Instructors

Professional Drivers- Closed Course

 

B.R.A.K.E.S. is very fortunate to have some of the best professional driving instructors in the industry teaching our Teen Pro-Active Driving School classes. Our instructors come from different backgrounds, many have taught at the leading driving schools: Bob Bondurant, Skip Barber, Jim Russell and the BMW Performance Center. Some have trained the Secret Service for the government, performed as precision drivers for commercials and movies and all have a background in racing at different levels of both professional and amateur competitions like NASCAR, SCCA, NHRA, American LeMans and Drifting. Many of our instructors have become passionate about B.R.A.K.E.S. due to their own personal losses or injuries caused by car accidents.

Our Focus Is Simple-

To provide your teen driver with the best driver training possible to help establish a better foundation of safe and responsible driving that will last a lifetime.

Meet Our Instructors

MATT REILLY (B.R.A.K.E.S. Director)

mattAfter suffering the loss of his Mother-In-Law from a “distracted driver” accident, Matt came to B.R.A.K.E.S. at the very begining to help Doug get the driving school started and run the charity. He was a natural fit having spent his entire adult life working as a professional driver/instructor.  Matt has instructed for the Bob Bondurant school, Skip Barber and Jim Russell Racing schools plus worked for various car manufacturers designing and managing their dynamic driving events. He has competed on road courses, ovals and dirt tracks winning 3 driver championships and has trained some of the biggest names in the sport: Dale Earnhardt Sr., Bill Elliott and Jeff Gordon to name a few.

DOUG VAN DEN BRINK

Having raced just about everything from Karts to Drift cars, Doug Van Den Brink has been involved in competitive motorsports nearly all of his life. While he keeps his eye on returning to circuit racing, Doug is currently a competitor in both the FormulaDrift and Xtreme Drift series. When not smoking-down tires at tracks all across the country, he regularly spends time with us here at B.R.A.K.E.S. where he has been an instructor going on 4-years. Doug also continues to teach at high-performance schools as well as helping automobile manufacturers debut new products.

 

RICK SWARTS

Rick has been involved with B.R.A.K.E.S. teen schools since 2009, he brings 20 years of Automotive Marketing and Management experience. Rick’s racing career started in Southern California in open wheel formula cars, he was a Jim Russell Giles Villeneuve Memorial Rookie of the Year Scholarship winner and also a Fast-Five driver in the competitive Bondurant ProSearch program. He has worked numerous manufacturer new vehicle launches and large scale sponsorship programs for the NHRA. Rick currently works at the NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, North Carolina.

 

DAVE WANDERLESS

Englishman David has a racing background of 26 years and has covered all racing categories from Karting to GT endurance races. He has won British championships in Formula Ford single seater cars and many races in Porsche GT3′s. David is a brand ambassador and test driver for many different car manufacturers including Rolls Royce, Lamborghini and Lexus. His driving knowledge and experience has taken him all around the world teaching teens and adults to race cars and be better drivers.

 

GERRY GLENN

Son of 1971 NHRA Top Fuel World Champion, Gerry’s love for driving was planted at a young age. Gerry became a 4 time International Karting Federation National champion and World Karting Association champion. Then he moved on to open wheel racing competing in Super Vee, Formula Atlantics and the American Indy car series. Gerry currently stays busy working in the industry conducting dynamic driving events for automotive manufacturers and as a precision driver for the film industry. When he is not working you can find him behind the wheel of his Modified.

CHUCK HAWKS

Chuck has over 30 years experience in professional motorsports – if it has four tires on the ground, Chuck teaches, coaches or drives it. He is considered one of the country’s best classroom instructors as well as in-car coaches in the performance and race industry. Chuck is also committed to making our public roads as safe as possible and has worked with B.R.A.K.E.S. since it first started. When not helping people improve their driving skills, Chuck works for auto manufacturers training sales, service and corporate staff on performance enhancement.

