While clearly dedicated to banking, Russell acquired a new passion in 2008 when he began participating in hill climb competitions and other quasi racing events. In 2010, he started full time road course racing. “The competition and challenge of controlling a vehicle at speed is exhilarating,” says Russell. “It requires a great deal of focus and the satisfaction of doing well is like nothing else I have experienced.”
Russell is committed to racing. During the racing season, which runs from March through September, he travels up to 15 weekends. That’s on top of the seven weeks he spends preparing his car, making repairs and conducting testing. Speaking of his car, Russell currently sports a 1990 BMW 325 that was stripped down to its shell and rebuilt for racing. That will change soon, as he is in the process of building a new car that he plans to race in 2017 and qualify for the Sports Car Club of America Runoffs to be held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The new car, a 2005 BMW 330, will be raced in a class called SpecE46, which will allow Russell more opportunities to race in other parts of the country.
Russell competes in a racing class called PRO3, which is the largest and arguably the most competitive race group in the Pacific Northwest. The races he competes in are sanctioned by The International Conference of Sports Car Clubs. Races are held at road course tracks in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. At two of the tracks, Russell is racing at speeds up to 130 miles per hour. He has gained some success in his new sport, having won two championships and finishing in the top five the past two seasons.
His wife Kim has been very supportive of Russell’s hobby and even attends races when she can. Russell acknowledges that she does have some concern about the dangers (he has been in a couple fender benders), but that it’s very rare to get injured at this level of racing. His three children are happy and appreciative that their father is doing something he really enjoys. To which Russell states, “Don’t wait to do what you love. There is always a way to make it happen if you have the desire.”