In an effort to promote and encourage young people to enter and stay in our sport, Circle Track and Stock Car Racing magazines feel it is critical to bring attention to the younger participants in auto racing and to give them the opportunity to be recognized in a national spotlight.
To do this, the Young Racers Club (YRC) was established starting in the June 2005 issues of both Circle Track and Stock Car Racingmagazines and Web sites. This club is open to any racing participant (driver, crew,etc.) from the ages of 16-23. Entry is FREE and each month a winner is selected at random and will have their picture published in the magazines and online along with a picture of the car they are involved with and a short bio of their racing participation and future plans. They will also receive a $250 gift certificate from the Sponsor of the Month.
Click here for the Young Racers Club entry form and either mail it to Young Racers Club, 9036 Brittany Way, Tampa, FL 33619 or submit via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org . Please include a picture of the car and a picture of yourself when sending the entry form. Pictures cannot be returned. See the sidebar below for the complete rules.
AUGUST 2007 WINNER
Mill Springs, NC
Sixteen-year-old Summer Tessneer is this month's Young Racers Club winner. The Mill Springs, North Carolina, resident comes from a racing family and actually has two cars that she races: a Mustang and a Pinto. "My whole family raced, so I wanted to carry it on," says the teen.
Although Summer has only been racing for two years, she has consistently placed in the Top 5 in races at Harris, Thunder Valley, and Cherokee Speedways. In 2005 she finished Third in points in the Young Guns division. She followed that up with a Second-Place points finish the next year.
Summer recently had some bad luck on the track when she flipped her Mustang. She was knocked unconscious and had to be taken to the hospital. Luckily, all the X-rays were negative and she came away with nothing more than a small bruise on her arm. In fact, this hard-core racer was back at the track the following day.
Summer credits her dad with giving her the support and drive to excel behind the wheel, and points to fellow racer Blake Kirby as her racing hero. "He helps me out a lot and we have become very good friends." While she would like to someday get a shot at racing in NASCAR, she is very content racing at her home track. "I just love the speed of the car and the adrenalin rush when I'm on the mud," she says.
Well, Summer, those of us here at the magazine have wrecked our share of race cars (and even some passenger cars) over the years, so we know how hard it can be to get back to the track, especially when you're on a budget. Hopefully, the $250 gift certificate from RHS that's coming your way will help take the sting out of that wreck. Glad you're OK!
July's Young Racers Club winner hails from Hummelstown, Pennsylvania. Sixteen-year-old Kyle Ebersole started racing go-karts at age 10 at Path Valley Speedway and Shippensburg Speedway in Central Pennsylvania. He raced weekly for a few years before making the move to the Pennsylvania Dirt Karting Association (PDKA) in 2004. He raced there for two years and finished Fourth and Fifth in two separate classes during the '05 season. While racing in the PDKA, Kyle also took a spin in six WKA National events, where he posted two podium finishes and one fast-time award.
In 2005, he also started racing Tobias Slingshots at Linda's Speedway in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Ebersole's first year in a Slingshot was pretty good, with one win in 12 starts and a 12th-Place points finish. But he really shined in 2006. "We decided to not only run weekly at Linda's Speedway, but run the Slingshot by Tobias Southern Tour and National Tour," said Ebersole. "By the end of the year, I competed in 34 races and had 4 wins, 21 Top 5's, and 31 Top 10's." Those numbers translated into two championships: Linda's Speedway Track and Slingshot by Tobias Southern Tour. In addition, he finished Second in the National Tour Series.
In 2007, Kyle is making the jump to asphalt Modifieds. He'll race weekly at Mountain Speedway in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The 10th grader at Lower Dauphin High School says he will also be racing in some dirt Modified races and hopes to continue to race in more Slingshot events. That's a full schedule for a teenager who also enjoys skiing, music, golf, and hunting.
Kyle has proven his abilities behind the wheel of a Slingshot, and he says that if he is successful in the weekly Modifieds, he has his sights set on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. Look out, Mike Stefanik-Kyle Ebersole is headed your way. A $250 gift certificate from Day Motorsports will, no doubt, help this young Pennsylvania driver outfit his new Modified for the '07 season. Good luck, Kyle, and keep us posted on how you do!
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!
MARCH 2007 WINNER
This month's Young Racers Club winner comes to us from the great state of Alabama. Nick Anderson has been racing since he was 16. He started off running the Four-Cylinder division at Sayre Speedway, a 1/4-mile asphalt track about 15 miles outside of Birmingham. He won a race in his first year of racing and quickly moved up to the Pure Street class, where he notched five victories over the next two seasons.
