Ti-Lube/Tuf Racing's Dave Antolak and Monster Energy Kawasaki/Team Babbitt's Denny Bartz are two of the most elusive, yet important people in AMSOIL Arenacross. We use the word elusive because they aren't in the lime light very often, yet they are the point command for their individual race teams. Both team managers have been around for decades and have been highly successful. However, rivalries don't simply exsist between racers as the team managers also go head to head for main event wins championships. We caught up with two of the biggest names in AMSOIL Arenacross to get their perspectives on some questions.

-You have been on the AMSOIL Arenacross tour for a long time. What keeps your passion for each season alive and well? 

DA: Well we did Supercross and MX from 1985 till 1993, but as the team did better it took too much time away from the business. Switched to AMSOIL Arenacross in 1996 because the season went from November till February and fit in perfect with it being the slow time for MX in the Midwest. Fell in love with the intensity of the racing and the comradery with it being a smaller show and have only missed one year since when we went back to SX for a year. It gives us our racing fix without being a full time job.

DB: I think the competitiveness in everyone makes them want to stay involved in a sport they enjoy. The challenges to put together a successful championship caliber race team, and the feeling it rewards you with when you do win the championship. 

-The logistics with a race team following a championship can be hectic. What is one of the most memorable travel stories from your team? 

DA: One of my favorites was in 2007 when Danny Smith won the championship in Nashville the same weekend as the big trade show in Indy. I drove down from the show Saturday, we won the championship, and then the whole crew jumped in the race truck after the race and celebrations and drove back for the trade show on Sunday. When we got to Indy about 2 in the morning and there were about 10 riders, mechanics, and misc. sleeping in the 2 beds. It had been a while since we won and it was appropriate that we celebrated just by ourselves.

DB: Probably the most hectic and memorable was this season in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was round one with four riders four mechanics. All of the new riders in the series and no one knew who would be the next guy with Tyler gone and everyone believing they were the next Champion. The event turn out was I believe 100 entries and the pits were absolutely full. Plus, it was extremely cold outside.

-What is your favorite city/venue to visit on the AMSOIL Arenacross tour and why? 

DA: My favorite AX race was always the opener in Des Moines, Iowa. It always seems to me that was where AMSOIL Arenacross was born. It has been a few years since we have been there but I always hope to see it come back.

DB: The best Venue for the team is Grand Rapids, Michigan. It's always a good turn out there and of course the Babbitt's Dealership is thirty miles north of there so we get to showcase our team to all of the dealerships customers by having the open house.  

-What is the toughest aspect of being a team manager? 

DA: I would have to say having a team that gets along well. I think that is where we have an advantage I have had mostly the same mechanics for the last 10 years. We have won six championships with six different riders, but the core group has remained mostly the same with Tracin and Andy keeping everything running smoothly year after year. We have fun racing, I don’t really think all the other teams do. If my mechanics and team members stop doing it I may have to retire too, because we're in it together.

DB: Honestly the toughest part for me is preseason negotiating with sponsors trying to make sure there's enough funding to go racing and win races. Also riders negotiations at times can be hectic. We stepped out of our comfort zone in 2013 (financially) by signing a three-year-deal with Tyler Bowers but we were concerned that a Supercross team would make him an offer that he would take knowing that's where he wanted to be to further his opportunities in the sport. But Eddie Babbitt and I thought it was best for the team to make it happen.

-If you could be a coach or team manager in any other sport, what would it be? 

DA: I coached my girls in soccer and when they got to high school some of the parents asked me to coach them there. I wished I could have done that. Girls are way easier to coach than guys are.

DB: I think if I could pick a sport to be a coach or team manager at other than AMSOIL Arenacross is tough, because I am so content in this sport. At my age it would have to be coaching my three grandkids in what ever sport they choose to participate. They truly are the most enjoyable thing in my life.

-Tell us about the Las Vegas Finals. It was an epic battle and somebody had to win and somebody had to lose.

DA: Well I am happy we won but I am not really happy about the way it happened. I thought Hayes’s assault on Regal was totally uncalled for. That’s not the way we want to win championships, we like to do it the old fashion way by being the fastest guy.

DB: The Las Vegas Final was probably the best AMSOIL Arenacross Championship race in many years, or maybe ever. I think there was six or seven guys that mathematically could have won. But realistically, Team Babbitt's went there with a shot for Jacob Hayes or Matt Goerke to come out with the championship. After the first main Matt was out with a broken collar bone. The battle was between Jacob and Kyle. I think going into the second main Kyle and Jacob both knew the championship was their's to lose. Like you said someone had to win and someone had to loose. For those of you that were at other rounds, you knew there was quite the rivalry between Kyle and Gavin Faith on the Ti-lube Husqvarna team and Matt Goreke and Jacob Hayes on the Babbitt's team. Everyone knew it was going to be a dog fight at the last round. I think if the tables were turned Kyle would have cleaned Jacob out for the win. But, hats off to Kyle Regal, Joe Murphy and the whole Ti-Lube Husky team on a good season and the championship. They worked hard for it this year and it showed on the track. We look forward to the challenge in 2016.