At Jackie’s Restaurant in Milford, the decor still favors baseball, but the talk has shifted toward NASCAR.
“I don’t see how you can not talk about it,” waitress/cook Sue Sisson said. “Everybody here knows about Paul Wolfe’s success, and when you get out in the community, people know him and his family.
“Fans are fans; they know,” she continued. “I’m not what you would call a racing fan, but even I am talking about it.”
Wolfe, a 1995 graduate of Milford Central School, won the auto racing equivalent of the Super Bowl last November as the crew chief for 2012 Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski.
With the Daytona 500 on Sunday signaling the green flag for the 2013 season, Milford residents are still excited.
“He’s a local boy-made-good, how can you not love that?” said Art Kiser, owner of Kiser Sand and Gravel. “The thing is, he was a good kid and a well-liked kid. Personally, I thought it was really great to see him rewarded for his diligence.”
Kiser runs his own racing team locally in the Capitol Region Sprint Association. His son Mike, who grew up with Wolfe and graduated from Milford the same year, drives the team’s 305 sprint cars.
“Mike and Paul, they were neck-and-neck growing up when it comes to racing,” Kiser said. “A lot of people don’t know, but Paul was a great driver, too. He probably could have been a driver in NASCAR, but a lot of politics goes into it, and a lot of money goes into it. You can be a great driver, but if you don’t have the money, you aren’t going to get anywhere.”
Kiser said he gives Wolfe credit for finding a way into NASCAR.
“He went to the top very quickly,” Kiser said. “He earned it, too. He worked at a lot of small tracks, making not much money. He went out to school in Ohio to learn welding. He went down to Carolina because that’s where the NASCAR teams are.