He then made the move to the Limited Modified division. It turned out to be a smart move. After winning six out of eight races this season, Anderson was crowned the 2006 Track Champion at Sayre Speedway. He has also found success at Birmingham International Raceway, the much bigger 5/8-mile asphalt track just up the road.
Anderson got exposed to racing thanks to his dad, a racer at Sayre. But when Anderson got a job in Barry Martin's machine shop, the racing bug took hold. He worked his way up in the shop and eventually could do most of the work on heads and blocks by himself. Anderson started racing while working for Martin.
While Anderson's dad no longer races, he does help his son. But Anderson helps himself, too. The 20-year-old goes to college (he sold a '70 Chevelle to pay for it) and works at the local hospital repairing medical equipment to help support his racing habit.
Future plans include a title defense at Sayre to gain more seat time in the open-wheeled Modifieds. But he also has a 400 block, which he is thinking about turning into a 377 for the Dixie Modified class. A $250 gift certificate from Comp Cams will, no doubt, help Anderson finish that build. He is eager to make the jump because the Dixie Modifieds run a rules package similar to that of many area speedways, such as Huntsville and Mobile.
Nick Anderson is a true racer and loves building motors and racing his Modified: "That thing is a blast to drive. I'd probably drive it to work if I could."
FEBRUARY 2007 WINNER
Brandon "Froggman" Ennis
Raleigh, North Carolina
February's Young Racers Club winner comes to us from Raleigh, North Carolina. Brandon "Froggman" Ennis races Limited Late Models at Wake County Speedway. The 20-year-old finished up his season at the 1/4-mile asphalt track with one win, nine Second-Place finishes, a Fourth-Place points finish, and the Most Popular Driver Award. But he won't be content until he captures that track championship, his goal for 2007.
Froggman started racing go-karts nine years ago, but has been concentrating on the Late Models for the past four years. He's also planning on running some Super Late Model races next season to gain more experience. His racing hero is his dad, who quit racing so that Brandon could get behind the wheel. Froggman has his eye on the Craftsman Truck Series, but is taking it one season at a time right now.
If you're wondering how he got that nickname, it happened when he could barely walk. He was sitting on the floor of his dad's garage when a family friend said, "He looks like a frog. I'm gonna call him Froggman." It stuck.
A $250 gift certificate from Racing Head Service (RHS) will go a long way for Froggman. He broke a valve in the last race of the season and damaged the head. Look at it this way Brandon-now you can get a new one courtesy of RHS!
DECEMBER 2006 WINNER
This month's Young Racers Club winner is Chaz Exum of Dallas, Texas. Chaz runs an IMCA Modified at Thunderbird Speedway, a 1/4-mile dirt oval in Crandell, Texas. The year 2006 marks Chaz's third year behind the wheel of the Modified. He finished 12th in points his first year, and last year he finished Third. Needless to say, this year Chaz and the C.E.M. Motorsports team are eyeing the track championship.
Chaz co-owns the race car along with his crew chief Chubby McCool, and they say that they really appreciate all the fan and sponsor support they receive at Thunderbird Speedway. Like all racers, Chaz would love to make a living behind the wheel and says that driving a WoO Sprint Car would be a dream come true.
A $250 product certificate from this month's sponsor, Safe-Quip, will help keep Chaz protected behind the wheel.
NOVEMBER 2006 WINNER
Winter Haven, Florida
Git 'R Done Racing was established in 1999 as a family hobby between David Hobbs (not the famous racer/TV commentator) and his son Levi. A four-cylinder Dodge Daytona was converted into their first race car, and they competed at the 1/4-mile semibanked oval at Auburndale Motor Speedway in Winter Haven, Florida. Levi competed in the "Kids Club" class for three years with much success before the racer's hunger for more speed and better competition led the team to move up to the next level.
The Fastruck series runs at several tracks throughout Florida and uses GM metric chassis and crate engines with fiberglass pickup truck bodies. This seemed like the logical series for Levi and the family to progress into as he moved up the ladder. The Fastruck series has a separate division for kids between 12 and 16 called Fastkids. The Git 'R Done team purchased a used chassis and wiped out Levi's savings, plus some of Mom and Dad's, to get it on the track. His first year in the series, Levi finished Seventh in points with no DNFs and picked up tremendous experience and confidence. The next season, he finished Third overall in the Fastkids points standings.
