Summer Shootout Drivers Have Familiar Last Names
More than 170 competitors fill the pit area each Tuesday night with hopes of winning, but for a handful of young drivers with famous racing relatives, winning is simply another step in their master plan.
¿I want to be a professional driver when I grow up,¿ said 14-year-old Adam Crawford, son of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series title contender Rick Crawford. ¿I picked up my driving style from my father and each week I hope to improve my racing to try to reach his level.¿
Reaching the next level and beyond is the dream of most Summer Shootout competitors, but it is especially true for drivers with family ties to the NASCAR fraternity.
¿My goal is to get to Winston Cup and win more than seven championships,¿ said 12-year-old Brandon McReynolds, son of FOX commentator and former NASCAR Winston Cup crew chief Larry McReynolds.
Chrissy Wallace, 15-year-old daughter of NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Series driver Mike Wallace, also wants to follow in her dad¿s footsteps and hopes she will eventually make it to stock car racing¿s premier series.
However, not all of the youngsters aspire to establish careers behind the wheel. Jessie Johnson, 14-year-old brother of NASCAR Winston Cup driver Jimmie Johnson, hopes to make his mark as a crew chief.
¿I like the action behind building the cars,¿ commented Johnson, citing his brother Jimmie as a big influence and a source of inspiration. ¿My other brother, Jarit, is my crew chief, so I have learned from watching both of my brothers.¿
Having an experienced driver or crew chief on hand is very valuable for the young racers. Bret Hylton, son of NASCAR Busch Series crew chief Butch Hylton, has found his father¿s experience translates well to his Bandolero.
¿My dad has helped me with my driving style and technique because he can see things as a crew chief that a driver might miss,¿ said the 14-year-old Hylton. ¿His pointers have really come in handy.¿
In addition to learning various skills of the trade from their family members, the 10-week Summer Shootout Series provides members of the NASCAR fraternity a chance to spend quality time with their families.
¿My dad¿s gone a lot on the weekends,¿ explained 18-year-old Troy Andrews, son of Winston Cup crew chief Paul Andrews. ¿The Summer Shootout Series allows us to spend time together when we go to the track to practice on Monday and race on Tuesday nights.¿
¿My dad and I get to work on the car together and race the car together. It¿s a lot of fun,¿ said McReynolds.
The young racers also have a unique bond. Kyle Grissom, 13-year-old son of 1993 Busch Series champion Steve Grissom, competes in the Legends Car Pro division and has become good friends with Tyler Green, Corey Lajoie and McReynolds.
¿We hang out and are always around each other,¿ Grissom said.
The 10th annual Summer Shootout Series continues every Tuesday night through Aug. 12 featuring three classes of Legends Car racing, three divisions of Bandoleros competition and the Thunder Roadsters. Gates open at 5 p.m. with preliminary action at 5:30 pm. Feature racing begins at 7:30 p.m.
Adult tickets are just $5 with children 6-12 admitted for $3 and kids under 6 free. Tickets are available in advance from the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS or at Gates 4 and 5A the night of the event. Parking is free.
Summer Shootout¿s ¿NASCAR Kids¿
Matt Martin pilots the No. 2 machine in the Bandolero Bandits division. He is the 11-year-old son of veteran NASCAR Winston Cup driver Mark Martin.
Corey Lajoie drives the No. 71 car in the Bandolero Bandits division and is the 9-year-old son of two-time NASCAR Busch Series champion Randy Lajoie.
Brandon McReynolds mans the cockpit of the No. 48 machine in the Bandolero Bandits division. He is the 12-year-old son of FOX commentator and veteran NASCAR Winston Cup crew chief Larry McReynolds.
Adam Crawford pilots the No. 14 machine in the Bandolero Young Guns division and is the 14-year-old son of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series title contender Rick Crawford.
Bret Hylton drives the No. 81 car in the Bandolero Young Guns division. Hylton is the 14-year-old son of Butch Hylton, a NASCAR Busch Series crew chief for Richard Childress Racing.
Jessie Johnson, 14, mans the No. 48 Bandolero Young Guns entry. Jessie is the brother of NASCAR Winston Cup driver Jimmie Johnson.
Kyle Grissom, 13, drives the No. 31 car in the Legends Car Pro division. He is the 1999 Bandolero Nationals champion and the 2000 Summer Shootout Bandolero Bandits champion. His father is 1993 NASCAR Busch Series champion Steve Grissom.
Troy Andrews pilots the No. 1 ride in the Legends Car Pro division. Troy is the 18-year-old son of NASCAR Winston Cup crew chief Paul Andrews.
Chrissy Wallace drives the No. 4 car in the Legends Car Semi-Pro division and is the 15-year-old daughter of NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Series driver Mike Wallace.
Keven Wood fills the seat of the No. 20 car in the Legends Car Semi-Pro division and is the 18-year-old son of NASCAR Winston Cup team owner Len Wood and grandson of NASCAR legend Leonard Wood.
Tyler Green, 14, pilots the No. 20 machine in the Bandolero Young Guns division. He is the son of former NASCAR Busch Series driver Mark Green and nephew of NASCAR Winston Cup driver Jeff Green and NASCAR Busch Series title contender David Green.