Zach Hartzler originally founded Honey Badger Enterprises in April of 2018, and Nick Sweigert joined November of 2018.
My name is Zach and I'm from NE Ohio, and I’m growing more and more obsessed with cars daily.
The Car “Background” Story.
I grew up with no knowledge base, my Dad liked to look at cars, but that’s about it. So intuitively, I did as well. We grew up on farm, so the only things I tinkered with were farm equipment and atvs.
I got my first big boy job in 2016, and I had laid my eyes on a 2013 WRX.
And I had to have her. She was, as some would call, “tastefully modified”.
I didn’t know anything about tuners except what I had seen on The Fast and The Furious, and drooling over pictures.
I saw this at this stealership, *ehhem* dealership, and I had to have her.
That day, not even 10 miles down the road, your boy had no clue what he got himself into. He had just busted his first ring land...
And my face was no longer smiling when I got back there on a flat bed.
But since she was “As-Is no warranty” they wouldn’t do anything for the car, and I took it to the shop I had always taken my cars, but they got the engine pulled and swapped things out, and before I knew it I had it back again.. BUT they of course, had their issues.. as they did not mess with “tuners.”
THANKFULLY, for NEOSOC/North East Ohio Subaru Owners Club that someone pointed me to, they hooked me up with NG Auto who was partnered with ProAuto and they saved my life.
They hooked me up with a Stage 2 clutch, because low and behold, the clutch was burnt out too. N.G. usually didn’t handle parts for people he didn’t service at the time, but he empathized with me, and hooked me up.
Now once my original shop got it mostly buttoned up, they couldn’t figure out why there were still some issues. So, of course I took it the Mad Scientist, NG He figured out rather quickly it was a simple boost leak, and sent me on my way.
And it wasn’t long, until I caught the bug... I was back in his shop tinkering with things.. and eventually figured out the original owner used crappy parts, so we kept replacing things.. then not long later, NG decided he wanted to sponsor my car, and so did ProAuto. I was one chipper skipper.
Theeeen come June 2017, there was this opportunity with a shop, to get a block that would have been the “bee’s knees”.. I had all these quick, irrational goals I thought I could hit. I dumped the cash into it for the R&D, and they said it be a few months. My dream was, originally, to do time attack, and I thought I was going to be able to live this up!
I had started an OBNOXIOUS amount of research, and hustling, and trying to learn more, make more side money, and more about these cars, and what I’d need, and the block was supposed to be able to handle a lot a power, so I kept digging and digging and realizing how much money I’d need..
I had then realized, Time attack is an expensive sport to get into right off the rip...
So October 2017, I thought I’d get my hands dirty with some drag racing, seemed like the least expensive route to start in the race world, boy was I wrong.
NG and I got the WRX tightend up, and I hit the local strip.. first night, I got rained out, but I got one pass in, ran a 13, and I was hooked.
The strip manager told me I could come back the next week, and get in for free. I was IN THERE! .. I took too many passes, and had too much fun... and I busted the 5 speed. I had ran 12.9 so I was still kinda happy, because I had achieved my goal!
Since I busted the 5 speed, I picked up a 6 speed, and thought we’d just wait for the block, we were told it would be winter time. So I got a roller from NG, an 05 Legacy GT Limtied, and we were fixin’ to swap the ‘13 WRX into the Legacy.
December rolls around, and I got another opportunity to get, what I thought, was a STEAL on a turbo kit, and some other things.. so I thought heck this would be great! I get 900hp easy with this thing. So I was back to the drawing board, and that build list was getting obnoxious. But I could hand it.
Time went by, had some other personal things come up, financially. And things went to a halt.. And it’s also now April 2018, and I’m a little annoyed, because I wanted my car back, I had told them my ONE GOAL, was to have the WRX all ready by June for an event. And we haven’t had time to work on the Legacy.
I had a couple reality checks. One, due to financial situations personally, and another realizing, “I’ve been driving a 2010 Focus, what am I going to do with all that power... I’m going to kill myself....” So I chose life.
Little did we know, the engine builders were having issues of their own, so all decided to hang up the idea of the block for now, and we called an audible. We’d dial back to my original goal, and we’d put myself into a place where I can get my feet wet.
I also had my priorities shift. As I’m a father (as of 2018, a 4 year old) I realized that I need to make some more money.
I’m a college drop out, but I had completed IT Media in high school, and have a ton of, what I thought was useless at one point, sales experience.
I chose to work and spend time with my child, then to spend it in school and keep watching my grades drop because I couldn’t keep up with it all. I’m not with her mother anymore, but that’s just how it worked out, and we get along great. Shoot, I get along better with her boyfriend sometimes, and my girlfriend gets along with my daughters Mom then me... but I digress.
Anywho, something set in my mind one day, when I was playing a video game that I hadn’t played in a long time, was how much research I was doing on the video game, and not any time playing it. That’s when I kicked in, I need to do this for myself.. So slowly I did, I slowly thought more about progressing mysel
I realized “Cars are what I love, how can I quantify this?” How can I change the car world. What kind of problems am I experiencing?
I had tried flipping cars, and I do detailing. But I had already badgered Nick Wehe of ProAuto, long before this, about being a rep of his. When he realized it’s time to expanded, I pounced. And here I am.
My goals with HBE are lofty, but I’m looking to make this brand the best dog-on brand you’ll ever see.
- Let it be known on this day. July 21st, 2018.