In 2006, Levi moved up to the adult division of Fastrucks and has already captured one pole, one win, and five Top-5 finishes in just eight races. He's Third in the championship standings as of this writing. Like anyone who has ever strapped into a race car, Levi wants to make a living as a professional driver. He has his sights set on moving up to a Limited Late Model next year and wants to get into a driver development program to run in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
The $250 of Sunoco Racing gas supplied by this month's YRC sponsor-Sunoco Race Fuels-will help Levi and the Git 'R Done team cover expenses this season. Thanks, Sunoco, and best of luck on your career aspirations, Levi.
OCTOBER 2006 WINNER
It was almost inevitable that this month's winner of our Young Racers Club sweepstakes would end up behind the wheel of a race car. Micah Veleba, 18, first went to the racetrack when he was only 1 week old. His uncle, Kent Tucker, was a regular competitor at various Nebraska short tracks. Micah always wanted to get behind the wheel himself but was told by his father Randy that he would have to wait until his uncle retired. You see, Randy Veleba co-owns Sutton Auto Supply and figured they could only afford to sponsor one racer in the family at a time.
In 2003, Kent Tucker hung up his helmet and sold his familiar No. 57 Late Model. It took Micah until 2005 to obtain a car of his own and get it ready to compete at Junction Motor Speedway in McCool Junction, Nebraska. Micah chose to put the number 57 on his Hobby Stock race car as a tribute to his uncle, but he added the "JR" designation to indicate that he was a second-generation driver.
Micah spent 2005 learning his way around the 3/8-mile semi-banked dirt oval at Junction Motor Speedway. He finished Third in points and won the Rookie of The Year title. His father Randy says that he's proud of how much Micah has learned about the mechanical aspects of a race car in such a short time, and he's had plenty of practice doing bodywork.
The '06 season finds Micah running Fifth in points after suffering many mechanical woes. The $250 product certificate from this month's sponsor, TCI, should at least help him in the transmission department. He's brought on some new sponsors this year and would like to make a good showing for them. Micah is a senior in high school and is the point guard for his school's varsity basketball team.
Micah's racing endeavor is truly one of those stories you like to hear around America's short tracks-an uncle as a racing mentor, a father who prepares his son's car, and a young man who has learned respect and built character through competing on the racetrack.
SEPTEMBER 2006 WINNER
Lake Almanor, California
22-year-old Erica Harmon of Lake Almanor, California, is this month's YRC winner. Erica competes regularly at the Lassen Speedway, a 1/4-mile dirt oval in Susanville, California, as well as the 3/8-mile clay oval known as Reno-Fernley Raceway in Fernley, Nevada.
Erica not only started racing in 2000, she started accumulating track championships as well, winning the Mini Stock division crown. The next season she jumped up to the Street Stock class, where she competed for four years, taking the championship in 2004. In 2005, Erica tried her hand at an IMCA Modified and, as you may have guessed, won the Modified division championship at Lassen Speedway that year.
When Todd Bruso of ESPN Radio of Reno, Nevada, learned of Erica's championship, he contacted her for an interview and mentioned that he thought she was the first female to win a Modified championship west of the Mississippi.
Erica credits her car owner, Steve Buhr, and crew, Josh Gillis and Charlie Farris, for helping her get to the winner's circle. She also mentioned that she has 21 proud sponsors that have contributed to her success on the track.
As this month's YRC winner, Erica will receive a $250 product certificate from the fine folks at Comp Cams. That should come in handy as she decides what racing division to conquer next.
AUGUST 2006 WINNER
Irmo, South Carolina
17-year-old Danny Efland is one of those guys you would say has auto racing in his DNA. His father, Tom Efland, was testing at the racetrack when he got the call that Danny's birth was imminent. The team rushed home 150 miles to Irmo, South Carolina, in time for his birth, celebrated, then headed back to the track to prepare for the SCCA National Championship races.
Danny started his own racing career in karts at the ripe old age of 7, and amassed three WKA National Asphalt Championships, two WKA National Dirt Championships, and seven State Kart Championships (South Carolina and Alabama). WKA Triple Crown and WKA Grand National Championship trophies also reside in the Efland race shop. He accomplished all of this while maintaining his standing in the academically gifted program in his school despite travel that took him to races from New York to Florida.
In 2002, Danny made the move to stock cars by campaigning a Pro-Modified Mustang at the Florence Motor Speedway and the Summerville Speedway, both 4/10-mile banked asphalt ovals. With a goal of just learning how to drive a fullsize stock car, Danny surprised everyone by winning numerous races, the Rookie of the Year title, and the Florence Motor Speedway Track Championship.
Danny spent 2003 and 2004 gaining experience in the UARA-STARS Late Model Stock Touring Series. He finished Eighth in points while competing against some of the biggest names in the region. He also gained valuable experience by running such fabled tracks as Nashville, Hickory, Coastal Plains, and Myrtle Beach. In 2005, Danny managed two Late Model wins at Florence and made his USAR Hooters Pro Cup debut finishing 24th at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, Florida.
