JUNE 2007 WINNER
Hailing from the Wolverine State is this month's Young Racers Club winner, Jon Beach. The 17-year-old Otisville, Michigan, resident began his racing career in 2004 at the age of 14. He drove six Factory Stock races at Auto City Speedway in nearby Clio. Six races did not satisfy Beach's need for speed, and the following year he ran the full season of Factory Stocks at Auto City. That year, his rookie season, was a good one. He finished Ninth in points out of 72 drivers, was crowned Rookie of the Year, and won a heat race and a semi-feature.
In 2006, it was time to move up to the Modifieds and do a little touring. In addition to Auto City, Beach also ran at Whittemore Speedway, Dixie Motor Speedway, and Owosso Speedway, all in Michigan, as well as Toledo Speedway in Ohio. He raced mostly at Owosso, where he won his first career feature, finished Fourth in points, and won another Rookie of the Year title, this one for the open wheel Modified division. In 20 races during 2006 he collected one win, 15 Top 5 finishes, and 18 Top 10 finishes. Not too shabby for just his second full year behind the wheel.
But Jon Beach is more than just another hot shoe. He works on his cars, too. At 17, Beach has already built several 355ci small-blocks. He also is experienced at running engine and chassis dynos as well as fabricating bodies, a skill he learned from his father, who has been doing it for more than 20 years. In addition, when Beach finishes school this year, he will be a certified welder.
Now everybody knows that going fast is only half of what it takes to be a great racer. You have to race safe, too, and a $250 gift certificate from Safe-Quip will help Jon do that as he heads into the '07 season.
MAY 2007 WINNER
Sixteen-year-old Matt Spencer hails from Harris, North Carolina, about an hour and a half from Charlotte, and he is this month's Young Racers Club winner. Matt races a Ford Pinto in the Young Guns class at Harris Motor Speedway, which is right near his home. He began racing in the middle of the '06 season, and despite having just 11 races under his belt, he finished the year Sixth in Young Guns points.
Growing up in the shadow of a racetrack, it is easy to become a fan. "I've been a big fan, so I wanted to try it," says Spencer. But transferring from fan to driver isn't as easy as you might think. Matt's parents didn't have the money to fund a racing effort, so his mother said that if Matt earned enough money on his own, she would give the go-ahead to start racing. Matt worked hard at a number of different jobs, and before long there was a race car sitting in front of the family's home.
His first taste of racing went really well, and he even notched a Top 5 finish. "I got to where I really like it, and now I want to keep on doing it as long as I can," says the teenager.
When asked who his racing hero was, it was an easy choice for Matt: "I want to be just like my dad. He used to race." The kid has a keen eye and says that he closely watches the different styles of today's racing stars in an effort to better his own abilities.
In addition to Harris, Matt also raced at Cherokee and Thunder Valley Speedways. In 2007, he hopes to run full time at Harris while branching out to even more tracks, gaining more seat time. A $250 gift certificate from Sunoco will certainly help when it comes to racing at different tracks. Good luck, Matt.
APRIL 2007 WINNER
April's Young Racers Club winner hails from Vestal, New York. Justin Petcosky may be just 17 years old, but the high school senior has already enjoyed a 10-year racing career. It began at the tender age of 7 when he was bitten by the racing bug after a visit to a Microd track near his home. A Microd, if you don't know, is a go-kart-sized race car featuring steel frames and rollcages, powered by a Briggs & Stratton engine capable of reaching speeds in excess of 45 mph.
Recognizing his love of racing, his parents bought him a car and they headed to the track. Petcosky was pretty decent right out of the box, winning the first race he ever entered. Success followed him over the next seven years as he continued to compete in the Microds before making the switch to Legends Cars at age 14. In his first year in a Legends Car, Justin placed Seventh in his division and won "Rookie of the Year." The following year he captured two track championships: Tioga Motorsports Park and Chemung Speedrome. He was also named the 2004 New York State Semi-Pro Champion.
Although an injury sidelined him in 2005, he continued to impress in 2006. Back behind the wheel of his Legends Car, he finished Second in points at Chemung Speedrome after capturing 1 win in 11 starts. But perhaps more impressive was his 11 Top 10 finishes, with 9 of those being in the Top 5.
The first member of the Petcosky family to race, Justin definitely wants to pursue a career in motorsports. His next goal is to move up to an asphalt Late Model. A $250 gift certificate from TCI will certainly help in getting to that next level. Good luck, Justin!