Tommy Bauer Racing,Cody Bauer,Tyler Nickles,Mike Otto

Under the Helmet with Tommy Bauer Racing

Tommy Bauer Racing,Cody Bauer,Tyler Nickles,Mike Otto

Mike Otto, Owner

Who got you into snowmobiling and when; and what was their
influence on you with regard to the sport? 

My brother- in-law  Troy Donn was who had gotten me started into racing. I joined his Beaverton Outdoors #30 team in the later 80’s. I  worked on the sled’s throughout the week and was a crew member during race day. We won the MIRA points championship and the I-500 in 1990. It was very competitive for many years as it is again in MIRA.

When did you start racing and what is your proudest achievement so far on the track?

I first started racing my own sled in 1997 for both the MIRA & ICE sanctions. I ran an Arctic Cat. I can’t think of any great achievements as I was just a mediocre driver and that’s why I decided I should be an owner and not a driver.

What is your career goal as an owner? 

My career goals as an team owner are to be competitive, safe and have great team. The top 2 items on my bucket list are to win the Soo I-500
and of course the MIRA points championship.

What were the driving factors to start the race team? 

I had my own team “Team Sanity” for many years which we ran both the MIRA circuit and the I-500. At the later part, before dissolving “Team Sanity” we would use my drivers for the MIRA season and then would take my trailer, drivers , etc. and go to the I – 500 and race under the Tommie Bauer Racing name. I later got out of racing the short tracks and just helped support the #19 Tommie Bauer Racing team for several years where we only ran the I-500. In time our equipment really dated and at that time I decided I would like to reinvest into new equipment and start a team under Tommie Bauer Racing. We switched from Arctic Cat to Polaris in 2015 and haven’t looked back since. My wife Kelly is very much into all types of racing and was very supportive so investing into the new team was an easy sell. We have an awesome crew, set of drivers and the best fan support you could ever ask for. Thank you for our team and fans being part of your magazine



Tommy Bauer Racing,Cody Bauer,Tyler Nickles,Mike Otto

Tyler Nickles, Driver

Who got you into snowmobiling and when and what was their influence on you with regard to the sport? 

My grandparents, Eugene and Mary Bailey were very passionate about snowmobiling. Some of my very earliest memories in life are of snowmobiling. My grandmother loves to remind me of the time I rode with her on her 1972 Arctic Cat Panther from our house in Traverse City to their place in Mancelona. I was not quite 5 (my birthday is March 15th and it was the winter prior to turning 5) and apparently I drove the entire way. Of course I loved spending time with them but our mutual love for the sport I believe opened the door to my being with them more than I perhaps would have been otherwise. My grandfather was a very intelligent man and he taught me all about mechanics and we would spend hours together working on or just chatting about sleds. I remember once he found a 1972 Arctic Cat Puma for my sisters and I and he was amazed that we put over 1,000 miles on that sled the first winter we had it and it never left out property, I wasn’t even 10 years old yet. 

When did you start racing and what is your proudest achievement so far on the track?

I didn’t start racing until the winter of 2001/2002. Cherry Speedway in Fife Lake was having some ice oval races that year and a very good friend of mine Doug Hicks asked me if I was interested in trying it out. At first I really wasn’t interested, I mean how much fun could it really be to go in circles? But he talked me into it. I had snowchecked a 2002 ZR 800 Cross Country that year so with a brand new sled I tore it apart to make it go in circles and from then on I’ve absolutely been hooked. I would set it up to race the weekends and put it back to trail ride for the rest of the week. I’ve dabbled in several different types of snowmobile racing but nothing even comes close to comparing to the flat out speed of an ice oval. Then factor in that you are on the track with 30 or so other people all going as fast as you can and for hours on end……nothing else can touch it. 

I would have to say that my biggest achievement so far would be our win at Eagle River last winter. The history at that track really makes it special. I am also very proud of our win in Caro a few years ago, that being the first enduro win for Tommie Bauer Racing, that was a great feeling. To be absolutely honest though, it really isn’t about the wins for me, it’s about the people and the experience. As I’ve gotten a bit older and have been around the sport longer than a lot of racers that I’m on the track with, my absolute proudest achievement is being asked to be the pilot of the #19 for Tommie Bauer Racing. There is so much work that goes on behind the scene to get a quality sled to the track and all the hours my team spends working on them, ordering parts, fixing the trailer, planning hotel stays not to mention what their families sacrifice so that we can do what we love, to be the guy that they trust on the sled and the one they want holding on to the bars, the one they think gives them a good chance to win is truly humbling. That is and I’m sure will always be my greatest personal achievement.

 What is your career goal?

At this point my goal is to do this as long as my body will allow and as long as the team will have me. Of course every time we hit the ice we try to win and everyone wants the I-500, that is the granddaddy, but after 20 years everything from here on out is just icing on the cake.

 How did you become part of this racing team? 

In 2012 I had to make a few changes in life. I actually walked away from my job and racing (or so I thought) and moved to Alpena. It was time for me to go down another road and further my education. Well at that time I was broke, I had no phone, no computer, I was really kind of at the bottom. I started taking some classes at Alpena Community College and I would get on the computer in the library and one day there was a message from a friend of mine Mel Winnie. Apparently, the boys at Tommie Bauer Racing caught wind that I was no longer with my previous team and reached out to Mel to hunt me down. Me being a little disconnected from the world at the time made that a little challenging. I am so so happy that we were able to get connected, being a part of the #19 team has truly been one of the very best experiences of my life. I am glad that the question is “how did I become a part of the team” because that is exactly what I am, a part of it. There are so many people that make this team what it is. The driver’s name is what everyone hears but without everyone else doing what they do it would never happen. While I absolutely love being on the sled and living on the edge, some of the greatest moments happen in the trailer or in the shop. We are just a great big family and I love laughing and being around such a classy group of people.

Tommy Bauer Racing,Cody Bauer,Tyler Nickles,Mike Otto

Cody Bauer, Driver

Who got you into snowmobiling and when, and what was their influence on you with regard to the sport?

Snowmobile racing has been a part of family since I have been around. My grandpa started the  team many years ago. So far, to date the team has competed at 50 out of 52 I-500’s. Between my grandpa and dad racing I would have to say that was my biggest influence in the sport being a 3rd generation racer.

When did you start racing and what is your
proudest achievement so far on the track?

I started racing Pro-Enduro in 2013. Our proudest achievement so far would have to be our World Champion Derby win last year at Eagle River.

What is your career goal?

My career goal and I believe I can speak for our entire team would be to get an I-500 victory. My grandpa spent alot of years chasing a win there and was his biggest dream to get one. Now that has been passed down to the team and myself. Everyone that is a part of the team works very hard to put us in a position to win every year. I thank everyone for their effort and hopefully it will pay off for us soon!

How did you become part of this racing team?

I became apart of this team through my grandpa and dad. After hearing stories of the racing days that they had I was bound and determined to get on a sled. It would then soon become a sport with great passion and love for me

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