Albrecht relishing varied life experiences

Brian Albrecht has a lot to be proud of.

Albrecht, the maintenance supervisor at AFS Corporate Member Alliant Castings (Winona, Minnesota) is a Sunday School teacher at a nearby Lutheran church.

He’s also a part-time racecar driver, and the former chief of the local volunteer fire department.

“I have to say that, in the grand scheme of things I look at it and I’m pretty proud and happy with the variety of experiences I’ve had in life,” Albrecht said.

One of those experiences is teaching Sunday School at St. John’s Lutheran in Nodine, Minnesota. Albrecht is in his second year, teaching 7th and 8th graders at a “relatively small” country church. And as the father of two boys (18 and 16 years old), the experience is an enlightening one for Albrecht.

“It’s interesting after dealing with that age in life with them, to be able to go back and deal with these younger kids and share God’s message with them,” Albrecht said.

Albrecht is an avid churchgoer, and he sees teaching as an opportunity to pay forward some of the things that have shaped his life.

“It’s one of those things that gives me an opportunity to give back something to the younger generation that’s been very important to me and helped guide and form my life and gotten me where I am right now,” Albrecht said. “It’s been pretty rewarding.”

During class, Albrecht tries to take his experiences and what he dealt with when his kids were in 7th and 8th grade, and use that to relate to his students. When it clicks are the best moments.

“When you do make a connection and the light turns on and you get kids that are excited about the subject matter that you have, that’s probably the most rewarding thing to see,” Albrecht said. “To see something that isn’t exactly designed to capture their imagination and to suck them in, to make a connection and get them thinking and where their thought process is provoking the conversation and interaction, more so than something stimulating them from the outside.”

Sunday School, however, is just one way Albrecht spends his time outside of work.

Albrecht, 51, started racing in 1993 with a street stock car he called a “little beater.” His second night out he came home with a victory and thought he would keep racking up the crowns.

“Basically, I thought this is going to be easy. This is going to be a lot of fun,” he said. “I found out that the feature wins are far and few between.”

Even though the wins don’t always come, Albrecht has been racing consistently for the last 25 years. Every week, he runs at Fountain City Mississippi Thunder Speedway (Fountain City, Wisconsin), and makes half a dozen trips to Deer Creek Speedway (Spring valley, Minnesota). Albrecht runs in the United States Racing Association’s Modified Touring Series open-modified division, and has competed against some of the best racers in the country, hitting speeds of 120 mph on a 3/8-mile track.

“We don’t have the budget a lot of competitors do but we still make a pretty good showing for ourselves,” Albrecht said. “I have to say I’m proud of what I do on the racetrack.”

No, he doesn’t always win, but when Albrecht does, it’s a great feeling. He compares it to two momentous occasions: the birth of a child, or your wedding day.

“The best thing that I can compare it to is the whole wedding day with all the fanfare and the people, the excitement that you have,” Albrecht said. “It’s kind of like that. That’s as close as I can see.”

Like his Sunday School teaching, family plays a key role in Albrecht’s racing. His father got involved early, so did an uncle, and then his two kids.

“It’s become a lynch-pin for the family,” Albrecht said.

In general, Albrecht is a grateful person.

“I have been blessed with a beautiful and supportive wife of going on 20 years who has stood beside me,” Albrecht said. “I also have been fortunate enough to have been given parents and to meet and have been influenced by many people way smarter than myself.”