Local 47 Sponsors Lineman’s
September 2005 IBEW Journal
Jobe Spyres doesn’t let his adrenaline go to waste. After eight years in the Marine Corps, including combat in Desert Storm, he started racing hobby stock cars and then entered his apprenticeship as an outside lineman in Vacaville, California, Local 1245, eventually transferring his ticket to Local 47 in Diamond Bar, California.
NASCAR’s Jobe Spyres
Today, when Spyres heads down the stretch at the half-mile oval track in Irwindale, California, as part of NASCAR’s Dodge Racing Series, he is proud that the hood and doors of his car are decorated with the insignia of the IBEW. “It’s a perfect opportunity for the IBEW to advertise and recruit,” he says, “but I also enjoy members coming out with their families to watch the races and help our team.
“I put their kids in the car. They can see it from the inside, smell the fuel and the tires and get a taste for what it’s like to race.” A few journeymen linemen and apprentices have volunteered to help Spyre’s team, High Voltage Motor Sports, in the pit. He expresses his appreciation for the $10,000 sponsorship by Local 47 that will be invested in improving his car and his chances.
“In the Marine Corps, I did rappelling and handled all kinds of weapons, but the greatest adrenaline rush that I’ve ever had came from racing cars,” says Spyres. With the support of his local, his wife Leslie and his employer, Henkels-McCoy, a contractor for Southern California Edison, he is eyeing the next level of NASCAR competition.
The “barebones minimum” investment by sponsors to get to the premiere Nextel NASCAR series is $35 million, he says. Testing a car’s aerodynamics in a wind tunnel alone costs $10,000 an hour. Then there are the big bucks for motors, chassis builders, tires and crews.
“Ask any driver, and they will tell you that the fans make this sport,” he says. NASCAR’s national audience is bigger than the Superbowl, the NBA Finals and the World Series combined, Spyres adds.
As he knocks out 10-hour days as a foreman, racing on weekends, Spyres doesn’t know if he’ll make it to the next level, NASCAR’s Southwest Tour, covering territory from Northern California to Phoenix, Arizona. He knows for certain, however, that members of the Brotherhood are cheering him on.
Pat Lavin, business manager and financial secretary of Local 47 says, “I have a soft spot in my heart for the United States Marines and IBEW linemen, being a live Marine and IBEW lineman. Local 47 is happy to be supportive of Jobe and the popular sport of NASCAR, benefiting our membership and the IBEW as a whole.”