This year has started with a bang. Three poles, two wins, and a Second - all in just three races at Florence Motor Speedway, where Danny is running for the Late Model Championship. He also plans to make several USAR Hooters Pro Cup races, including those at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Lakeland, Florida. The $250 Young Racers Club award certificate presented by Racing Head Service should help the team stretch its budget a little further this year. Keep tabs on Danny by checking out his Web site at www.dannyefland.com.
JULY 2006 WINNER
This month's YRC winner is 19-year-old Brannon Simpson, who first caught the racing bug while sweeping his dad's race shop at a very young age. By the time he turned 13, Brannon was driving a Mini Stock at the 3/8-mile Dixieland Speedway in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. He won The Most Improved Driver award in 2001 while finishing in the Top 10 in points at the challenging dirt track.
Brannon then made the jump to the Budweiser All Star Limited Late Model division, where he again won The Most Improved Driver award while also taking home the Hard Charger award and finishing in the Top 10 in points. In 2005, Brannon stepped up to the highly competitive Super Late Model division at Clary's Speedway, a 1/4-mile, semi-banked red clay oval located in Brinkleyville, North Carolina.
Knowing that it takes more than a heavy right foot to make a career in racing, Brannon is enrolled in The Motor Sports Technology Program at Patrick Henry Community College in Martinsville, Virginia. There, he is president of the PHCC Motor Sports Association, which allows students to prepare and support an asphalt Late Model stock car for competition at local tracks. Brannon's goal upon completion of his degree is to work in the business of racing-preferably as a driver, of course.
MAY 2006 WINNER
If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best, and taking on the E-mod class at Pennsylvania's Eriez Speedway and New York's Stateline Speedway can be a way to speed up the learning curve. Our May Young Racers Club winner jumped into the fray full tilt in 2005. Steven Simon is a third-generation racer who has taken the lessons from 2005 and put them right into the '06 season preparation.
The 18-year-old racer came out of the grandstands to go into the Go-Kart ranks. He has been around the sport most of his life. His grandfather owned cars and his father did some racing as well. After a brief hiatus, the family got back in when Steven showed an interest in Karts. He found success in the ranks, earning a championship in the process. Meanwhile, word was out that an E-Mod was for sale. That car became the Simon family effort for 2005.
Like most racers, Steven had to listen to the critics who thought the jump from Kart to E-mod was too big, but the critics seldom know what they are talking about. There were no expectations of setting the world on fire, but the mechanical problems dimmed a lot of hopes. Broken bellhousings led a list of setbacks that plagued the team through most of the year. By the end of the season, the bugs had been worked out and performance results showed it. While the bulk of the season was focused on the local Eriez Speedway, Steven was also able to venture to nearby Stateline toward the end of the year. He had moved from Seventeenth to the Top 5 late in the race before being caught up in a mishap that led to a disappointing finish.
For 2006, preparations are underway in the chilly Pennsylvania winter to get the car ready for the season ahead and some possible travel. The car used in 2005 will be raced again in perhaps its last season under current ownership. Steven credits his family and sponsors, including GAR Construction, CTR Trucking, and Chipper's Tavern as well as Hurricane Motorsports, for the help.
As the winner of our Young Racers Club drawing, Steven will be receiving a $250 product certificate from Sunoco Race Fuels. Find out more about Sunoco at www.racegas.com.
APRIL 2006 WINNER
The competition at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, is tough in any division. The Ray Hutson Chevrolet Sportsman class is a good example, and that's the class where our latest YRC winner plies his trade. Boomer Olson is a 19-year-old racer who meets up with some of the best weekly racers on a regular basis. The '05 season started off on the right foot as Boomer topped his heat race. Two weeks later, he scored a Second in the heat and moved to a Fourteenth-Place run in the feature. A pair of Top-15 runs in May led to increased success in June, including a Fourth in the B feature and a Fourth in the Bud Dash. As July wound down, Boomer parked victorious in the running of the Bud Dash. His first Top 10 in the feature came the following week, but the progress was not done. After finishing Tenth on August 6, he came home as the runner-up in the main on August 20. His best qualifying effort came on September 3, timing Fourth among the competitors, but that race was wiped out by rain.
Boomer drives an '88 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, powered by a B&B Racing Engines 355ci engine, generating 325 hp. Al Olson is the car owner, with Marty Smith serving as crewchief. Crew help also comes from Keaton Hilby. Sponsors for the '05 season included Culver's, Village Market, R.A. Transport, City Styles, Shari & Shaggy's Party Barn, G&F Distributing, Effinger Equipment, American Legion Post #138, Degenhardt Garage, Carol's Drift Inn, and Collision Specialist.
