NASCAR Kids Carrying on a Family Tradition
Each Tuesday night through Aug. 17, famous racing names such as McReynolds, Blaney, Lajoie, Johnson, Nelson and Wallace take to the frontstretch quarter-mile oval at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway not only with hopes of winning, but also of carrying on a family tradition.
Brandon McReynolds, 13, is the son of FOX and SPEED Channel commentator and former NASCAR NEXTEL Cup crew chief Larry McReynolds. The younger McReynolds is in his fourth season of Hardee¿s Summer Shootout competition, driving in the Cabarrus Family Medicine Bandolero Young Guns division. And according to his father; Brandon was destined to be a race car driver.
¿When he was born it was kind of ironic,¿ said Larry McReynolds, who serves as his son¿s crew chief. ¿Brandon arrived in the middle of the week between the NASCAR All-Star race and the Coca-Cola 600 in 1991. I was crew chief for Davey Allison that year and we won both events.¿
While racing definitely flows through their veins, the McReynolds know the Hardee¿s Summer Shootout offers quality time away from the rigors of the NASCAR circuit.
¿We are pretty competitive,¿ said Brandon McReynolds. ¿Dad always tries to think of it like a real NASCAR race. We spend a lot of time hanging out and working on my car together at our shop. We just mainly try to have fun with it.¿
The younger McReynolds picked up his first Hardee¿s Summer Shootout victory in round three of the 10-week series. The victory was special for both father and son.
¿I worked over 470 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races as a crew chief and won two Daytona 500s with Davey Allison and Dale Earnhardt,¿ said Larry McReynolds. ¿But watching Brandon win that night went right to the top of the chart over all my wins¿including those two 500s.¿
Several new names have joined the group of Hardee¿s Summer Shootout competitors known as the ¿NASCAR Kids.¿
Ryan Blaney, the 10-year-old son of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver Dave Blaney, is in his rookie season of Bandolero competition. His red and yellow Bandits division entry carries the same No. 10 that adorned cars driven by his father and his grandfather, Lou Blaney, throughout much of their careers.
¿My dad pretty much talked me into racing and I see myself staying with it down the road,¿ said Ryan Blaney. ¿My favorite part is getting to go fast.¿
¿Ryan¿s been around racing his whole life,¿ said Dave Blaney, driver for the No. 30 Chevrolet fielded by Richard Childress Racing. ¿I don¿t know how far he will want to go, but I will be here to help him all the way.¿
Casey Lajoie, 9-year-old son of two-time NASCAR Busch Series champion Randy Lajoie, is also a rookie in the TopChoice for Fire Ants Bandolero Bandits. Casey¿s older brother, Corey, is also a Hardee¿s Summer Shootout competitor.
¿I started racing because my dad and my brother both race,¿ said Casey Lajoie. ¿I really like it and I want to stay with it. Sometimes I tear my car up and my dad yells, but most of the time it¿s really fun.¿
Another Bandolero Bandits division tyro is 11-year-old William Nelson. The young Nelson is making steady progress under the watchful eye of his father Gary Nelson, a former NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series crew chief who now serves as NASCAR¿s managing director of research and development .
The 11th annual Hardee¿s Summer Shootout features three classes of Bandolero racing, three divisions of Legends Cars, Thunder Roadsters and a novelty event. Nearly 170 race cars will jam the pit area each Tuesday night through Aug. 17.
Admission is just $5 for adults. Children 6-12 are admitted for $3 and kids under 6 are 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 for information or to purchase tickets.
Spectator gates open at 5 p.m. with preliminary action at 5:25. Feature racing begins at 7:30 p.m. and is scheduled to conclude by 10:15.
- Ryan Blaney drives the No. 10 car in the TopChoice for Fire Ants Bandolero Bandits division and is the 10-year-old son of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver Dave Blaney.
- Tyler Green, 15, mans the cockpit of the No. 20 machine in the Cabarrus Family Medicine Bandolero Young Guns division. Tyler is the son of NASCAR Busch Series driver Mark Green and the nephew of Busch Series champions David and Jeff Green.
- Kyle Grissom, 14, pilots the No. 31 machine in the Tom Johnson Camping Center Legends Car Pro division. He is the 1999 Bandolero Nationals champion and the 2000 Hardee¿s Summer Shootout Bandolero Bandits champion. Grissom is the son of 1993 NASCAR Busch Series champion Steve Grissom.
- Bret Hylton drives the No. 81 in the Cabarrus Family Medicine Bandolero Young Guns division. He is the 15-year-old son of Butch Hylton, a NASCAR Busch Series crew chief for Richard Childress Racing.
- Jessie Johnson pilots the No. 48 car in the Cabarrus Family Medicine Bandolero Young Guns division. He is the 15-year-old brother of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup title contender Jimmie Johnson.
- Casey Lajoie fills the seat of the No. 17 car in the TopChoice for Fire Ants Bandolero Bandits division. Casey is the 9-year-old son of two-time NASCAR Busch Series champion Randy Lajoie.
- Corey Lajoie,10, drives the No. 71 Cabarrus Family Medicine Bandolero Young Guns entry. He is the son of two-time NASCAR Busch Series champion Randy Lajoie.
- Brandon McReynolds, 13, pilots the No. 8 in the Cabarrus Family Medicine Bandolero Young Guns division. He is the son of FOX and SPEED Channel commentator and veteran NASCAR NEXTEL Cup crew chief Larry McReynolds.
- William Nelson drives the No. 2 machine in the TopChoice for Fire Ants Bandolero Bandits division. Nelson is the 11-year-old son of Gary Nelson, managing director of research and development for NASCAR and a former NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series crew chief.
- Chrissy Wallace pilots the No. 4 entry in the Raceape.com Legends Car Semi-Pro division. She is the 16-year-old daughter of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series driver Mike Wallace.