Most kids learn how to drive in driver’s education. A group of kids from Bloomington learned to drive on the racetrack when they were only fourteen. All that was needed was a small four-cylinder car, a NASCAR learner’s permit, and a track membership.
Last year, in 2011, one of those kids, at the age of fifteen, was the National and Season Champion at Elko Speedway in the Mini Stocks division. Jack Purcell beat the previous winner, a 35-year-old two-time national champion, for the title. The biggest change for him after the win was he earned a little respect from the other drivers.
Jack Purcell goes to Jefferson High School and he races against his friends who he encouraged to race. All together there are seven other Bloomington students racing against him, one of which is his 18-year-old brother Alec Purcell. On the track they all want to win and do their best. But off the track they work together. The group shares a common sponsor, Showcarsupply.net, owned by Todd Thompson.
“The sponsorship consists of the kids helping me at the shop, learning basic automotive skills, and fabrication,” said Todd Thompson. “I cover the cost of the paint, and the labor to paint them, I also pay for the numbers, and graphics, I want the kids to be proud of what they have done, I think it is a life learning lesson.” Other local businesses, including the Federation of Police, also sponsor the teen drivers.
To watch the teens racing Mini Stocks, visit www.goracewaypark.com for a Raceway Park schedule of the Mini Stocks.