As the winner of the April Young Racers Club drawing, Boomer will receive a $250 certificate from TCI.
MARCH 2006 WINNER
There is often more to a racer than what we see on the track. In the case of Jeremy Colangelo, there is a caring young man who is using his skills to benefit others. The 19-year-old Sanford, Florida, resident competes at Orlando (Florida) Speedworld in Legends Cars, racing in the Pro division. Every time he crosses the line beneath the flag stand at the track, someone else benefits from his work.
This year, Jeremy has coupled his racing effort with a fundraiser to benefit the Children's Miracle Network (CMN). For each green-flag lap he races, Jeremy donates $1. Several of his sponsors match the effort. Some even donate $3 for every lap he leads. As of November 7, 2005, Jeremy turned 1,248 laps and led 167 of them. Roughly, that's somewhere between $12,000 and $15,000 going to a good cause.
"I've been involved with CMN for about 10 years," Jeremy said. "My family has always been involved. We would do fundraisers and help out. I've got a trophy here from June 1997. I'm very competitive, and they had a competition to see who could raise the most money. There were about 30 kids in it. I pressure washed, pulled weeds, whatever I could do to win."
Involving the racing effort seemed a natural way to continue to support CMN. The fruits of his labors were recently brought home when he learned of the plight of a middle school classmate who had suffered through some health problems and benefited from the CMN programs.
On track, Jeremy started as a BMX racer, moving into Quarter Midgets. After competing in events such as the Grands in Pueblo, Colorado, and a specialty course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, he ran another year before going to the Legends Cars. A limited effort in 2003 was followed by a full-blown effort that saw four wins and 18 Top 5s as Jeremy was the highest finishing Semi-Pro at the track. His '05 effort included seven wins and 15 Top 5s (the season hadn't ended at this writing). He also participated in the Hardee's Summer Shootout at Lowe's Motor Speedway and was invited to be part of a Legends race at the December Mopar PRI Sprint & Midget Classic.
Jeremy has dedicated his '05 season to cousin Justin, who passed away. He realizes the importance of everyone who assists him, including Granny and Grandpa Don, his mother, father, brothers, and cousin Brandon. Jeremy also acknowledges Rick Carelli, who has served as a source of inspiration for his racing.
As the winner of our March Young Racers Club drawing, Jeremy will receive a $250 certificate for purchase of products from Comp Cams.
FEBRUARY 2006 WINNER
Our latest winner in the Young Racers Club is a true testament to the idea of a racer coming from the grandstands onto the track. Amber Coffman was a race fan who watched the competition, but she got the urge and seized the opportunity. It must have been quite contagious, because her father became a racer at the same time.
Amber competes in the Front Wheel Drive division at Boone Speedway in Iowa, home of the IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals each September. "I was a big race fan, and they would have drawings where you could get out and drive a car," Amber related. "I won some of those drawings and got the chance, and I decided to get my own car."
The '05 season marked her first full year of racing in the FWD class. There are no sponsors for the team as yet. Amber gets help from her father, who is a Dwarf Car racer, and her fiance.
"It's awesome. I like it," says Amber of her racing.
Her best finish of 2005 was a Sixth-Place run in the growing class. Amber assists in the work on the race car; sometimes there's a lot. A week before the season championships, she rolled the machine. She was not hurt in the incident. She is also attending school to become a mechanic.
As a woman racing in a male-dominated world, Amber tells the girls who want to go racing to go for it. "Don't let the guys intimidate you," she offers.
As the winner of our February Young Racers Club drawing, Amber will receive a $250 certificate for purchase of products from G-Force Racing Gear.
JANUARY 2006 WINNER
There are only 24 hours in a day, but Jason Taghikhani manages to fill most of them. The winner of our Young Racers Club drawing has put together an impressive resume on both sides of the pit gate in just a short amount of time.
His uncle was a Late Model racer at Wisconsin's Slinger Super Speedway for 30 years, but Jason's interest was only slight until his later years of high school. During the summer, he dropped his football program and then started to develop a race team. In this case, starting a race team meant doing it the right way-by earning it. Jason poured money earned at his job into buying a truck, trailer, and car to go racing. As a result, he missed the first half of the season to get the Street Stock on track. At the end of the year, the track dropped the class, forcing him to look elsewhere for his racing thrills. In 2005, he stepped up the program to become involved with the Mid-American Stock Car Series, a highly competitive group that hits tracks in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois.