 

JUSTIN JOHNSON

Justin began his racing career at the age of 12. He has been climbing the NASCAR ladder to get to where he is now, in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Justin has also been a driving instructor for both Ron Fellows and Derek Daly driving schools, teaching people how to drive high performance sports cars. He joined the B.R.A.K.E.S Teen Driving program in 2011 and wishes he had a teen driving school like B.R.A.K.E.S when he got his license. When Justin is not racing or teaching he likes to go camping, fishing, hiking, snowboarding, and any other outdoor activity.

 

ADAM SCHOONMAKER

Adam has been instructing with B.R.A.K.E.S. for the past 3 years. He has over 15 years experience as an autocrossing competitor and is a multi-time SCCA National Tour trophy winner. He also has 6 years of autocross novice instruction. Adam currently is working as a Design Engineer for an Armored Vehicle Manufacturer (Indigen Armor) and is the Co-Owner/Co-operator of a small hot rod shop with his Dad, Alan (who is also a B.R.A.K.E.S. instructor).

 

BILL WILLIAMS

Bill is an experienced instructor currently instructing performance driving schools for NASA, SCCA, PCA, BMWCCA, and other national car clubs. He has been racing cars for over 40 years and is licensed to race in PCA, NASA, and SCCA sanctioning bodies. His varied experience in car/student types and ages provides an outstanding background for a B.R.A.K.E.S. instructor. He enjoys utilizing his expertise to help young drivers learn the skills that will prove invaluable over the years.

 

FLYNN BAGLIN

Flynn is usually hidden behind dark sunglasses and tinted windows working in front of the camera as a precession driver for many car camercials and movies. He also is a highly sought after driver working for different vehicle manufacturers conducting high performance driving events. Flynn races regularly in both Rally and Drifting competitions; he lives in Southern California and instructs at the B.R.A.K.E.S. schools held in Pomona.

 

BILL BOYE

Bill has a long history in the sport as a driver, instructor and builder of race cars. He has competed in all forms of competition: dirt, road racing, endurance and oval tracks. Bill has a passion to train young drivers and was one of the very first B.R.A.K.E.S. instructors. He is currently mentoring Chase Elliott, son of NASCAR driver Bill Elliott. He regularly comes up from Atlanta to instruct at the Charlotte schools.

 

JEFF MOORE

Jeff brings a wealth of instructing experience to B.R.A.K.E.S. He has been a chief instructor at the Bondurant school, Fast Ttrack and Richard Petty driving experience. He has competed in road racing and oval track racing in numerous type of vehicles: formula cars, sports cars, endurance and stock cars. Jeff currently is working as a product specialist for Toyota traveling the country training sales and service personnel. He has taught B.R.A.K.E.S. schools in Charlotte, Phoenix and Pomona.

 

ALAN SCHOONMAKER

For the past 30 years Alan has been competing in SCCA Solo competition winning multiple National trophy wins and Northeast Division championship. He has also owned and has been a crew chief for 2 National championship winning cars. He coached youth sports for 15 years. He and his son Adam (also a B.R.A.K.E.S. instructor) operate a small hot rod shop.

 

 

BRANDON SPERLING

Brandon is a former motocross and shifter kart national champion from Southern California. Working his way up the formula car ranks pursuing an IndyCar career, Brandon got an opportunity to drive in the NASCAR Nationwide Series relocating him to North Carolina where he competed in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, NASCAR Truck Series and the American Speed Association Series. He has shared his professional driving experience with numerous performance driving and racing schools around the country and enjoys developing new drivers into skilled, confident drivers through B.R.A.K.E.S.

ROSSELLA MANFRINATO

Rossella is a Mechanical Engineer specializing in in Vehicle Dynamics; she’s published a book, “Identification of Damping and Stiffness Parameters of a Motor Racing Car”. She has been involved in racing for over 15 years, both inside and outside of the cockpit. She worked in IndyCar, the American Le Mans, Grand-Am, Star-Mazda, FF2000 and GP2, performing Race and Data Engineering duties as well as Team Manager, Logistic Coordinator and Director of Administration. As a driver, Rossella is the former two-time Champion in SCCA’s S.E. Division National Competition and SARRC Champion (South Atlantic Road Racing Championship) in Formula Continental, was winner of the Pegasus Passing Award at Mid-Ohio Runoffs in C Sport Racing, winner of Sunoco Hard Charger Award in FC at Road America Runoffs and holds a track record there. Rossella has been proudly involved with the B.R.A.K.E.S. charity since 2009.

