Clayton Weatherman has scored over 130 victories in just five short years of racing. In 2012 he moves up the Legend’s Series Young Gun division and has firmly established himself.
When you are 12-years old, the world looks big and the future is as far away as you can see. In just five short years behind the wheel, Clayton Weatherman has traveled farther than most and has certainly won more races than many that have raced a lifetime.
Clayton calls Wentzville, MO home but this 12-year old finds himself on the road for much of the year as he chases his racing dream that he hopes someday will take him to the top of the sport. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
And while NASCAR stardom may be a few years away, he has established himself as a fierce competitor no matter where he races. He has compiled an impressive list of wins (130) at 32 different venues across the country.
The 2012 season has brought new change to Clayton as he moves up to the Young Lions division of the Legend Car Series. These purposely built 5/8-scale replicas of 1930’s coupes and sedans are one of the fastest and most successful forms of motorsports in the country.
“I really love driving the Legend car,” Clayton offered. “They are so fast and responsive compared to the Bandelaro. You have to be so easy on the throttle or you can spin yourself out. Racing these cars teaches you to a better driver.”
Clayton and his team started out the season competing in the Lone Star Legends Winter Series at Texas Motor Speedway where he finished second (to his older brother Kyle) in January then backed that up with a pairs of wins three weeks ago.
This past week, Clayton traveled to Auburndale (FL) Speedway for a week-long winter series on the 3/8-mile paved oval. His results were mixed finishing 3rd, 5th, 2nd, 14th, and 11th in five consecutive nights of racing, but it is all about seat time.
“We plan to race whenever and wherever we can this year and our goal is to win races,” Clayton revealed. “The best way to learn is to race and if we are winning we must be learning.”
While many of his peers are in the classroom, Clayton’s educational path is not envied by many. “My family places some pressure on my brother and me to get good grades or we do not get to race,” Clayton said. “My teachers and the school are real supportive and I stay late most days and when we are not racing to try to get all of my homework completed before leaving to a race. It is tough but totally worth it.”
Clayton’s favorite subject is math and that is a good thing as he continues to pile up wins and statistics that the rest of us would have difficulty keeping track of. Next up for Clayton and the Weatherman Motorsports team is a trip to the Bullring at Las Vegas (NV) Motor Speedway on back to back weekends March 17/18 and 24/25.
You can follow Clayton all season long at http://www.weathermanmotorsports.com
Twenty-year-old Kyle Larson conserved his tires and won the 72nd running of the Thanksgiving Night Grand Prix for USAC Midgets, adding his name to a trophy that features some of the greatest names in American racing.
Known popularly as “Turkey Night,” the Southern California racing tradition began in 1934 on the dirt track of LA’s long-gone Gilmore Stadium. Bob Swanson won that first race but the names of winners and near-winners include some of the greatest of American Indy and NASCAR drivers: Parnelli Jones, AJ Foyt, Johnnie Parsons, Bill Vukovich and Danny Oakes have all won the Thursday night classic, while modern NASCAR heroes like Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne, JJ Yeley and Jason Leffler have all raced in it. Turkey Night has gobbled up great tracks all over Southern California, too, many of them also long gone: Gilmore, Gardena, Ascot Raceway Park (where it ran from 1960 to 1990) and more recently at other tracks that have been eaten like a drumstick by land developers like Saugus and Mesa Marin. The race was held at Perris in 1996, Ventura in ’97 (both still in business) and since 1990 at the half-mile paved oval of Irwindale. But with Irwindale’s recent management troubles the race returned to the clay surface of Perris Auto Speedway a hundred miles inland from the ocean.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled,” said promoter JC Agajanian Jr., whose famous family ran Ascot for many decades. “Turkey Night belongs on the dirt.”
And to the dirt it returned, doubling the number of entries from 30-something at the paved Irwindale to close to 70 on the Perris dirt. Perris is one of the best half-mile dirt tracks in the nation, with everything from a well-groomed clay surface to clean restrooms and Tri-Tip BBQ in the concession stands.
The field this year included entries from USAC National Midgets, USAC Western States Midgets and Western States Dirt Midgets, all of which are bound by the same rules and run the same cars but which don’t always compete wheel-to-wheel during their respective seasons. All those seasons end with the Turkey Night GP and any one of the cars can win this race. Qualifying runs all afternoon Thanksgiving Day determine the first 14 cars on the grid, while two evening qualifying races of 12 laps each determine the final 16 entries.
The 2012 USAC National Midget Championship had already been won by the ever-enthusiastic points leader Darren Hagen, but he took the pole for the night’s race anyway, setting a track record in the process.
