'Cheeseburger' Canipe Learns the Legend Car Ropes
Although D.J. Canipe often dominated the Bandolero ranks in last year's Bojangles' Summer Shootout at Charlotte Motor Speedway, he's proven to be just as strong of a competitor in the K1 Speed Young Lions Legend Car division this summer.
Canipe, 14, is already taking on his competition like a veteran.
The Shelby, North Carolina, native and Burns High School freshman started racing when he was eight years old. Canipe's father bought him a Bandolero and helped him begin his racing career in North Carolina.
Although his debut in the car was rough, Canipe, nicknamed "Cheeseburger," quickly caught on and began winning races. As he became a veteran in the Bandolero ranks, he developed into a weekly favorite to visit the winner's circle. It became clear that he needed more of a challenge in order to grow as a driver, so Canipe moved up to the K1 Speed Young Lions Legend Car division this year.
Canipe has spent this summer learning new race craft.
"The biggest adjustment has been the horsepower and learning not to spin the tires," Canipe said. "It's tough because you've got to drive a Legend Car differently than the way you drive a Bandolero. A (Legend Car) has more power. It's a challenge."
Canipe didn't merely move up to a more difficult machine this year. He was also tasked with racing against a new group of budding young drivers. With back-to-back second-place finishes already under his belt, Canipe looks to capture the checkered flag in the last four races of the season to close the point gap with Sam Mayer for the championship. On Tuesday, Canipe's focus shifts to the Shootout's seventh round presented by North Carolina Virtual Academy - a golden opportunity to make up ground.
Even after racing at different tracks around the country, Canipe feels that winning at Charlotte Motor Speedway is the most special.
"It means a lot to win out here in from of all these people," said Canipe, who drives the No. 29 Legend Car in Young Lions. "They put it on television and it gets my name out there."
Round Seven of the Bojangles' Summer Shootout presented by North Carolina Virtual Academy features a Faster Pastor school bus slobberknocker and more Legend Car and Bandolero action. Austin Green will attempt to take his point lead back from Jordan Black, who won the Lead 2 Real Estate Pro division race in Round 6 to put him on top.
Gates open at 5 p.m. with racing beginning at approximately 7 p.m.