JASON SIMPSON

Jason started his driving career in karts, then worked his way up the ladder to NASCAR Late Model stock cars. Currently he is working with Ford Motor Company as a product specialist, training dealer personnel on new products. Jason brings a wealth of driving experience and passion to our teen schools- his Dad was unforturtanetly killed in a car accident. Jason resides in Concord, NC with his wife and young daughter Madison.

 

 

GABE HENDERSON

Gabe was born in Bozeman, MT and always had a love of cars. He started racing in SCCA, competing there for 5 years; then he joined the Marines Corps where he fought in two tours of Iraq. Upon returning home he began working at the BMW Performance Center as an instructor for both the motorcycle and driving programs. He currently lives in Boiling Springs SC and competes regulary in Drifting competitions.

 

 

JEFF FULLER

Orginally from Massachusetts, Jeff grew up in a racing family and quickly started showing progress behind the wheel, winning numerous races and championships in the Modified divisions. He moved to NC to compete in the NASCAR Nationwide division, where he currently drives for NEMCO Motorsports. After discovering B.R.A.K.E.S. Jeff wanted to start supporting the mission, and he began instructing at our driving schools. All three of Jeff’s teens have graduated from the B.R.A.K.E.S Teen Pro-Active Driving School.

 

DARREN YOUNG

Darren has competed in road racing for over 27 years, from SCCA Club racing to driving for a Nissan factory endurance racing team. He spent many years as a professional photographer and cinematographer before starting his present automotive consulting company, ArtSpeed. Darren is currently the lead instructor for the BMW CCA L.A. Chapter, has taught at many teen safe-driving schools, and works as a facilitator and product specialist for numerous manufacturers, conducting dynamic driving events, new vehicle launches and sales training programs.

 

JOHNNY KANAVAS

“Johnny K” has over 20 years of competitive driving experience in everything from go-karts, vintage cars, world challenge touring, drifting and 24 hours endurance racing. When not competing, he is busy coaching drivers, working on manufacture events, training the military/law enforcement, giving driving demonstrations, and training celebrities. He owns his own media design and marketing company. When not behind the wheel of a car, Johnny can be found playing the drums.

 

MARK WOLOCATIUK

Mark’s racing career spanned almost 20 years in nearly every type of race car from formula open wheel to stock cars, production cars and even some ice racing experience. Mark was senior and/or chief instructor at the Jim Russell Racing Driving School for 28 years and developed their Highway Survival program. He has worked for nearly every car company as a product specialist, and has numerous credits as a “professional driver on a closed course” in commercial and TV work. He has two Mythbusters episodes to his credit. Mark has a passion for teaching safe driving habits- his Father was killed in a car accident.

DEREK ROSS

Originally from Canada, Derek brings two decades of driver coaching, instructing and presenting experience to the B.R.A.K.E.S. program. He was involved with the early developement of our teen program and has taught classes in both Charlotte and Pomona. Derek has competed in everything from go-karts, formula cars, endurance and stock cars. Currently Derek is working with Penske Racing.

 

 

MARGY EATWELL

margyMargy began her racing career at the young age of 11 learning the early responsibility of safe driving. She has competed Professionally in IMSA Endurance and SCCA World Challenge. Margy also served as a pace car driver in the CART Indy Car series for 10 years and was an instructor for the Marlboro Racing School for four years. Currently, Margy conducts automotive product training and marketing events for various manufacturers.

 

 

BILL FOLLMER

His family name is synonymous with US road racing and Porsche motorsports. Bill has competed heavily in endurance racing and motocross. When not behind the wheel he can be found training movie stars to prepare them for the celebrity race at the Long Beach Grand Prix. He currently owns Orange County Race Craft that conducts High Performance driving events. Bill has also dedicated his time to work with numerous teen driver programs and has taught B.R.A.K.E.S. schools in both Pomona and Charlotte.