The race got off to a clean start and the howling, alcohol-fueled Midgets screamed around the track counterclockwise for a full 32 laps before the first yellow. A midget race is a remarkable sight to see, the cars actually do wheelies coming out of the corners, fly down the main straights and then flip sideways into the turns. The field creates a vortex of dust, dirt and alcohol that spins above the stadium like a glorious, toxic tornado that simultaneously makes it hard to breathe and impossible to hear. Your ears will keep ringing for days. The fans love it. The drivers love it. You can see why people keep coming back. Who needs football?
Larson was at or near the front the whole race and lead most of it, a feat made all the more remarkable considering the changing track surface.
Deciding how much water to lay down on the track is always tricky.
“Too much and it gets slippery as hell, too little and it gets dry as hell,” said team owner Tom Malloy, whose father owned the old Carroll Speedway near Los Angeles.
At first the cars slid around the slippery stuff, using a high- and a low line through the corners. But as the 98-lap race progressed, the top line dried out and drove most down lower. A total of seven yellows and one red flag interrupted the flow, but Larson managed his tires and held off challenges from many of the frontrunners, all of whose tires eventually couldn’t take the grippy line and who all fell back, leaving Larson at the front at the checkered flag.
“I spent the whole race trying to save my tires,” said Larson.
“When I got to the outside of ya’, there wasn’t nothin’ I could do,” said Bryan Clausen, who challenged for the lead early on but dropped out after a rollover caused by the track surface at the top of turn 1 brought out the only red flag of the race on lap 78.
“It was kind of a race of endurance because of the tire issue,” said second-place finisher and former USAC Triple Crown winner Jerry Coons. “(The track’s) really abrasive on tires so I just got really conservative. It’s kind of fun when it becomes a mind race.”
Ryan Bernal finished third, Nic Faas was fourth and Shane Golobic fifth.
Now the racers get a little time off before the whole thing starts again in 2013. Make plans to bring the portable deep fryer to Perris next year and cook up your turkey right in the parking lot, as many fans did. That’s a family tradition you might find you like.
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Racing is a sport dominated by families and where families become legends. Weatherman Motorsports is on the path to becoming the next legendary racing family with the brother pair of Kyle and Clayton Weatherman.
Older brother Kyle, 14, is a phenom behind the wheel on both dirt and asphalt. Last season, Kyle Weatherman won the prestigious USLCI Nationals winning out over 160 of the top drivers in the country.
Younger brother Clayton, 12, has also experienced staggering success behind the wheel. In 2010, this young driver went to Victory Lane an astonishing 30 times. This gave him an unheard of winning percentage, winning 2 out of every 3 races he entered.
Kyle competes in the Legends Pro division and had already accumulated twenty starts prior to the Summer Shootout this season, though he did have an unexpectedly slow start to the Summer Shootout. . He scored eight wins along with 14 top five and 15 top ten performances. He has made starts in his Legend car, Dirt Super Late Model, and in IMCA Modified this season.
Meanwhile, Clayton Weatherman has scored nine wins in sixteen starts so far this season but his performance at the Summer Shootout did not go as well as expected. Clayton is continuing to heal from a broken thumb that required surgery and pins after a disastrous crash in Texas back in May.
Having just completed their latest race at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the Weatherman brothers proved once again why they are two of the nation’s top Legend racers.
In the two day USLCI qualifier where Young Lions, Semi-Pro and Pro classes were combined, the brothers scored four top three finishes. Both drivers dominated their heats and finished second (Kyle) and fourth (Clayton).
The next race on the schedule for the Weatherman brothers is the third weekend of November; once again motor speedway scheduled at The Bullring in Las Vegas. While they may be a family and take pride in competing together, there certainly is a bit of sibling rivalry. Both brothers are always rooting for each other, but that doesn’t stop them from competing fiercely against each other at the same time.
With their competitive spirit, will to achieve and sheer talent, it is certain that the career the Weatherman brothers have already made for themselves is beginning. Weatherman is surely the Motor Sports Racing name of the future and definitely of the present.
About Weatherman Motorsports:
Weatherman Motorsports is owned by Daryn Weatherman, founder of St. Charles Glass and Glazing Inc. in suburban St. Louis, MO. The team is comprised of his sons, Kyle and Clayton who compete predominantly in Legend cars. Weatherman takes pride in funding the dreams of his two sons.
This past weekend at The Bullring at Las Vegas (NV) Motor Speedway, 14-year old Kyle and 12-year old Clayton Weatherman demonstrated why they are two of the nation’s top Legend car drivers.