"It's tough," says Jason of the traveling circuit. "Now you have 20 guys who can win, and you're not guaranteed a starting spot like you would be at a local show. You run with guys who have experienced these tracks before, and you're seeing them for the first time. They have lots of experience."
In mid-September Jason made his mark. He was Second in the points with a handful of races left and was leading the drive for Rookie of the Year.
So far, he sounds like a typical racer, right? Here comes the good part.
Jason is a full-time student who is a senior at Marquette University. He is a declared mechanical engineering major, the president of his SAE (Society of Automotive Engineering) chapter, and he also works a full-time job. So now you have commitment to work, school, and a race team. Summers aren't so bad, but when school starts again, it gets pretty hairy. "Toward the end of the racing season is when we have our first exams," Jason pointed out. "I'm the kind who needs to spend time studying, and it's hard to do when you're working on the race car, especially if it was wrecked."
Jason will take his education (His mom insists he finish and get his degree) and his racing experience and put them together to see what the future holds. "I want to take it as far as I can," he says.
As our latest winner in the Young Racers Club, Jason will receive a $250 certificate from Aero Race Wheels.
DECEMBER 2005 WINNER
His motive is clear. Andrew Broucher wants to be a racer. At 18 months old, he was at a race at Pocono, where his family worked with Bud Moore Engineering. In his early teen years, Andrew used his savings and bought a used Go-Kart. He loved it from the moment he first sat in the seat. Under the guidance of his father, Randy, a former dirt track racer, Andrew was advised to start in the rear of the field. In doing so, he learned quickly by watching and passing others. He was pushed off the track and his Kart was beaten on, but he never quit. He started racking up feature wins in the Junior divisions, finished second in points in 2004, and moved to Senior Light in 2005. The goal at the start of the year was to win one feature and score some Top 5s. As of August 27, there were 5 feature wins and 12 Top 5s. He held a 100-point lead at Pennsylvania's Acme Speedway, having led the division from the first week.
His experience hasn't been confined to just ovals. He has raced the road course at Beaver Run and several other area tracks. At the age of 16, he competed in a Hobby car at the esteemed Jennerstown Speedway, a track that appears to be part of his destiny. The family hopes to move Andrew into a Late Model so that he can compete with the top talent in the area.
Andrew's goal is to move into the major leagues of racing, but he is backing his bet with a sense of purpose. This is not a driver who only carries a gear bag. As an 11th grader, he is enrolled in mechanics courses at the vocational technical school. Each week, the Kart engine is torn apart and Andrew puts the Kart back together for the week's competition.
For Kart racers, there are no big sponsors, and every bit of support is helpful. Andrew has received backing from local businesses and family members, including Advance Auto Parts, John Howard's, Hair.com, and Frank's Pizza. Tom and Cody Hardesty in Maryland have provided strong engines for his Karting. Andrew gets strong support from his parents, Randy and Amy.
As our December 2005 winner, Andrew will receive a $250 certificate from Day Motor Sports, a one-stop shop for all racing needs.
NOVEMBER 2005 WINNER
Getting experience at places like Hickory (NC) Motor Speedway, Motor Mile (VA) Speedway, and Myrtle Beach (SC) Speedway means you are constantly racing against tough competition. It's been said that if you want to be the best, you have to compete with the best. Brandon Dean is on that path.
No matter where he races his Late Model Super Truck, Brandon goes with the idea of winning. The family-backed effort works without the luxury of major sponsorship dollars, but the 18-year-old driver puts the truck into contention time and time again. He's rapidly becoming known in an area where racing is clearly king.
Brandon started racing at the age of 5 in a go-kart. His dad was racing dirt Late Models, and Brandon caught the fever honestly. "I fell in love with it," he said of his early racing. He won numerous WKA state and national titles, culminating in 2000 with the triple crown and national championship, dominating North Carolina and South Carolina. He'd reached one pinnacle.
The next step brought him to the dirt of Lancaster (SC) Speedway, where he competed in the Four-Cylinder class. He won a few races. The dirt stint was short, though, because the road to the top is usually paved. "I liked asphalt racing the first time I drove," Brandon said. At the age of 15, he couldn't run in a NASCAR-sanctioned class, so his experience came in the Pro Cup cars and he started drawing attention, becoming Rookie of the Year at Hickory in 2003. He's had the chance to travel some and compete. There are plans for a Late Model or, if the right situation develops, some USAR Hooters Pro Cup or NASCAR Southeast Series races soon.
Brandon graduated with honors and will continue his education at the University of South Carolina, possibly attending UNCC in the future. His plans are directed toward mechanical engineering, a discipline that will help his eventual goal, driving a race car.
