Next Gen of Racing Takes Over the Quarter-Mile
For 30 years, the Cook Out Summer Shootout has transformed many grassroots racers into renowned household names. Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick are two of the most recognizable names in all of motorsports, and this summer their second generation has found its way to the famed quarter-mile oval at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
While it seems natural that Brexton Busch and Keelan Harvick would develop a need for speed, their NASCAR champion fathers both credit a time when at-track activity came to a standstill as the stimulus for their sons’ desire to race. Kyle Busch took Brexton to a go-kart track for something to do during the COVID-19 pandemic, while Keelan began watching Kevin race on the simulator before eventually getting behind the wheel himself. From go-karts to Bandoleros to Legend Cars, these young drivers haven’t let up off the gas.
Eight-year-old Brexton Busch made his Charlotte Motor Speedway debut this summer in the Beginner Bandoleros division in his No. 18 lime green Serv-Pro machine. Brexton wants to follow in his dad’s tire tracks, as Kyle Busch is the winningest NASCAR driver at Charlotte Motor Speedway with 19 wins across three national series. Brexton is already showing a competitive spirit like his father. In just two feature races, he has already tallied a second-place finish.
“Whenever I wanted to do racing it was because of my dad because he was really good at it,” Brexton said. “The best part about racing for me is the competition because I like to have some good competition.”
For 10-year-old Keelan Harvick, racing at America’s Home for Racing is the next “exciting” step in his journey as he also looks to follow his father, Kevin Harvick, a two-time Coca-Cola 600 winner at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Keelan, who is looking for more experience to grow as a driver, is launching his Shootout career driving the No. 62 Hunt Brothers Pizza Legend Car in the Young Lions Division. So far, Keelan has tallied a sixth-place and a fifth-place finish in two feature race appearances.
“I was really excited and pumped up to come here and it went really good,” Keelan said. “My favorite part is that it’s always a new challenge, you don't know what is going to happen this night or last night so that’s kind of what I’m shooting for.”
Both Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick, say they love the feeling of just being a ‘dad’ during their sons’ racing journeys.
“I think for me, my favorite part is just the growth. And as he (Brexton) gets better and as he learns, he gets more confident,” Kyle said. “I think it’s more fun when you’re able to go to Victory Lane with your son.”
“COVID-19 really changed directions for our family and it kind of helped me decide when to retire after he started racing,” Kevin said. “I can just be a fan and watch and learn and try to help him learn…and chew him out sometimes and all those things that come with being a dad.”
While getting the experience that both dads say is so important, Brexton and Keelan have continued to gain more exposure across different forms of motorsports. Brexton has taken his driving skills to the dirt, as he’s picked up championships in Box Stock Racing. Keelan is earning both racing stripes and passport stamps as he’s taken his driving abilities across the country and around the world.
“Italy so far has been my favorite, because all of the tracks in Italy are really fun and I kind of enjoy that a lot,” Keelan said.
While the two NASCAR dads are now coaching their sons, the goal is for them to succeed and have fun doing it.
“Good luck, do your best, give it everything you got and we’ll see what happens in the end,” Kyle tells Brexton before he leaves the pits.
“The gas is on the right, the brake is on the left,” Kevin says with a grin before Keelan races out.
NEXT UP: Who let the dogs out? We do! Round 7 of the Cook Out Summer Shootout becomes a ‘Dog Day of Summer’ as fans are invited to bring their four-legged friends to Charlotte Motor Speedway on Tuesday, July 11. From Labrador Retrievers to Chihuahuas to Jack Russell Terriers, all dogs are welcome, and dog-owners will fetch a $5 discount on adult admission when they bring their favorite Fido on a leash. Fans should visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com for complete rules and details on Dog Day of Summer at the Cook Out Summer Shootout.
TICKETS: Adult tickets are just $10; kids 12 and under get in FREE. For tickets, schedules and more details about all the happenings at Charlotte Motor Speedway, visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com/tickets.
KEEP TRACK: Follow all the thrilling Cook Out Summer Shootout action using the hashtag #CookOutSSO. Connect with Charlotte Motor Speedway on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.