13-Year-Old Racer Has Over 100 Wins
In an era when NASCAR team owners are aggressively looking to sign the sport's next young superstar, Crum continues to hone his driving skills in the 10-week series of Legends Car races that runs each Tuesday night on the frontstretch quarter-mile oval at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Starting in go-karts at age 6, Crum's racing resume boasts 35 state and national championships along with more than 100 feature victories. His list of titles includes the 2002 Hardee's Summer Shootout Bandolero Bandits championship and the World Karting Association's Triple Crown. He is also a two-time winner of the prestigious Junior Kahuna karting event.
"The second Junior Kahuna victory is my most memorable because I worked my way up to the lead from 15th place," said Crum, a second-generation racer who started driving after his father, Billy, suffered a broken hand in a late model stock car accident.
Crum is known in the Hardee's Summer Shootout paddock as Jake "The Snake" and the bright red No. 1 Legends Car he drives in the Cabarrus Family Medicine Semi-Pro division features a picture of a coiled Cobra on each door.
"A previous engine builder gave me the name after I won my first race when I was 6 years old," Crum explained. "He said I slithered through the field like a snake, so I've kept the nickname."
Crum started his Hardee's Summer Shootout career in the Bandolero Bandits and immediately became a contender. The Bandolero Bandits division features drivers ages 8 to 11 and Crum claimed the title in 2002 at age 10. He won two features in the Bandolero Young Guns division last season and finished third in the class for drivers ages 12 to 15.
This season, Crum has moved up to the ultra-competitive Legends Car Semi-Pro division where he recorded a runner-up finish in only his second start.
Crum says he has finished in the top 10 in more than half of his 400 racing starts, and over 150 of those were top-five showings.
"I've raced in just about every state in the Southeast as well as Indiana, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma and Virginia," Crum noted.
But while firmly focused on the demands necessary to develop his racing career, Crum also takes time to be a typical teenager. He enjoys basketball, football, swimming, riding four-wheelers and playing video games. Not surprisingly, his favorite video game is NASCAR 2005: Chase for the Cup.
Fans can watch Crum and several other young drivers that have NASCAR aspirations each Tuesday night through Aug. 16 at Charlotte Motor Speedway's Hardee's Summer Shootout. The action-packed racing program features three divisions of Legends Cars, three classes of Bandoleros and the popular Thunder Roadsters.
Admission is just $5 for adults. Children 6 to 12 are admitted for $3 with kids under 6 free. Tickets are available in advance at the speedway ticket office and at Gates 4 and 5 the night of the event. Parking is free. Contact the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS or visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com for information.
Spectator gates open at 5 p.m. with preliminary action at 5:30 p.m. Feature racing begins at 7:30 p.m. and is scheduled to conclude by 10:15 p.m.