"If I could make a living driving a race car, that would suit me fine," he states.
Brandon has dedicated his season to his grandfather, Vernon "Poppaw" Dean, who passed away recently.
For the latest information on Brandon, visit his Web site at www.brandondeanracing.com.
OCTOBER 2005 WINNER
Brett Korves is facing tough competition in the '05 season, but he's not backing away from the challenge. He's a rookie in the UMP Modified division, racing at Belle-Clair Speedway in Belleville, Illinois.
The 16-year-old racer started in Go-Karts at the age of 12, winning the Junior Division championship in his second year. He moved into full-bodied stock cars, climbing before the wheel of his grandfather's Sportsman car for a few races at the age of 14, running at Highland (IL) Speedway. At Belle-Clair, his age prevented him from going into Modifieds, so Brett raced a Pure Stock. He won a feature event, several heat races, and was named Rookie of the Year.
As plans for the '05 season rolled around, there were some decisions that had to be made. Brett's car was part of a three-car team, which spanned three generations. Rather than spread themselves so thin, the decision came to make Brett the driver. Dennis Tribout Sr., his grandfather and owner of the Modified, stepped away from his race car. So did his uncle, Dennis Tribout Jr., who gave up his Modified racing after also competing in Sportsman cars. A new chassis from a new company (Razor) was purchased with engine work done by Belleville Automotive. In mid-June, Brett stood a strong Sixth in the point standings and has been drawing plenty of attention for his results. He has been named Hard Charger by www.stlracing.com, which covers the entire area's short-track racing. It's really impressive when you consider how many tracks and drivers are in the area.
Brett would like to keep the racing momentum going. He met and competed with Kenny Wallace during a mid-week race. His aspirations are to move up the racing ladder.
Brett is backed by a solid core of supporters. In addition to his grandfather and uncle, other family members are active with the team. Mom Shelly handles the notes and makes sure they have the right setup information. Dad Jack serves as the car chief. Brett has a brother, Todd, and a sister, Kayla. Others helping on the team include crewchief Steve Krakowiecki, John Krakowiecki, Scott Vielweber, Brian McGuire, Rich Schobert, Mike Causey, Mike Harris, Dan Dudek, and Abbey Fritz. Sponsors of the effort are led by the family business, Tribout Bingo & Carnival Supplies. Weil Trailer Sales, Steve Schmitt of Highland, Dairy Queen, Vinyl Visions, Belleville Wholesale, Causey Excavating, Pioneer Steins, Mid America Web Solutions, JSK, T.R's Place, Print Master, and Dutch Hollow Janitorial Supply are also backers.
As our latest winner, Brett Korves will receive a $250 certificate from TCI.
SEPTEMBER 2005 WINNER
Alison Quick has a competitive drive within her that is starting to leave the competition in its wake. Her drive is to excel in everything in which she is involved, and that's a pretty lengthy list. In addition to racing a NASCAR-sanctioned Modified in 2005, she was concurrently playing summer softball and running track for her school. She had qualified for the state finals in the 4x800m relay at the time of this writing.
Alison didn't come from a racing family, though her uncle was a tractor puller and father had competed in demolition derbies. Watching the Daytona 500 and then seeing the Indianapolis 500 put the idea squarely into her head. Family friends raced Go-Karts, so that became the first step. From there, she moved to Super Mini Cup and won the national championship in her first year. The next step was a Legends Car, but the track was four hours away and changed nights to Friday. The distance and school obligations made it impractical, and when Alison turned 16, she got her NASCAR license to run Modifieds at Adams County (Iowa) Speedway and Lakeside (Kansas) Speedway.
Alison met NASCAR's Don Hawk, who suggested getting in touch with Lyn St. James. Alison completed Lyn's Driver Development Program and became the recipient of the Kara Hendrick Scholarship. She was also selected to be a part of NASCAR's Drive for Diversity combine.
At the end of the '04 season, Alison was honored with the Adams County Speedway 2004 Citizenship Award. A 9-year-old fan suffering from a brain tumor had selected Alison as his favorite driver, and on July 4, she gave the young fan a ride around the racetrack in her Modified. That night, she won her feature.
The 2005 Alison Quick racing effort is supported by Kelly Tire & Exhaust, Longfellow Drilling, RMI, Davidson Construction, Advanced Ag, Glendenning Motor Company, SWBS, Campbell Trucking, Ironman Racing, RHR, Newton's Sporting Goods, Frank's Body Shop, Ricker AC Heating & Plumbing, Quick Charolais, and Quick Contracting. To learn more about Alison Quick racing, visit Alisonquick.com.
