Cody Knutson #98

Just when you thought Behind the Goggles was over, we're bringing it back! This rendition of the series is especially exciting since we're showcasing one of the newest Pro Champ driver's in the TLR Cup Tour series. 

With the ink still fresh on his Ski-Doo Racing contract, Cody Knutson is making big moves aside from becoming a factory supported driver. We're sure you've heard his name; he just had an extremely impressive year in Pro Lite leading him to win the points championship, and in 2013 he was named Limited 500 World Champ. 

So just how do you follow up a storybook season in the V-Force Pro Lite class? You take the next step and go Pro Champ racing. We have no doubt that Knutson and his team,Top Tier Motorsports, have what it takes to run with the top dogs - but you'll just have to follow along to see for yourself.

Q&A

How did you start racing: My parents bought me a 50cc dirt bike at the age of four. I entered my first race when I was five and I have been hooked ever since.

How did you pick your race number: My first kitty cat race was on a friend's sled; the number 98 was on the sled so I stuck with that number for my winter months and 241 for my summer dirt bike months.

Favorite racing memory: Clean sweeping the Pro Lite class at the 2016 Weyauwega Fire on Ice! From the minute we hit the ice on Friday for testing, I knew it was going to be a good weekend. The crew made perfect adjustments all weekend to the sled, which led us to never lose a race all weekend.

Worst racing memory: Crashing at the Wausau 525 due to a little inpatient driving on my part. The crew gave me a great sled and I went for the lead a little too early and got sent off the sled and into the hay bales. This was my first major crash on the Pro Lite sled. It taught me to be patient and respect the speeds we are going.

Ultimate racing goal: To become a World Champion in the Pro Champ division would be such a great honor. I grew up watching guys like Matt Schulz and PJ Wanderscheid become multi-time World Champions and always wondered how it would feel to cross that finish line first in such a big race.

Racing role model: Ryan Dungey - His work ethic on and off the track and his non-stop attitude to be the best that he can be. He shows recognition for his team, his family and the people who got him to where he is today. This is the same attitude I try to carry on and off the track. Always thank the people who help you get where you are today.

Favorite track: The Winter Spectacular in Alexandria, MN - the large banking provides a fast entry into the corners and the half-mile track size lets the engines roar.

Pump-up songs: Where da Hood by DMX and Pop a Top by Alan Jackson. After a big win in Alexandria our crew member Lee played both of these songs as the team celebrated. Ever since then it has stuck. When the songs are playing, good things happened.

Pre-race routine: Get all my gear laid out and go sit in the front of the trailer where it is quite and slower, then get suited up while trying visualize the race in my head.

Post-race routine: Drop the sled off for my crew and begin the walk back to our trailer while replaying the race in my head so I can provide my crew chief with good data/notes.

Do you talk to yourself while you're racing: For the most part no - in this type of racing everything happens so fast you barely have time to think. There are times during red flags or when its taking a while to get everyone up to the line I say a few words to myself, mostly just to stay calm and breath.

Biggest pet peeve: CLEAN GOGGLES/VISOR - Vison is key in this sport. I have designated crew member who holds a spare pair of goggles and clean rags to wipe them down.

How do you stay in shape during the off-season: I work in the excavation/landscaping field as well as participate in a fitness program put on by my trainer and crew member Vaughn.

Advice to anyone starting their race career: I once was this person, I set small goals at first and continued to raise the bar higher. Once those goals were met, I made new ones and wouldn't give up until I was satisfied with the outcome. If you put your heart and soul into racing, good things will come.

Dream job: I've always thought it would be great to be able to work for a company that sponsored me throughout my run as a racer; in a role such as a race support coordinator.

If you didn't race in the winter, what would you do:Probably continue to own a race team and bring up the younger generation of drivers. After all they are the future of our sport, without them we have nothing.

Funniest prank pulled on a fellow racer: To be honest, I don't think there are any pranks that I have pulled on a fellow racer. With my crew? Pranks are being pulled any time, any place. The classic poke a pin hole in a soda can and watch the person dribble all over their shirt is the most common. More duct tape is used for fixing soda cans then the sled.

Follow along with Knutson and the team as they take on their rookie Pro Champ season. Find them on FacebookYouTube,Twitter, their website and Instagram.

FAST FACTS:

Team: Top Tier Motorsports
Hometown: Plover, Wisconsin
Sled: 2015 Wahl Bros./Ski-Doo
Years Racing: 19
Marital Status: In a relationship
Top Speed: 98 mph (Pro Lite)
Hardest driver to pass:Gavin Bihner
Hobbies: Spending time out on the boat with friends, camping, going to local late model stock car races, up-keeping of my rental properties.
Favorite TV show: Seinfeld - probably have seen every episode 10 times but it's always a thrill to wonder if I've ever seen this one episode before.
Number of broken bones: Racing – 0; car accident - 2
Favorite gear: Jacket and pants; it's nice having a variety of good looking color schemes to choose from, from my great sponsor FXR Racing.
Number of blown motors:3 - all before the 2015 race season started! Needless to say, I was scared to ever go back to that test track.
Distance traveled to races/season: Anywhere from 6,000 to 8,000 miles


SPONSORS:

Ski-Doo, FXR Racing, MADA/FASTSIGNS - Stevens Point, WI, Woody's Traction Products, Coca-Cola, Lucas Oil, NGK Spark Plugs, Beaver of Wisconsin, Precision Glass & Door, Moto Tassinari, Donahue Super Sports, Kramar Plumbing, Midway Machine, Farm Team Films, Bigs Sunflower Seeds


CREW:

Gary Kawleski, Kyle Hopp, Bernie Plummer, Jeff Schlutter, Brian Knutson, Roche Rossier, Lee Dempsey, Michael Jaworski, Brittany Krause, Elaine Kawleski, Allie Roth, Vaughn Grube, Grandparents