Texas Thursday Night Stampede Becomes a Family Event

FORT WORTH-DALLAS (June 26, 2000) - While many families are looking for things they can do together this summer, a few have already found the answer. The Grandy's Thursday Night Stampede Legends Car and Bandolero racing series at Texas Motor ...

FORT WORTH-DALLAS (June 26, 2000) - While many families are looking for things they can do together this summer, a few have already found the answer. The Grandy's Thursday Night Stampede Legends Car and Bandolero racing series at Texas Motor Speedway offers a great way for families to spend quality time together. Currently, 16 families race each week in either the Legends Cars or Bandoleros, which are mainly for kids ages 8 -16.

Robert Merino, who began racing in 1997, and his sons Scott, 16, Mark, 14, and Jack, 10, compete each week to defend their Central Yamaha of Plano team Legend's Masters Thursday Night Stampede championship for drivers 40 years of age and older.

"Winning the Stampede championship was really a big deal to me," said Merino. "When I was a beginner, you have doubts if you will ever win a race. But to win the championship with my family, that made it even better." The help Merino's family gave him in the maintenance of his number 42 Legends Car sparked their interest in racing.=20

"My son Scott began racing last year," said Merino. "It was his first full season in a Legends Car. Last year my sons Mark and Kyle began racing a Bandolero. Kyle is going to concentrate on other sports this year but Mark will be back racing again. And my ten-year-old son, Jack, is going to start driving the Bandolero some this year.''

Al Seeley, who won the 1998 Texas State Sportsmanship Award for Legends, and his two sons Trevor, 18, and Brent, 11, race each week to learn about mechanics, business and racing.=20

"We can do it together, but we don't compete against each other," Seeley said. "My kids can compete with kids their own age and people of their own talent level."

Right now the Seeley's race for recreation, but Brent dreams of pursuing a career in motorsports on a more serious level. Brad, who is currently not racing full time, will be leaving for college in the fall.=20

The youngest driver to race in the Bandolero division is eight-year-old John Gottsacker, who has won six National Titles this year. His father, Steve Gottsacker, of University Park, has been racing in his Flash.net Legends Car for almost five years. Steve, John and his brother Mark, 6, practice and race each week to refine their driving skills.

"Few kids are capable of doing this," Steve said. "It takes an incredible amount of time, energy and money."

Some other racing families at Grandy's Thursday Night Stampede Legends and Bandolero racing series are: Brothers, Josh and Jared Whitton, of Carrollton; Jerry Rupe, of Irving, and his son Brian, of Flower Mound; Charlie Pigeon and his sons Blake and Ben, of Abilene; Brothers, Dean and Steven Abbey, of Commanche; Brothers, Michael and J.C. Umscheid, of Cedar Park; Brothers, Kelly Vinson, of New Braunfels, and Rusty Vinson, of Arlington; Jeff Fleming and his son Stephen, of Rockwall; Phillip Marsteller and his sons Trevor and Simon, of Coppell; Brothers, Rod and Brad Slack, of Fort Worth; Michael Hansen and his son Blake, of Plano; Ron Trammell and his son Kevin, of Dallas; Brothers, Van and Paul Miller, of Fort Worth.

One of the more notable father-son duos is Patrick Lawler, of Coppell, and his son Ryan. Patrick, who used to race a Legends Car, is currently racing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Ryan is continuing to race in the Legends Semi Pro Division.

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Series Stock car
Drivers Patrick Lawler , Paul Miller