 

RON NELSON

Rons career as a professional driver was a full one; he was a fierce competitor in formula cars, endurance and Camel Lights prototypes. Having served as the Chief Instructor for the Bondurant school for many years. Ron helped fine-tune the skills of thousands of drivers. He currently is the owner of the The Driving Connection, a firm that supplies professional drivers to the automotive industry for filming, press launches and dymanic driving events. Ron was involved with the initial B.R.A.K.E.S. driving school and has taught classes in both Charlotte and Pomona. His younger brother was seriously injuried in a head on collison caused by a drunk driver.

KELLY COLLINS

For most of his life Kelly has competed in some form of racing- he started in motorcross and desert racing, then on to road racing in formula cars. He became a lead instructor for the Skip Barber Racing School and then earned a fulltime ride in a factory Corvette for Chevrolet. Winning races at Sebring, Daytona and numerous tracks all over the US, he has also been on the podium at the 24 hours of Lemans. When not competing behind the wheel or instructing Kelly can be found surfing on the Southern California coast.

 

JON CAPPS

Growing up in NHRA Drag Racing it was only a matter of time before Jon would get behind the wheel to test his skills. Currently he competes in a Nitro Funny Car. Jon’s family has been close to the Herbert family and big supporters of the B.R.A.K.E.S. charity. Jon has taught B.R.A.K.E.S. schools in numorous locations: Charlotte, Pomona and Phoenix. He currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada and stays busy racing a Nitro Funny Car and conducting automotive driving and training events for numerous manufactures.

 

 

KEITH CONVERSE

Keith is one of the younger instructors working at the B.R.A.K.E.S. schools, and brings along a ton of energy. He has been competing in SCCA road racing, and at the same time working his way through college. For the past 2 years, Keith has been instructing at the B.R.A.K.E.S. schools in Charlotte- He currently resides in Atlanta Georgia and keeps himself busy conducting consumer marketing events for differnt manufactures.

 

 

STU HAYNER

One of the premier endurance racers in the country, Stu has a career full of records and wins: a world record in speed endurance, a Corvette Challenge championship and a consistent front runner in the Trans-Am series. Stu works with many of the premier-brand automotive manufactures conducting training and dynamic driving events. He also spends time grooming young upcoming drivers in karting. Having suffered through a personal experience of a family member being injuried in a accident caused by a drunk driver, Stu is a strong supporter of the B.R.A.K.E.S. program.

 

PHIL CREIGHTON

Race engineer and prep shop owner specializing in road racing -open wheel and long distance racing for over 30 years. IMSA Prototype Championship team owner. Restoration facility for significant historical racing cars. Current Rolex GT team with Mazda RX8 Riley chassis. Member of the Sports Car Club of America Board of Directors and SCCA Pro Racing Board of Directors. Former Safety Committee and Competition Board Chairman. Proudly involved in the B.R.A.K.E.S. charity for three years now!

 

 

JEFF BODNAR

Jeff’s background in driving instruction covers many areas: race tracks, high performance driving, government training, stunt driving- you name it he’s done it. Jeff helped develop and run the Toyota Teen Driving program. He also teaches driving techiques to many of the stars that drive in the Long Beach Grand Prix Celebrity race.

 

 

JIM STROWD

A pilot by trade flying jets for US AIRWAYS Jim has been a enthusiast of fine automobiles and a long time member of the Porsche Club of America. He has spent many hours behind the wheel at track events and autocrosses as well as instructing from the right seat. Jim has been a big supporter of the B.R.A.K.E.S. charity often teaching at the Charlotte location.

 

 

 

RICHARD PARKS

Rich was raised in the sport of racing and started his driving career behind the wheel of a go-kart then quickly worked his way up the ladder to NASCAR late models where he competes now. He also spent many years traveling the country as a driving instructor with the Richard Petty Driving School. When not behind the wheel Rich is currently a factory trainer for Volkswagen providing dealerships with sales and service training. Rich was one of the first B.R.A.K.E.S. instructors and has worked every class at the Charlotte location.

