• by Kirk Gaw

Keeping Up With Racer Michael Tutino

Father, husband, Police Officer, and entrepreneur Michael Tutino is well known throughout Walkerton business circles since, he and his wife Kelly owned “The Walkerton Shopper” for 4 years. They recognize the many opportunities that the Walkerton Area holds for lucrative businesses! And this guy keeps busy with his Walkerton lifestyle!

He is a race car driver! Michael began his racing career in 2002 at South Bend Motor Speedway in the Mini-Stock division. He won the second night he ever took the track. He placed sixth in points that year and earned the rookie of the year award. In 2003, he continued to compete in Mini-Stocks at the tracks of South Bend, New Paris Speedway, and Thunder Valley Speedway. I asked him what it’s like being a racer? He said, “I am definitely a "gear head" at heart. I love to tear things apart and work with my hands. I discovered the race track in my teenage years and never looked back.

The first thing I purchased after establishing my career was a race car. I have been racing for nearly 16 years. I currently race at the South Bend Motor Speedway and not only drive, but also help other drivers with car setup. I currently have 3 race cars and have recently ventured into the role of "car owner". I love finding young talent and giving them a shot. I am always looking for others who are passionate about racing and getting them involved. But my favorite thing about racing is how all the teams and drivers come together from all walks of life. All racers know the "code" among each other and I would argue that my racing family is a stronger bond than even my boys in blue. I truly love this lifestyle.”

Today, Michael is an 18 year veteran with the South Bend Police Department. He travels to work from his Walkerton home. He works in the patrol division so he does a lot of driving. About his work Michael says, “I enjoy working in South Bend while living in Walkerton. I believe the separation of work and home is very important, especially with this profession. I really have the best of both worlds. South Bend is very diverse and gives me great life experience in dealing with just about anything you can think of. While calling Walkerton home gives me that stable family life within a tight community of like minded people. Being a cop can be tough, and I've seen my fair share of hardships, but having a stable home life keeps my head strait. Being able to get away from the job and retreat to my quiet and safe community here in Walkerton is like therapy.”

He is a new father again and just had his 3rd child! He said, “I have two sons and one daughter. Being a father has taught me patience, and I love watching these little ones grow. I believe having children only makes you a better person as you grow with them.” So being a Dad keeps him active! “As you can imagine I stay extremely busy. Although I don't know exactly why that is, I will tell you that it must be contagious. My wife and kids get involved in everything that I do. Racing can be a selfish sport so I am constantly trying to keep my family involved. On the business side of things I always bounce entrepreneur ideas of the wife, and it is not unusually to see my 4 year old helping me in the shop or steering a car into the garage. At home I always make time to read a book and put the kids to bed. I think the key to it all is keeping the entire family involved, each of us play our role.”

He owned the Walkerton Shopper with his wife Kelly and really got to know the Walkerton community! He says it was a window to get to know everyone in town! He ran the venture while also working as a Police Officer and racing cars! He says, “Each and every advertisement makes that paper work, and I can't thank those great folks enough for our successful run.” “The business community here in Walkerton is one that is a tight nit group. These are business savvy folks who all help each other. One business supports another, who supports another, and so on... I think that the secret potential to our community is within the trustworthy, wholesome, folks in our town. If you have a great business idea with the right things in mind, like taking care of employee's, and providing honest work, then our community will make you successful. We all love to support our local businesses and economically your making the right choice in starting up your business here. The local government is great, and I find that a simple phone call or email will get you all the support you'll need.”

Michael's better half is North Liberty Christian School Principal, Kelly Tutino, who is as busy as he is! She not only runs the school but, finds time as the administrator of daycare at the North Liberty Church! She is very supportive of her own children, and her husband’s many interests! He is so proud of her. Just like his family he is so proud to talk about what matters make up his life. Michael Tutino is an awesome citizen with a positive attitude! Soon, you will find him promoting his new business in Walkerton at “Chad’s Auto Parts." He is continuing his search for a large Walkerton Industrial space where he hopes to provide over 6,500 auto parts for "e-bay," and the public! Currently, the business is already established in Elkhart so look out for their new location in town! It is a tech savvy operation and they expect to deliver 6 to 25 parts per day.

-Photos by Ron Verash, and The Tutino's

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