In two days of racing action where Young Lions, Semi-Pro, and Pro classes were merged, the duo scored four top three finishers on the 3/8-mile banked oval.
On Saturday, the team worked on setups logging a number of laps to break in the new spec Federal tires used in competition. The tires need more than 100-laps on them to even begin to work well according to crew chief Michael Harper.
After the first practice session both boys were near the top of the speed charts but Clayton was dealt a blow when a camshaft failed setting the team in action to swap out the spec Yamaha engine. Thirty-eight minutes later with a new engine in place, Clayton made it back out on the track in time for the second practice session.
Both drivers were dominate in their heat races and registered second (Kyle) and third (Clayton) place finishes respectively in the 25-lap main event.
After an evening of relaxation that included cosmic bowling with the team, the Weatherman brothers were back in action on Sunday afternoon dominating the events. Kyle claimed the victory with Clayton a close second in the feature race.
“There is nothing like winning and we had a much better car on Sunday,” Kyle Weatherman offered. “We needed the tires to come in and once they did we were really good. I like coming out to Vegas and certainly have had good success there.”
Last season, Kyle Weatherman won the prestigious USLCI Nationals besting over 160 of the top drivers in the country.
For his part, Clayton Weatherman enjoyed the finish but he also knew he was close. You can call it sibling rivalry. “All I want to do is beat Kyle,” Clayton Weatherman said. “We got close this weekend and I know it will happen soon. I really enjoy racing Kyle and I liked this track a lot. The Bullring is a fun place to race.”
Next up for the duo is the Monster Jam World Finals back in Las Vegas at Sam Boyd Stadium this coming weekend. Both boys will attend a two day autograph session on Friday and Saturday as well as participate in team activities for crew chief Michael Harper, who owns The Outlaw Monster Truck. You can follow both Kyle and Clayton all season long at http://www.weathermanmotorsports.com, http://www.kyleweatherman.com, http://www.claytonweatherman.com or on Facebook.
About Weatherman Motorsports
Weatherman Motorsports is owned by successful business entrepreneur Daryn Weatherman who operates a large commercial and residential glass business in suburban St. Louis, MO. The team features his sons, Kyle and Clayton who compete primarily in Legend cars. This season Kyle wil also make starts in IMCA Modfieds, Dirt Late Models, and in ARCA Racing Series. You fan follow all the action all season at http://www.weathermanmotorsports.com. The team is supported by loyal sponsors that include: United Nissan, CashBack, St. Charles Glass & Glazing, Mittler Brothers Machine, Tanner by Mittler Brothers, and Richardson Racing Products.
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The 2012 racing season continues to wind down as more racetracks held their final shows of the season this past weekend and several more champions were crowned north of the border.
The Brockville Ontario Speedway in Quebec held the final races of the DIRTcar 358-modified and pro stock series on the tiny 1/3-mile d-shaped track. Rochester’s Danny Johnson won the 100-lap battle but Cortland’s Dale Planck won the war while a former champion went out on a high note as he gets ready for a move up in 2013.
Johnson moved around local legend Stephane LaFrance on lap 21 and held off Syracuse winner Brett Hearn early on and surging North Country driver Billy Dunn in the closing laps for his third win this year on the series.
“I’m very fortunate to have a great hot rod here at the end of the season,” Johnson said, “It’s a phenomenal hot rod, that’s all I can tell you. It’s the same car that we ran here last year and won with, so it’s a proven piece for us.”
Planck also had a great hot rod but knew he was in trouble early as the track changed to a hard, rubber-down condition and began to eat up tires. So he decided to pit on lap 31 to change tires even though he came into the race with enough of a point lead where his finish didn’t matter.
“I figured that at the end at least my tires would have 30 less laps on it than everyone else,” Planck explained, “The restarts were real good, because it seemed like I could get a good start on the outside with the fresh tires. And then at the end I saw myself fifth on the board, and I was just hanging on, just happy to see myself finish fifth with the car in one piece”
On Friday night at Brockville, Quebec’s Stephane LeBrun held off defending champion Joey Ladouceur to win the 50-lap DIRTcar Pro Stock Series finale for his first-ever win on the series.
“I feel very happy,” the French speaking LeBrun said through an interpreter, “The car was running good, I thank my pit crew and my family for everything, and Brockville for having this.”
Ladouceur had to finish eighth or better to wrap up the championship and he came from ninth to second in a hurry while dodging an early wreck on lap 24 that ripped a fender off his car. Once in second, he then decided to curb his aggression and think about the big picture.
