Day Motor Sports Driver Profile: Jacob Hortch helping STIMS get off to strong start

HUFFMAN, Texas — Ask just about any racer what a handful it is to run an active short track team while juggling the duties of work and family obligations. Now add in administrative chores for a brand-new Modified touring series, and you’ve got a plate that would overflow even with tall sideboards. 

For 23-year-old second-generation racer Jacob Hortch, that’s exactly what 2024 looks like. Hortch is a driving force behind the new South Texas IMCA Modified Series (STIMS), and says the tour is off to a strong start thus far. They’ve run nine races at four different tracks and had five different winners. 

“It’s been going very well so far,” Hortch said. “We’ve really enjoyed going to the different tracks; it has been a lot of fun as we establish ourselves with teams and track operators. We’ve had several veteran racers run our shows, and they all seem happy with the program overall. 

“We’ve seen great racers like Ryan Doyon, Chris Morris, Chris Carroll, Logan Dinsmore and Jared Maupin all reach Victory Lane this year. They’ve had to work for those wins because of the talent that shows up to these races. It’s certainly made for a very exciting first half of our inaugural season.” 

Hortch is also a skilled driver himself, and comes by his love for short track racing naturally. 

“My Dad raced for 30 years, so I’ve been around it all of my life,” he explained. “I think this will be my 12th season of driving, even though I’m only 24 years old. I was in a Factory Stock at 12, we had to sign off on some paperwork to say I was 14. Funny thing is, I was 14 a couple of years in a row. 

“I just packed the track in the back for a while until I learned the ropes. I’ve gotten the hang of it now, but it’s definitely a huge learning curve as you move though the ranks. In the Modifieds today, you’re up against some of the best short track drivers in the state. It’s become super competitive out there.” 

The concept behind the formation of STIMS is solid, and response thus far has been super positive. 

“In recent years across South Texas, the Modified scene had really declined,” Hortch said. “My Dad and I had thought about selling our car, but we love these cars and didn’t want to see them disappear. We knew we needed to do something, so we made the move to create STIMS and build it up. 

“We’ve been working with teams during our inaugural season; like rather than DQ them for a minor infraction, we give them a chance to get it right for the next event. We’re strict on rules and doing a lot of Tech Inspection, maybe more than what tracks were doing before. A level playing sure field helps.” 

When it comes time to take off the administrative hat and switch to racer, Hortch puts on a smile. 

“It’s been going pretty well with my car so far this year,” he explained. “We won our first Heat race last weekend. We have an older 2013 Kraft chassis here, we’ve kind of lost all of our notes and lost contact with anybody who has any setup knowledge for it. We’re kind of out of the picture on all the new stuff.

“We just keep throwing things at it to try and keep up with the newer cars. We’re always scrapping for used tires and whatever we can gather so we can just make it to the track. But we’re having fun as we take those big swings at the setup. Win, lose or draw – it’s quality time at the race track with family.”

Along with a supportive family, capable older car and rock-solid STIMS program, Hortch also has a  fine group of marketing partners who help to keep it all in motion.  

“As for my own team sponsors, I need to thank Lecolift, Lake Houston Brewery, TOYOMasters, TRUX Superstore, CED Conroe, Triple T Powersports, A&B Falcon Contracting, Deriso Construction and All American Racing Engines (AARE). I appreciate their support of my efforts.  

“We’d also like to thank all of our valued partners at STIMS, including Hortch Speed Shop, OnDemand Shirts, Fast1, Supreme Vinyl Works, Sundowner Performance Diesel, Three17Awards, Eastside Hotrods and Rachel Plant Photography. We couldn’t do this without them.” 

With summer’s heat settled upon us all nation-wide now, there are races to run and a future to plan. 

“We have given a little thought about next year, but don;t want to mess up what we have going right now and are focusing on doing things right for the remainder of this season. We’re going to try and do a couple of big races at the end of the year. 

“I think we’ll probably do a couple more All-Star races next year, and maybe have less races overall but make each one bigger and better. We just want to bring in more cars, put on a show for the fans and have a little fun in the process. If we can continue the momentum we’ve built this year, we’ll be fine.” 

By Phil Whipple, Staff Writer

Photo by Rachel Plant