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.
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 monthsold, he was at a race at Pocono, where his family worked with Bud MooreEngineering. In his early teen years, Andrew used his savings and boughta 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, helearned quickly by watching and passing others. He was pushed off thetrack and his Kart was beaten on, but he never quit. He started rackingup feature wins in the Junior divisions, finished second in points in2004, and moved to Senior Light in 2005. The goal at the start of theyear 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 atPennsylvania's Acme Speedway, having led the division from the firstweek.
His experience hasn't been confined to just ovals. He has raced the roadcourse at Beaver Run and several other area tracks. At the age of 16, hecompeted in a Hobby car at the esteemed Jennerstown Speedway, a trackthat appears to be part of his destiny. The family hopes to move Andrewinto a Late Model so that he can compete with the top talent in thearea.
Andrew's goal is to move into the major leagues of racing, but he isbacking his bet with a sense of purpose. This is not a driver who onlycarries a gear bag. As an 11th grader, he is enrolled in mechanicscourses at the vocational technical school. Each week, the Kart engineis torn apart and Andrew puts the Kart back together for the week'scompetition.
For Kart racers, there are no big sponsors, and every bit of support ishelpful. Andrew has received backing from local businesses and familymembers, including Advance Auto Parts, John Howard's, Hair.com, andFrank's Pizza. Tom and Cody Hardesty in Maryland have provided strongengines 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 DayMotor Sports, a one-stop shop for all racing needs.
NOVEMBER 2005 WINNER
Getting experience at places like Hickory (NC) Motor Speedway, MotorMile (VA) Speedway, and Myrtle Beach (SC) Speedway means you areconstantly racing against tough competition. It's been said that if youwant to be the best, you have to compete with the best. Brandon Dean ison that path.
No matter where he races his Late Model Super Truck, Brandon goes withthe idea of winning. The family-backed effort works without the luxuryof major sponsorship dollars, but the 18-year-old driver puts the truckinto contention time and time again. He's rapidly becoming known in anarea where racing is clearly king.
Brandon started racing at the age of 5 in a go-kart. His dad was racingdirt Late Models, and Brandon caught the fever honestly. "I fell in lovewith it," he said of his early racing. He won numerous WKA state andnational titles, culminating in 2000 with the triple crown and nationalchampionship, dominating North Carolina and South Carolina. He'd reachedone pinnacle.
The next step brought him to the dirt of Lancaster (SC) Speedway, wherehe competed in the Four-Cylinder class. He won a few races. The dirtstint was short, though, because the road to the top is usually paved."I liked asphalt racing the first time I drove," Brandon said. At theage of 15, he couldn't run in a NASCAR-sanctioned class, so hisexperience 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 totravel some and compete. There are plans for a Late Model or, if theright situation develops, some USAR Hooters Pro Cup or NASCAR SoutheastSeries races soon.
Brandon graduated with honors and will continue his education at theUniversity of South Carolina, possibly attending UNCC in the future. Hisplans are directed toward mechanical engineering, a discipline that willhelp 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 atwww.brandondeanracing.com.
OCTOBER 2005 WINNER
Brett Korves is facing tough competition in the '05 season, but he's notbacking away from the challenge. He's a rookie in the UMP Modifieddivision, racing at Belle-Clair Speedway in Belleville, Illinois.
The 16-year-old racer started in Go-Karts at the age of 12, winning theJunior Division championship in his second year. He moved intofull-bodied stock cars, climbing before the wheel of his grandfather'sSportsman car for a few races at the age of 14, running at Highland (IL)Speedway. At Belle-Clair, his age prevented him from going intoModifieds, so Brett raced a Pure Stock. He won a feature event, severalheat races, and was named Rookie of the Year.
As plans for the '05 season rolled around, there were some decisionsthat had to be made. Brett's car was part of a three-car team, whichspanned three generations. Rather than spread themselves so thin, thedecision came to make Brett the driver. Dennis Tribout Sr., hisgrandfather and owner of the Modified, stepped away from his race car.So did his uncle, Dennis Tribout Jr., who gave up his Modified racingafter also competing in Sportsman cars. A new chassis from a new company(Razor) was purchased with engine work done by Belleville Automotive. Inmid-June, Brett stood a strong Sixth in the point standings and has beendrawing plenty of attention for his results. He has been named HardCharger by www.stlracing.com,which covers the entire area's short-track racing. It's reallyimpressive when you consider how many tracks and drivers are in the area.
Brett would like to keep the racing momentum going. He met and competedwith Kenny Wallace during a mid-week race. His aspirations are to moveup the racing ladder.
Brett is backed by a solid core of supporters. In addition to hisgrandfather and uncle, other family members are active with the team.Mom Shelly handles the notes and makes sure they have the right setupinformation. Dad Jack serves as the car chief. Brett has a brother,Todd, and a sister, Kayla. Others helping on the team include crewchiefSteve 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, DairyQueen, Vinyl Visions, Belleville Wholesale, Causey Excavating, PioneerSteins, Mid America Web Solutions, JSK, T.R's Place, Print Master, andDutch Hollow Janitorial Supply are also backers.
As our latest winner, Brett Korves will receive a $250 certificate fromTCI.
