Minority Racer Chase Austin Ready For Nascar's Diversity Drive Teenage Stock Car Champ To Be Recognized as 2004 AFDIM Horizon Award Winner During Coca Cola World 600 Weekend At Lowes Motor Speedway (Eudora, KS -- May 20, 2004) ...
Minority Racer Chase Austin Ready For Nascar's Diversity Drive
Teenage Stock Car Champ To Be Recognized as 2004 AFDIM Horizon Award Winner During Coca Cola World 600 Weekend At Lowes Motor Speedway
(Eudora, KS -- May 20, 2004) Although his birth certificate shows Chase Austin may be only 14 years old, his character and professional performance on America's stock car circuits have been recognized as a maturing standing throughout the motorsports industry. The youngster from the Kansas City area was named as the 2004 recipient of the Association for Diversity in Motorsports (AFDIM) Horizon Award winner. The award is presented to the minority competitor showing the greatest promise in motorsports who displays tenacity and the fortitude necessary to become a motorsports great achiever.
The special presentation will take place prior to the running of the NASCAR Busch Grand National Division's at Lowes Motor Speedway on Saturday, May 29th in conjunction with other special ceremonies recognizing industry leaders spearheading initiatives involving diversity and minority programs for future racing stars and special accomplishments by leaders in the motorsports industry.
Austin, a talented minority teenage stock car professional, was recognized for his tremendous racing achievements at such a young age and for his performance in action on the 2003 Topless Outlaw Racing Association (TORA). During his rookie season in 750-horsepowered dirt late models Chase Austin recorded 5 wins with 15 top-ten finishes while winning the TORA Most Improved Driver award. The youngster was also honored as the Rookie of the Year at Thunder Valley Speedway in Mayetta, Kansas and finished second in a national poll of rookie late model drivers from across the nation.
Austin, who began his racing career at age eight in Go Karts, has progressed rapidly through the Sprint Car and Stock Car divisions on the national racing scene and is now prepared to take another step toward his future aspirations in the top ranks of American Stock Car Racing. Last season's successes in the realm of Dirt Late Model competition saw Chase Austin race competitively against the likes of recognized champions Scott Bloomquist, Freddy Smith, Rick Eckert, Steve Francis, Dale McDowell, Larry McDaniels, Kenny Schrader and others. Austin's growth plans involve competing on the American Speed Association (ASA) Late Model Series. In addition, Austin will continue to hone his skills near home when not on the road and those laps of competition and learning will come at I-70 Speedway in Odessa, Missouri near his home of Eudora, Kansas. I-70 Speedway is renown as a proving grounds for stock car champions of past and current eras.
Last October Chase Austin turned heads with impressive outings on the national Dirt Late Model scene including a strong performance at Bluegrass Speedway in Bardstown, Kentucky which resulted in his winning the "Future Dirt Track World Championship" as he went head-to-head against dozens of the country's top up and coming drivers. Although the field was filled with many competitors with much more experience and age than Chase, the 14-year-old barnstormer sped ahead and scored the biggest win of his young career.
Austin has been touted by industry leaders as one of the future superstars of the sport and has impressed many of the sports top executives with his racing talents and demeanor.
"Chase is one of the best African American drivers I have ever seen. He has been very successful at a young age," points out H. A. Humpy Wheeler, President and General Manager of Lowe's Motor Speedway and long-time leader in the stock car racing industry. "He is also mastering the techniques of driving a car on very slick race tracks (high powered stock cars on dirt tracks) which will prove most helpful as he advances his career into NASCAR," continues Wheeler who is known for his keen eye for talent in the auto racing world. "If he continues to make progress, there is no doubt in my mind that we will see him in a major racing circuit within the next few years."
A handful of other powerbrokers in the sport have also witnessed the potential of Austin's young career and future potential, both on and off the racetrack, including Publisher-Emeritus Chris Economaki of the National SPEEDSPORT NEWS and NASCAR Chief Operating Officer George Pyne. During the off-season following his 2003 successes, Austin continued his educational pursuit as well as involving his time and energy toward worthwhile causes and public appearances, including visits to schools and other youth initiatives.
Away from the racetrack Chase Austin has been recognized as a young leader and talented speaker in delivering the important message of focus on education and family values. Austin has also been honored as one of the leading minority youngsters in the sports world and has been the focus of national and regional media attention based on his positive influence on children and talents on the racetrack.
The plans for Chase Austin's growth in motorsports reach beyond this season's action on the newly created ASA Late Model Series and experience gained at I-70 Speedway. As progress continues and the talented stock car driver gains added track time, the plans call for Austin to move toward the national ASA Racing series in 2005 while continuing limited action in the sanctioning body's Late Model Series as well.
