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.
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 11/44-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 31/48-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 41/410-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 31/48-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 11/44-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.