NASCAR's Youth Have Racing in Their Blood at Jack in the Box Summer Shootout Series
As the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series takes a break this weekend, the NASCAR community will still flock to the track at the Jack in the Box Summer Shootout Series this Tuesday night. Many of this year's drivers come from NASCAR families and hope to continue the legacy.
Tyler Green, of Davidson, N.C., is a Jack in the Box Summer Shootout Series regular and is often recognized because of his racing family name. His father, Mark Green, raced in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and now races in the Legend Car Security Force Masters division at the Summer Shootout. However, the 24-year-old got more than driving skills from his dad.
Green's current position as the spotter for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Aric Almirola is also something that was handed down from his father. He started filling in for his dad and eventually took on the responsibility full time. According to Green, this experience in the NASCAR world has taught him a lot that he can apply to his own racing career.
"It also benefits my personal racing," Green said. "What I learn from the top-notch guys in the Cup series, and the work ethic and all the tricks of the trade that they go through during the weekend, I can apply some of that to my racing on Tuesday nights."
While Green works full-time in the NASCAR industry, several of the younger Jack in the Box Summer Shootout Series drivers rely on their industry parents for invaluable help in the garage.
Stefan Parsons, a 15-year-old from Cornelius, N.C., is one driver who looks to his father for guidance. Phil Parsons, a former NASCAR driver and current SPEED commentator, advises his son as he races in the Legend Car Young Lions division.
"It's definitely a big help to have him with his knowledge and experience," Parsons said. "I'm glad that I have him so he can help me and maybe give me an advantage that some of my other competitors don't have."
One of Parsons' competitors in the Young Lions division, Jared Irvan, of Midland, N.C., also has a former NASCAR driver in his garage stall. Ernie Irvan, who has 15 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins, uses his own experience in professional racing to guide his 15-year-old son through the Summer Shootout Series.
"You can't really even put a value on it," Irvan said. "He's got all kinds of connections with all different people. It just helps out a lot."
However, it isn't just NASCAR drivers that offer support to Jack in the Box Summer Shootout Series racers. Dakota Ratcliff, of Cornelius, N.C., is the son of Matt Kenseth's crew chief,
Jason Ratcliff. Although his dad does not necessarily work on the 16-year-old driver's car, he still imparts racing experience that helps give his son a leg up on the competition.
"He helps me out more with my driving than anything," Ratcliff said. "Whenever he helps me out, it's kind of things you wouldn't think would work, and then they end up working."
Each of these four racers dreams of a position in the NASCAR world, like former Jack in the Box Summer Shootout Series drivers Darrell Wallace Jr., Trevor Bayne, Joey Logano, Reed Sorenson and David Ragan.
Green said it best: "It's definitely in our blood. It's who we are. It's what we live by."
Other Jack in the Box Summer Shootout Series drivers with NASCAR connections include Tal Davidson, whose stepdad, Bill Henderson, works for Penske Racing; and Dawson Cram, the son of Kevin Cram, a former crew chief in the NASCAR Camping World Truck, Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series.
Legend Car Pro driver Steven Cantrell works for Stewart-Haas Racing, and Semi-Pro racer Austin Langenstein is the son of Tommy Baldwin Racing's competition director, Charlie Langenstein. Bandolero Outlaw Scott Joy's father, Mike, is a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series announcer for Fox Sports. Fellow Bandolero Outlaw, Austin Green, also hails from the Green racing family. His dad, David, won the 1994 NASCAR Nationwide Championship.
See all of these drivers and the rest of the Jack in the Box Summer Shootout Series lineup Tuesday, July 23. Round Eight will feature a First Responder school bus slobberknocker, in addition to a full slate of Legend Car and Bandolero racing.
Tickets for the Jack in the Box Summer Shootout Series are just $7 for adults and are available in advance at the speedway ticket office or at Gates 4 and 5 the night of the event. Kids 13 and under get in free. Spectator gates open at 5 p.m. with preliminary action starting at 5:10 p.m.
Opening ceremonies are scheduled for 6:45 p.m. and feature races are scheduled to conclude by approximately 10 p.m.
Racing will be televisied on the Fox Sports South network, with a recap show airing each Monday following the event at 6 p.m. and a re-air on the following Saturday. Fans should check their local listings for more information.
For tickets to the Jack in the Box Summer Shootout Series, call the Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.
For live updates during the Summer Shootout Series, follow hashtag #SummerShootout on Twitter. To join in on the conversation, simply include #SummerShootout in your tweet.