Let Me Tell You About This Race: Max Whale

Every rider who has advanced to the Progressive American Flat Track ranks has competed in so many races throughout their life, it’s virtually impossible for them to recall every last one. However, some races are simply unforgettable, whether due to triumph, disaster, excitement, chaos, or hilarity.

In this series, we ask a number of the world’s greatest dirt trackers to tell us about one particular race that stands out in their memory, be it a Progressive AFT Main Event, a regional amateur race a decade ago, or simply an epic backyard barnburner.

Australian Max Whale has enjoyed a number of memorable races during his career, but one stands above the rest:

I've got a few races that really stick out – Oklahoma City Mile 2021 is one – but the one that means the most to me is the Peoria TT 2022.

I’m really good friends with Matthew Guenther, who used to race Progressive AFT. I live with his family when I’m in the States, with his mom Jill Singleton and stepdad Keith Singleton.

Me and Keith were really, really close. It was, I think, late 2021 that he was diagnosed with ALS. ALS is a disease that takes over your muscles and nerve system. I had spent that offseason in California, and when I went back home to Illinois after the first round of ‘22, I was shocked how rapidly the disease had set in. By Peoria he was in a wheelchair, but he still made it to the race. That really meant a lot to me.

At the time, I was still coming back from a broken leg. It was just my third race back, and my leg still wasn’t fully healed. And even though I had like five podiums that year, I didn’t have a win. And this is coming off of five wins the year before, so I was very hungry.

Me and Dallas Daniels hang out quite a bit, and we train together when we’re back home since we only live about an hour apart. I was telling him, ‘Man, I really want to win Peoria.’

It was one I had always wanted to win. Not only is it close to my American home, but even coming from Australia, it’s one of the races everyone talks about. It’s got so much hype with the fans on the fence and everything. It's very special. I mean, Thunder Valley – it's amazing.

I was so focused leading up to it and that continued right through the day. I went out straight away and was fastest in pretty much every session. I was the quickest that day, plain and simple. I wasn't going to settle for anything other than a win. It was either wreckers or checkers.

That was such a cool one for me, especially with Keith there. He passed away in February of 2023. It was a surreal feeling to get the win in front of him. He lived for racing, and he was one of my best mates. We hung out in the garage all the time. It was such a huge bummer to lose him.

So that one is very important to me. That was definitely special.

Racers Are People Too, Max Whale Edition

Favorite Food: Sushi

Favorite Restaurant/Stop to Hit on the Road: Texas Roadhouse

Favorite Band: Hilltop Hoods

Favorite Song: Hmmm… How about an old AC/DC classic like “Thunderstruck”?

Favorite TV Series: NASCAR: Full Speed

Favorite Movie: The Wolf of Wall Street

Hobby That Doesn't Involve Wheels/Engines/Racing: Golf