As winner of the Young Racer's Club, Alison will receive a $250 certificate from Comp
AUGUST 2005 WINNER
The success of Carl Edwards on the NASCAR Nextel Cup circuit has awakened the racing world to understand that there is plenty of talent that competes weekly in Missouri. It's a fact that Show-Me state race fans have known for generations.
One of the young guns in Missouri racing is 17-year-old Austin Matthews. Austin is starting his rookie season in IMCA Modifieds with a Dirt Works chassis powered by a 355ci Chevrolet engine. Austin has worked through the ranks to get to the Modifieds. After a stellar career at the controls of go-carts, winning titles, and features in various divisions, Austin stepped up to the Mini Sprints. His efforts in three years of racing found him prepared for the challenges of the heavier Modifieds.
Austin will be racing primarily at Poplar Bluff Speedway and Malden Speedway, but could venture to West Plains Motor speedway or even out of state to Arkansas' Batesville Speedway. In his early exploits in 2005, Austin had scored two heat wins in April and was making consistent progress toward top feature finishes.
The team is a family operation. His main wrench is his father, Bryce, while his 12-year-old brother Corbin has a keen interest in the mechanical side of the operation and helps where he can. Mom, Sherry, provides vital service to keep the program up and running. This is truly a racing family.
As the August winner of the Young Racer's Club, Austin Matthews will receive a $250 certificate from G-Force. With its emphasis on safety, G-Force is the choice of many racers, young and old alike, for the best in safety gear.
JULY 2005 WINNER
By the time you read about our latest winner of the Young Racer's Club, there's likely to be a driver development agreement in the works. Sean Bass has been tearing up Florida short tracks with regularity during the past few seasons, and the broader world is starting to take notice.
A good indication came on April 1. Competing in the Truck division and the Mini Stock division at Orlando Speedworld, Sean made two stops in Victory Lane. To go back and forth between a four-cylinder car and a V-8 truck is an accomplishment in itself. To park each of them in Victory Lane is even better.
Sean started racing in the Kid's Club at Auburndale Speedway. As his wins mounted, the desire to move up was obvious. A short stint in a Super Stock class is on the resume, but the results really came in with the Mini Stock and Truck. Sean captured races in his first year in trucks, including a big victory on the 3/4-mile USA International Speedway. He won an '05 Truck race during the World Series of Asphalt Racing at New Smyrna Speedway's lightning fast 1/2-mile. Altogether, there have been feature wins at many Florida tracks, and size really doesn't matter. Big or small, Sean has proven he can win them all.
Sean would like to take the next step into the higher levels of racing, and word has filtered through the pit areas that there have been clandestine inquiries made about his plans. In addition to his on-track achievements, Sean also maintains a straight-A grade point average. In 2004, he won state honors in architecture competition for high schools.
As the July winner of our Young Racer's Club, Sean will receive a certificate valued at $250 from Aero Race Wheels for use on any of his race vehicles.
JUNE 2005 WINNER
Brian Geiszler has been winning races for nearly half his life. The 18-year-old open-wheel standout started in Quarter Midget competition in the Pacific Northwest at the age of 9. In that time, he raced on dirt and asphalt, including indoor winter racing. Brian finished Second one year by a single point with four wins on his record.
At the age of 12, Brian jumped into a 250cc Micro Sprint to run the 1/8-mile and 1/4-mile tracks in Oregon and Washington. He scored wins at four of the six tracks, including three victories in Madras, Oregon. In 2002, he was named the state of Oregon champion in the 250cc class.
The '03 season saw 16-year-old Brian back on asphalt behind the wheel of a 360 Limited Sprint. He competed in the Northwest Sprintcar Racing Association (NSRA) with a used car and gained valuable experience against the full 360 Sprint fields. When 2004 rolled around, a better engine and a brand-new chassis awaited. However, the new car didn't arrive until the season was three races old, and there was the usual learning curve. In his first race, Brian won his heat but did not finish the main. The next event saw a flat tire diminish his hopes late in the race. The next race brought a Third Place run and the Top-10 finishes just kept coming. He captured a feature win in Idaho, becoming the youngest driver to win a feature in NSRA competition.
Along the way, Brian had the opportunity to experience wingless racing, and he adapted quickly. Running the big 5/8-mile at Monroe, Washington (Evergreen Speedway), Brian scored a Top-10 with the Western States USAC class and has found a new home. The 2005 plans center on running the entire USAC sanctioned slate in the Western States Series.
Young racers like Brian Geiszler are helping to keep the sport thriving. We congratulate Brian and wish him continued success.