to count
Favorite TV show: Big Bang Theory and CSI
Number of broken bones: Too many
Dream Job: Farming
Favorite gear: My neck brace
Pump-up Jams: Any rock song


SPONSORS:

Fly Racing, Triple 9 Optics, Woody’s, Polaris, Rockstar Energy Drinks, NGK, Portable Welding, Rausch Farms, Seuburt Calf Ranches, Murkowski Farms, Jahnke Construction, Black Rock Ready Mix, Switlick and Sons Construction, T&C's Bar, Stratford Sign Company, US Chrome


CREW:

Rick, Randy, Brad, and Bret Murkowski, Brad Lemmer, Portable Dave, Animal, Andy Michlig