SEPTEMBER 2005 WINNER
Alison Quick has a competitive drive within her that is starting toleave the competition in its wake. Her drive is to excel in everythingin which she is involved, and that's a pretty lengthy list. In additionto racing a NASCAR-sanctioned Modified in 2005, she was concurrentlyplaying summer softball and running track for her school. She hadqualified for the state finals in the 4x800m relay at the time of thiswriting.
Alison didn't come from a racing family, though her uncle was a tractorpuller and father had competed in demolition derbies. Watching theDaytona 500 and then seeing the Indianapolis 500 put the idea squarelyinto her head. Family friends raced Go-Karts, so that became the firststep. From there, she moved to Super Mini Cup and won the nationalchampionship in her first year. The next step was a Legends Car, but thetrack was four hours away and changed nights to Friday. The distance andschool obligations made it impractical, and when Alison turned 16, shegot her NASCAR license to run Modifieds at Adams County (Iowa) Speedwayand Lakeside (Kansas) Speedway.
Alison met NASCAR's Don Hawk, who suggested getting in touch with LynSt. James. Alison completed Lyn's Driver Development Program and becamethe recipient of the Kara Hendrick Scholarship. She was also selected tobe a part of NASCAR's Drive for Diversity combine.
At the end of the '04 season, Alison was honored with the Adams CountySpeedway 2004 Citizenship Award. A 9-year-old fan suffering from a braintumor had selected Alison as his favorite driver, and on July 4, shegave the young fan a ride around the racetrack in her Modified. Thatnight, 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 aboutAlison Quick racing, visit Alisonquick.com.
As winner of the Young Racer's Club, Alison will receive a $250certificate from Comp Cams.
AUGUST 2005 WINNER
The success of Carl Edwards on the NASCAR Nextel Cup circuit hasawakened the racing world to understand that there is plenty of talentthat competes weekly in Missouri. It's a fact that Show-Me state racefans 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 Workschassis powered by a 355ci Chevrolet engine. Austin has worked throughthe ranks to get to the Modifieds. After a stellar career at thecontrols of go-carts, winning titles, and features in various divisions,Austin stepped up to the Mini Sprints. His efforts in three years ofracing found him prepared for the challenges of the heavier Modifieds.
Austin will be racing primarily at Poplar Bluff Speedway and MaldenSpeedway, but could venture to West Plains Motor speedway or even out ofstate to Arkansas' Batesville Speedway. In his early exploits in 2005,Austin had scored two heat wins in April and was making consistentprogress 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 themechanical side of the operation and helps where he can. Mom, Sherry,provides vital service to keep the program up and running. This is trulya racing family.
As the August winner of the Young Racer's Club, Austin Matthews willreceive 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 bestin safety gear.
July 2005 Winner: Sean Bass, Gibsonton, FL
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. SeanBass has been tearing up Florida short tracks with regularity during thepast few seasons, and the broader world is starting to take notice.
A good indication came on April 1. Competing in the Truck division andthe Mini Stock division at Orlando Speedworld, Sean made two stops inVictory Lane. To go back and forth between a four-cylinder car and aV-8 truck is an accomplishment in itself. To park each of them inVictory Lane is even better.
Sean started racing in the Kid's Club at Auburndale Speedway. As hiswins mounted, the desire to move up was obvious. A short stint in aSuper Stock class is on the resume, but the results really came in withthe Mini Stock and Truck. Sean captured races in his first year intrucks, including a big victory on the 3/4-mile USA InternationalSpeedway. He won an '05 Truck race during the World Series of AsphaltRacing at New Smyrna Speedway's lightning fast 1/2-mile. Altogether,there have been feature wins at many Florida tracks, and size reallydoesn'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 beenclandestine inquiries made about his plans. In addition to his on-trackachievements, Sean also maintains a straight-A grade point average. In2004, he won state honors in architecture competition for high schools.
As the July winner of our Young Racer's Club, Sean will receive acertificate valued at $250 from Aero Race Wheels for use on any of hisrace vehicles.
June 2005 Winner: Brian Geiszler, Boring, OR
Brian Geiszler in the NSRA Victory Lane.
Brian Geiszler has been winning races for nearly half his life. The18-year-old open-wheel standout started in Quarter Midget competition inthe Pacific Northwest at the age of 9. In that time, he raced on dirtand asphalt, including indoor winter racing. Brian finished Second oneyear by a single point with four wins on his record.
At the age of 12, Brian jumped into a 250cc Micro Sprint to run the1/8-mile and 1/4-mile tracks in Oregon and Washington. He scored winsat 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 ofa 360 Limited Sprint. He competed in the Northwest Sprintcar RacingAssociation (NSRA) with a used car and gained valuable experienceagainst the full 360 Sprint fields. When 2004 rolled around, a betterengine and a brand-new chassis awaited. However, the new car didn'tarrive until the season was three races old, and there was the usuallearning curve. In his first race, Brian won his heat but did not finishthe main. The next event saw a flat tire diminish his hopes late in therace. The next race brought a Third Place run and the Top-10 finishesjust kept coming. He captured a feature win in Idaho, becoming theyoungest 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 USACclass and has found a new home. The 2005 plans center on running theentire 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.