Many six-year-old kids haven’t learned to ride a bicycle without training wheels. Keegan Weese of Amherst has skipped bikes altogether and gone straight to motorized racing.
He’s been competing in United States Auto Club quarter midget races since he was four.
“I grew up around it,” said his father, Justin Weese. “A good friend of mine races super modified cars at Sandusky Speedway and his son races. I got Keegan into it through them. He wanted to do it and now here we are.”
The work is already paying off. Keegan has recorded a trio of top-three finishes in the past month, including a win in Toledo over fellow drivers as old as 11.
“Every day I hear about how he wants to drive a sprint car,” said Weese. “I tell him we need to worry about the quarter midgets first. He always wants to watch sprint cars on YouTube. This weekend I asked him if he wanted the weekend off and he said no.”
Young drivers are equipped with a five-point harness, fire suit, helmet, and gloves. It took a bit of convincing to get Keegan used to the gear, his father said.
“At first it was a little rough getting him suited up,” he said “After he realized how important it was and got used to it it was much easier.”
Keegan said the routine is becoming easier and easier.
“Everyone makes sure I have my buckles, helmet arm restraints, and everything on to keep me safe in the car,” he said. “If there is a wreck on the track I know to slow down when they throw the yellow flag or if they throw the red flag I know to stop.”
He also cited a simple but effective strategy and talked about some of the drivers who have inspired him to take up racing.
“I just hold the gas pedal down and try and drive around them,” he said. “My dad sets my car up to go fast! My favorite drivers are Dale Earnhardt Jr., Rico Abreu, and Bryan Clausen. I got to meet Rico and Bryan at a dirt track once when they were racing sprint cars.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.
Photos courtesy of Elite51 Six-year-old Keegan Weese of Amherst celebrates after a quarter midget car race win in Toledo.