Other young drivers on the rise have taken note of Chase Austin's growing career. Clint Bowyer, a fellow Kansan, moved into the Richard Childress Racing (RCR) owned Reese's sponsored Chevrolet Monte Carlo in 2004 sharing the driving duties with NASCAR Nextel Cup regular Kevin Harvick. Bowyer, like many other talents in the business feels that Chase Austin has the winning makeup for future success in the sport.
"I've had the chance to race with Chase and am impressed with his abilities," noted Clint Bowyer who has recently showcased his own talents at the wheel of the RCR Reese's Chevrolet in NASCAR's Busch Grand National Division. "Chase is talented and has the support of his family and friends in the business which can enable him to move forward to the next level of racing. That's the kind of support that has helped me and with continued experience Chase Austin should make a very good racer during his own career."
Bowyer's former Late Model team will assist in the crew duties for Chase Austin throughout the season and have turned over some of the organization's former equipment to the team including a racecar that Austin will use on the ASA Late Model Series.
ASA Racing's history has proven to be one of the most successful racing circuits in stock car racing during its rich 35-year existence. Former champions of ASA Racing include many legends and champions of the sport's highest level. Rusty Wallace, Mark Martin, Jimmie Johnson, Johnny Benson, Darrell Waltrip, Johnny Sauter, Tim Raines and the late Alan Kulwicki are among the many champions to come out of the ASA Ranks. In addition, past and present short track kingpins such as Mike Eddy, Bob Seneker, Gary St. Amant, Butch Miller, Mike Garvey and others have led the stock car world's growth through their successes on the ASA Racing tour.
This season's expansion of ASA Racing to include the newly formed Late Model Series provides further future growth opportunities for young racers. ASA Racing has continued to expand his reach now only through the ranks of Stock Cars, but also involving Open Wheel Modified and Truck classes to its sanctioned ranks. In fact, as part of the new path taken by ASA Racing events on the national circuit this season include stops at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Lowes Motor Speedway and Kentucky Speedway. Founded by stock car innovator and promoter Rex Robbins, ASA Racing has been recognized as a leader in the motorsports industry through its national and global television audience and appeal. As part of ASA Racing's continued influence and success many national and international corporate leaders have successfully participated as major sponsors of the organization and its competing teams due to the affordability and delivery of results attained from marketing partnerships with ASA Racing.
The career accomplishments and future plans of Chase Austin are no longer a secret within the racing industry. Experiences gained on the testy, high-speed dirt ovals across the nation are now being applied to the new agenda for the young talent as he prepares to move forward with more seat time in action on paved ovals and eventually super speedways.
"Midway through the summer word began to filter from the west to the east that there was some kid out in Kansas who was racing. No big deal I thought as there are lots of teenagers getting into racecars, but this one was different," notes veteran motorsports writer and publicist Doc Lehman of DirtAmerica Online and Dirt Late Model magazine. "This kid wasn't in a Champ Kart or a Mini Sprint, this 13-year old was racing a full-blown Late Model and, get this, he was winning. It became readily apparent that this kid was for real."
Chase Austin is currently being considered by several leading stock car racing organizations as a potential candidate for long-term involvement in both youth and minority diversity programs. At present, the team is meeting with industry leaders in order to finalize plans for the next three to five seasons.
Whether racing on the track or at home with family and friends, Chase Austin manages to accomplish one of his most important goals with increasingly impressive results, as indicated by his grades and performance reports from school. Austin attends middle school in Eudora, Kansas and when on the road receives assignments from his teachers via e-mail and fax. Steve Austin, the father of the young driver, has served as team crew chief while mentoring his teen-age son on the road. Chase's mother, Marianne stays busy structuring and planning appearances and business affairs for the team when not on the road racing with her son and husband.
In addition to the continuing guidance that Chase receives from his parents, team member Marci McDaniels plays a vital role in the future endeavors of Chase and the team. Marci is the daughter of multi-time Late Model Champion Larry McDaniels of Wichita, Kansas and will lead merchandising and promotional opportunities involving the popular teenage racecar driver. Currently Ms. McDaniels is putting together all details for the Official Chase Austin Fan Club.
Former crewmembers of Clint Bowyer's late model program, Bob Morton, Jeff Stacy and Jennifer Collins will provide support to Chase Austin's efforts with the ASA Late Model Series competition and at I-70 Speedway. Tony Mlynarski and Greg Watkins have been key factors in Chase's past efforts in dirt racing and will continue to provide input and crew efforts as Chase makes the move to asphalt. To learn more about the rising career of this exciting young stock car competitor visit the official web site for Chase Austin found on the Internet at www.chaseaustin.net.