“I wasn’t willing to take too many chances.” Ladouceur said. “I was going at it conservatively … cautiously aggressive,”
Now Ladouceur will say goodbye to the stock car world as he is purchasing one of his dad’s modifieds and turning it into a sportsman with the goal of following that open-wheel series in 2013.
Steve Poirier ended his season as it began with a win in the Patriot Sprint Tour finale at Brockville. It was his third victory of his shortened season as he missed several races because of a mid-season knee surgery. Auburn’s Bryan Howland was second while Constantia native Jason Barney was third.
New Jersey’s Ryan Godown beat Danny Johnson for the win Friday night as the Penn Can Speedway held King of the Can Weekend. Joey Grammes, Billy Decker and Stewart Friesen rounded out the top five.
Tim Fuller picked up his first win with his new late-model team and it was a big one as he won “The Ultimate” at Hesston Speedway in Hesston, Pennsylvania. The win for Fuller was worth $10,000.
This weekend, Orange County Fair Speedway in Middletown hosts the Super DIRTcar Series as part of the three-day Eastern States Weekend while Black Rock Speedway in Dundee runs the Dutch Hoag National Open on Saturday with a big-block/small-block shootout headlining the six-division show there.
Here are some storylines and favorites to watch heading into tonight’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway:
Carl Edwards looking to recapture last year’s form
In the offseason, Carl Edwards was tabbed as one of the favorites to win the Sprint Cup Series championship. While he hasn’t struggled to the level of Jeff Gordon or Kasey Kahne, Edwards thus far has yet to live up the preseason hype. Despite three top-10s in six races, the Roush Fenway driver is still searching for consistency – which was his trademark a year ago – and more glaring, he surprisingly has yet to lead a single lap.
Expect that to change tonight, as Edwards has a track-best three wins at Texas and finished second and third here last year.
Another win for Stewart-Haas Racing?
With wins in 50 percent of the races ran this year and both its drivers comfortably inside the top 10 in points, no team has performed better this season than Stewart-Haas Racing. There is little reason to think that success won’t continue this evening on the 1.5-mile track.
At least that was the thinking before Tony Stewart wrecked on his very first lap during Friday’s practice session. It was a serious blow considering that was the same chassis he won with last year at Chicagoland and a few weeks back at Las Vegas – not so coincidently both tracks are of mile-and-a-half variety just like the one they’ll be racing on tonight.
Perhaps the SHR banner will again be carried by Stewart’s teammate Ryan Newman, who is coming off a victory two weeks ago at Martinsville. Newman has struggled here recently, but he does have a Texas win under his belt (2003) and registered top 10 finishes earlier this year at Vegas and Fontana.
The time is now for Kahne, Gordon and others
We’ve stated it many times, but it continues to be a theme through the early part of the season as many a big name are off to slow starts and need to kick things into high gear. Primarily, we mean the Hendrick Motorsports duo of Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon, both of whom have been saddled with serious bouts of back luck. But this also applies to Kyle Busch, who is 16th in points with two finishes in the 30s in his last three races; Jamie McMurray, 24th overall; and Kurt Busch, just one top-10 on the year and 26th in the standings.
A happy return to speedway racing for Greg Biffle
If any driver is happy to put Bristol and Martinsville in his rearview mirror, it has to be Greg Biffle. The series points leader has only finished outside the top 10 twice this season and in both instances it came on the two short tracks. But with a return to a bigger track and the style of racing he has had much success on throughout his career, the driver of the No. 16 Ford should be a constant presence up near the front of the field. And don’t be surprised if Biffle, who qualified third, scores his first win of 2012 and his second Texas win overall.
* Nine of the last 12 races at Texas Motor Speedway have been won by a driver starting in the top 10. According to Denny Hamlin, this is because the faster speeds run in the cool evening air make it harder to pass, putting a premium on starting up front.
* Jeff Burton, Jeff Gordon, Bobby Labonte and Mark Martin are the only four drivers to have started all 22 Texas races.
* Both Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s first career Nationwide Series win (1998) and his first career Sprint Cup win (2000) occurred here.
Assuming no mechanical gremlins crop up like they did in Vegas, and there are no issues on pit road like there were at Fontana, expect to see the blue deuce somewhere in the top 10 by race end.
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Only a few weeks away from her NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut in the Daytona 500 on Feb. 26, former IZOD IndyCar Series star Danica Patrick revealed Monday that she will be skipping the 2012 running of the Indianapolis 500.
