Monday, August 1, 2011
Ethan Atterberry’s blue Mustang stock car sits on a truck at Callaway Raceways ready for a Friday night race. On the southeastern portion of the grounds, opposite Atterberry, Jake Griffin’s two rides — a late model and an A-modified ride both in black paint with green trim — rest next to him, getting tuned for Griffin’s runs later in the night.
The racing pits are as lively as usual for the end of the week cruises at the dirt road tracks. Drivers file in one by one to get the starting positions for their heats. The process is random: you press a button on a computer screen and the drivers position is set when they push “stop”.
Some are happy with their lot but most are already ruffled by the result, cursing their bad luck under their breath. Some of the drivers are grizzled veterans, the kind who you can imagine have been racing cars — here and elsewhere — for quite some time.
But, believe it or not, youth is in abundance on this night. For every parent- aged driver you see checking in, you’ll see someone young enough to be his child getting signed up right after him. Most, but not all of them, are teenagers. They’re either old enough to drive legally outside of the track or they’re pretty close to it.
Atterberry and Griffin, both age 12, obviously are not. But they still ride each and every week.