Monday Conversation I: Andrew Short

Honda Red Bull Racing’s Andrew Short has quietly been putting in a very strong season. Sitting third in points right now as the series heads east, and also landing third in the main event in San Diego, we sat down with him after the race.

Racer X: I’ve been playing with you the last few weeks about the fact that it doesn’t seem like anyone is noticing how well you’re riding this year, and then tonight you go out and win your Heat race and then throw yourself on the podium. Do you feel like people should start to take notice about now?
Andrew Short: (Laughs) I don’t want to demand anything, but it seemed like everything came together really nice tonight, and I didn’t ride any different, but I just put myself in good situations and got good starts. I’ve had a great year so far, and I’ve been building, and I’m at the point in the season where I have a lot left in reserve and I should put in some good performances from here on out.

The other thing I know you’re sick of me making fun of you about is that you take so many guys out, and then tonight you took out Broc Hepler...
Yeah, I was moving up through the pack pretty quick, and I made some passes, and I came up the inside, and I didn’t think he was going to come down as quick as he did. I think he got kind of stuck in a rut and I kind of rubbed him a little bit. I definitely don’t want to take anybody down, and it’s unfortunate, but at the same time, I was moving forward, and I did that for 20 laps, and it felt really good to get on the podium. It’s great for me to be up there for the second time this year.

At the end of the race, it looked like you were gaining on Chad Reed a little bit and got pretty close to him...
Yeah, I wasn’t that far behind him when we crossed the finish line, but [Ryan] Villopoto was two tenths [of a second] behind me, so that tells you where the pressure was coming from. I held my composure really good, I think, and I could’ve been a little better, obviously, but for the most part, I rode a great race for 20 laps, and it was exciting to be sort of in touch with Reed. I don’t know if he was having an off night or what, but just about myself, I felt great.

Yeah, in that last turn, Villopoto tried to make a move on you. Were you expecting that? Did you know he was that close?
No, I wasn’t really expecting it, and maybe I should’ve been, but I was still looking forward and still riding as hard as I could, and it kind of scared me. He came up at the end of the berm, and I was really close to losing that podium position. I held it together, and he rode a great race, but the feeling of going across the finish line was pretty amazing. It was a great feeling with all the hard work paying off, and knowing that I still have more in the tank for the rest of the series.

Were you fast in practice?
No, I wasn’t blazing fast. I was like seventh-fastest, but I wasn’t very far off of second place. We were all really close, and today’s track was all about a start.

That’s kind of the story of the series.
Yeah, the same thing, but in terms of that, I put myself in a great position. I think a lot of people were going fast tonight, I just was moving forward and did some great things to put myself in that position.

What about your wife, Jackie? Is she understanding of you having to work on Valentine’s Day? Or are you going to have to make up for it later?
Yeah, I kind of blew it, because I got to the track and opened up my gear bag, and there was a card and some candy hearts, and I was like, “Awww, maaan!” I really kind of blew it. I was so focused on the race, and moving back to Texas and packing everything up from being on the west coast, so I kind of blew it. But her birthday’s in 10 days, and I have a really good present waiting for her at home...

What is it?
I can’t tell you. It would blow it.

Just tell her not to read the internet...
No, no, c’mon...

So, since you blew it, do you owe her one even bigger than her birthday present? Because it sounds like you had the birthday present planned before you blew it on Valentine’s Day...
No, no... I love her no matter what, and she’s got that good present, and that’s going to make up for it. (Laughs) I’m pretty confident... I’m kind of banking on the birthday present.

{LINKS}You said you’re heading back to Texas, and the series is heading back to those more rutted tracks back in the east... Do you feel like you have more to give for that kind of racing coming up?
Yeah, I think I have nowhere to go but up, and I’ve been learning a lot. Last year was tremendous in knowing what a full season’s like, and with the help of Jeff Spencer, I have a different outlook on how to approach this season. I think it’s really going to benefit me, and I’m excited to see how that turns out. I have a purpose and a direction, so knowing that, I feel really excited to get back east, knowing I’m going to get better, and I think I have a lot of upside to my racing. That’s what I’m most excited about.