We Became Wrench Nation Citizens (And It’s Pretty Sweet)

  • The Wrench Nation radio show covers a wide range of automotive topics.
  • Airs Wednesdays at 4 pm MST on 88.7 FM “The Pulse” in Phoenix, Arizona. 
  • Automoblog’s Tony Borroz was invited on recently to talk about his book, Bricks & Bones
  • Bricks & Bones takes readers behind the scenes of Speedway, Indiana and the Indy 500 at large. 

Out of nowhere I got an email from a radio station in Arizona: Would you be willing to come on the air and talk about The Indy 500 and your book, Bricks & Bones? The email was too specific to be a joke from some gearhead friend I lost touch with, so I took it as serious.

And the next thing you know, I turned into a bona fide radio personality.

Visiting The Wrench Nation

Somehow, the host of the show, Frank Butkus-Leutz – more commonly referred to as simply “Frank” – had come across my book, bought it, actually read it, and then liked it. Via his producer, Sherry Butler, he reached out and asked to interview me . . . like to actually to be a guest on the show.

The show is called Wrench Nation, run out of 88.7 FM “The Pulse” in Phoenix, Arizona. The station is managed by the staff and students of East Valley Institute of Technology. Wrench Nation is a rather delightful, all over the place kind of car show. Maintenance and repair tips, advice on being a better driver, auto news, racing; think of it as a broadcast version of what a “normal” conversation is for gearheads.

They run contests, take calls and questions, talk about what happened over the weekend at various race tracks – you know, the usual.

Automoblog’s Tony Borroz talks racing at the Indy 500 with the Wrench Nation crew.

Wrench Nation hosts Frank Butkus-Leutz (left) and Susie Sockets pose for a photo with a listener.

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Dynamic Duo

Co-hosting the show with Frank is Susie Sockets, the feminine foil to Frank. Sharp as a tack, she stops the show from being a complete sausage fest (honestly, a bit of a problem for car-related stuff). The point here being that both hosts are funny and engaging, and they know cars and racing.

Before interviewing me, they had a call come in. The first question asked by Frank and Susie: “How long is one lap at Indianapolis Motor Speedway?” The listener, Carolina, who had just called in, guesses “2.5 miles.” Frank asks me if she is correct.

“The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is, indeed, 2.5 miles around Frank. Carolina wins!” I respond in my best stentorian, Rip Torn radio voice.

Carolina took home a $50.00 Visa gift card. Not bad, not bad at all.

The Wrench Nation crew poses with law enforcement officials during a show on the dangers of distracted driving.

Digging Into The Archives

Then the three of us jumped into an all-too-brief conversation about Indy, the track, the history, the drivers, and more. It was fun. Frank seems to be a bit of a drag racing fan, given how he tossed off some insider lingo for that genre of racing.

Luckily, Frank turns every Wrench Nation episode into podcasts. Past episodes include ways to avoid buying a lemon on Craigslist, how automotive skills can help at-risk youth, and the best family vehicles of 2018.

If you’re looking for a good car show on the radio, Wrench Nation is very much worth your time.

Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle formatFollow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz

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