Instead, Patrick revealed during the opening stop of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway that she will be behind the wheel of the No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet fielded by Stewart-Haas Racing during the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 27.
“I’ve wanted to race stock cars for a little while here and it’s happening,” Patrick said. “We’ve added another challenge with the Coke 600, or Coke 6,000 as I’ve been told.”
The decision, Patrick said, was mainly a business decision. Patrick has raced in the past seven Indianapolis 500s, earning a best finish of third in 2009 while driving for Andretti Green Racing.
“I hope to do it in the future, the Indy 500 that is. Maybe it’ll be a double,” Patrick said, referring to the Coca-Cola 600 and Indianapolis 500 double that her Sprint Cup team owner Tony Stewart, John Andretti and Robby Gordon have done in the past.
Patrick is scheduled to run up to 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events this year for Stewart-Haas Racing in addition to the full NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule with JR Motorsports.
Pressure is On Tony Stewart and Steve Addington in 2012
Members of the media got their first look at the new driver/crew chief combination of Tony Stewart and Steve Addington Monday and the pair already look like they’ve been working together for years.
But still, the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Stewart admits they have a lot to learn about each other.
“We’re just a bunch of low-key, down to Earth racers, hardcore racers that just want to race. That is the attitude Steve has,” Stewart said. “I’m not putting any pressure on him (Addington). I’m looking forward to going out and racing with him.
“We both know there is going to be a period of learning each other and just little things. Daytona, that 10 day period is not going to get it done. It is going to take getting through Phoenix and Vegas and some of those races to really get in tune with each other,” Stewart added.
If Addington was concerned about any potential learning curve, he certainly didn’t show it.
“One guy isn’t going to make a big difference,” said Addington, who moved to Stewart-Haas Racing from Penske Racing. “I’ve gotta keep the communication with him going as far as the race car is concerned. Having that supporting cast, the people that are around you and throughout the organization, that is what makes you successful.”
Another new piece of the puzzle at Stewart-Haas Racing is Greg Zipadelli, Stewart’s former crew chief at Joe Gibbs Racing. Zipadelli joins Stewart-Haas Racing as the organizations new competition director and will also serve as Patrick’s crew chief during her 10-race venture into Sprint Cup.
Stewart Eyes Seventh Daytona Nationwide Win
Tony Stewart will attempt to win his seventh NASCAR Nationwide Series race on the high banks of Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 25. This year Stewart will drive the No. 33 Oreo 100th Anniversary Chevrolet fielded by Richard Childress Racing. Stewart has won the last four NASCAR Nationwide season openers at Daytona and hopes to add a fifth-straight victory next month.
Aspen-Dental to Sponsor Newman; Outback Steakhouse, Quicken Loans Join SHR
Stewart-Haas Racing announced Monday that it reached a multi-year agreement with Aspen Dental, one of the largest networks of dental-care providers in the United States, as a new sponsor for Ryan Newman’s No. 39 Chevrolet.
The Syracuse-based dental care provider will be the primary sponsor for Newman in 2012 for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Daytona in July and New Hampshire in September and will serve an associate sponsor at other events.
Stewart-Haas Racing announced in late 2011 that it would add Outback Steakhouse and Quicken Loans to its stable of sponsors for 2012.
New Crew Chiefs Settling In At Joe Gibbs Racing
After what many would consider a down year for the Joe Gibbs Racing organization, the team decided that a little bit of change was in order.
Darian Grubb, who won the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship with Tony Stewart, was hired to replace Mike Ford as crew chief for Denny Hamlin on the No. 11 FedEx Toyota.
“I’m really excited to join Joe Gibbs Racing and the No. 11 FedEx team,” Grubb said Monday. “We’re having lots of fun, we’re having lots of meetings. We’re kind of setting the course for what we want to do. We want to go out there and be competitive.”
Elsewhere, crew chief Jason Ratcliff was promoted from the JGR NASCAR Nationwide Series operation to replace Greg Zipadelli as crew chief of the No. 20 Home Depot/Dollar General Toyota driven by Joey Logano.
“J.D. (Gibbs) gave me the opportunity about seven years ago to come over and work on the Nationwide program,” said Ratcliff. “It has been great for seven years and I knew it would have to be a really special deal to move beyond that.
“They’ve given me an opportunity that fits well with a great driver, with great sponsors like Home Depot and Dollar General, and a team that is eager to go out and win races,” Ratcliff added.
The one driver at Joe Gibbs Racing that didn’t get a new crew chief is Kyle Busch, who will again partner with Dave Rogers for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.