 

 

RICK FAIRBANKS

A full time instructor with the BMW Performance Center in Spartanburg SC, Rick’s background is varied in different road race classes competing in a vartiy of different cars and motorcyles. He began instructing with B.R.A.K.E.S. at the first class at the BMW Performance Center and comes to Charlotte often to teach the classes at zMAX Dragway. Rick has also taught B.R.A.K.E.S. classes in Kentucky. He also has helped with designing the curriculm and procedures of the classes.

 

 

BURKE SCHULZ

Burke first got involved in racing, as crew member for a sprint car team, during high school, in his home town of Burlington Iowa. Burke began professional work in the automotive industry in 1980 as a mechanical engineer and developed as a test driver in the world wide automobile manufacturing environment. Since 1996, Burke has been a trainer for car control skills, tire and vehicle testing skills, as well as a student of vehicle dynamics. He believes strongly in the value of continuous training, education and improvement.

 

 

MAC DEMERE

Mac has raised two teenage drivers and is an accomplished racing and testing professional with 16 years of racing experience. Wide ranging racing exposure includes oval track, road racing, and adherence to critical testing criteria. He was the Senior Road Test Editor for Motor Trend magazine, each year conducted performance tests on some 300 vehicles—from Ferraris to minivans. Also did precision driving for photos and videos. He has taught B.R.A.K.E.S. schools in Charlotte, Kentucky and Pennsylvania.

 

 

JP MOLNAR

JP has been in the performance/tactical driver training and racing business for more than 20 years, winning several driver championships and numerous races. He has spent 20+ years under contract with major automotive manufacturers, conducting product development and sales training programs, as a test driver, performance course designer, instructor and project leader. JP is a former State Trooper, and considered a court-recognized expert in vehicle dynamics, traffic and DUI enforcement. He is also a Certified Technical Accident Investigator and has been a law enforcement driver training instructor since 1990. He has taught at numerous racing schools and also teaches motorcade operations for diplomatic security and anti-kidnapping training companies in contract with the United States State Department. JP is a published writer and photographer for automotive and trade magazines with more than 350 published articles and 25 magazine covers since 1989. He has taught B.R.A.K.E.S. schools in Charlotte, Phoenix and California.

TOM RICKETTS

Raised in Southern California Tom honed his driven skills competing in the competiive world of shifter karts racing. Tom then moved on to Off-Racing competing in motorcycles and Buggy’s for 5 years and he graduated from the Bob Bondurant Racing School. That experienced led him to working in the industry as professional driver on new vehicle launches and marketing programs for Toyota, Lexus, BMW and many more. When he isn’t traveling across the country working for manufacturers, he spends his time sharpening his skills by racing his kart and tuning other racers karts as well as running a arrive and drive karting program.

JIM MILLARD

Jim Millard 2With more than 15 years of professional driving and instructing under his belt, Jim has worked as a pro-driver for manufacturers like VW, Rolls Royce, GM, Chrysler, and Toyota just to name a few. Jim has taught for agencies such as FBI, CIA, US Border Patrol, Colorado Weapons of Mass Destruction Team, Marine One Squad and various state and local police agencies. Jim is certified through the US Secret Service for Small Detail Motorcade Training. For over 9 years Jim instructed, developed driver and motorcycle rider training programs, and managed instructors for the BMW Performance Center. Jim is also an experienced on-camera personality as well as SAG union stunt driver for TV and film. Jim’s passion for instructing new drivers in an effort to make them safer and more aware is what led him to the B.R.A.K.E.S. organization.

JOHN HALL

john hallA veteran of Porsche and BMW Club track events, John has seen his fair share of potentially dangerous driving situations both as a driver and from the right seat as an instructor. John’s experience instructing in a wide variety of automobile marques, allows John to bring both depth and breadth to his teaching. His calm demeanor in the car is frequently cited as a asset to his instruction with new drivers.  John is a regular instructor for BRAKES in both NC and Georgia and enjoys spreading the word about our programs. John resides in the Atlanta area.