It's Memorial Day weekend! And here in Indiana, my home state, that means cookouts, paying respects to our veterans, and of course
RACING! So what better way to give prelude to the Indy 500 than with some Indiana grown race car drivers!
Growing up in Indiana often means dreaming of racing. Whether is be The Indy 500 or go kart tracks, where you grow up often influences your dreams. Today, we are meeting 4 kids from Indiana, who are living their racing dreams. Alltop racing is co-owned by Rick McClure and Freddy Alltop. The kids vary in age from Kylie Alltop who is already a champion at 8 years old, to 16 year old Hunter Alltop, who is 16, and Kylie's older brother. Lance McClure, 10, and Anna LeClair, 14, compete this team, who calls Whiteland Raceway Park in Whiteland, Indiana their home track. Started by Freddy to allow his children to race. Rick McClure soon joined the team so his son could race also so they could help each other out, organize and be more appealing to potential sponsors.
"Freddy and I met through a mutual friend. Freddy had already had karts (for Hunter and Kylie) and I had always been interested in them. Myself and Lance's mom, Kari, had taken Lance to a kart race when he was 4 and had always wanted to get him into the sport. After spending time with Freddy and his kids we decided to get Lance a kart and start practicing," says Rick McClure.
Anna LeClair, who new to the team, but isn't related joined about a month ago.
Rick McClure tells how she came to join Alltop Racing,"Anna and her family had started going to our home track last year. We always thought they were a great family and seen the shared passion Anna had along with our kids. Anna's dad Monty had been struggling being new to the sport so we offered to help him and get him going. After getting to know Anna and her family and helping them out we thought they would be a good fit to our team. We had asked them to join about a month ago and they were very excited to do so."
Here, the kids tell their stories in their own words, about what racing means to them. I did correct the grammar just a bit, but this is their story and what racing in a state best known for corn, Basketball, and going fast means to them! Please note however that because of Kylie's age she had help from her brother in giving her answers
1) How did you get started in racing and what series or tracks do you race on regularly?
Hunter: I got started by my dad asking if I would like to try and I did. I found I liked it! I race Yamaha adult lite class at Whiteland Raceway.
Anna: It was just a couple of years ago when I was watching "The Bourne Identity" and saw the rally racing. I found it pretty cool and thought, "I kinda wanna do that!". I decided to speak up about it to my dad. We started looking into rally racing and Go-Kart racing but, I was never really serious about it until my first Indy 500. At that race, I really fell in love with IndyCar and the idea of racing. The speed and power of the cars really blew me away. There was no turning back after that.
I race at my home track, Whiteland Raceway Park with the Chainbreakers Kart Club jr supercan class.
Lance: My dad and his friends had karts that they ran on weekends. My dad bought my first kart when I was 8.
Kylie: I got my start from Hunter. WHen he started, I thought it would be fun He drove sprints and I am in Jr Yamaha at Whiteland Raceway.
2) Tell me a little about your car number and how you chose it?
Hunter: I race the #99 but Im not sure how I came up with it!
Anna:Tell me a little about your car number and how you chose it?
I was having a strange day. The number was appearing everywhere! On signs and billboards, televisions and papers. One sum of money at the bank showed up with a bunch of 3's in it, the teller even pointed it out to us. I thought it was a cool number! 33 is also the number of cars on the starting grid of the Indy 500. I felt like it was calling to me.
Lance: My kart number is 26. No real meaning behind it other than my favorite number.
Kylie: I'm 66. The number came from my brother. He is 99, so I flipped it upside down!
3) Who sponsors you and why are they special to you?
Hunter: Littleton Sand & Supply, Redline Oil L&T i special to me because it is where one of our team mates worksand they hep with cost. Redline helps with costs so we can put money into other parts.
Anna: Littleton Sand & Supply, Redline Oil, James Conrad Photography, and Excel Racing all help to get us on the track doing what we love!!!
Lance: Littleton Sand & supply in Indianapolis. They have helped me so much by paying for all my track time. Redline oil also sponsors me with products for our kart team. James Conrad photography also sponsors our team.
Kylie: Littleton and Redine Oil. Littleton helps pay for practice and Redline helps with the cost of the oil we use.
4) Who has been your biggest support throughout your career?
Hunter: My dad! He pushes me to do good and works on my kart.
Anna: My dad. He always takes me to the track, he taught me the basics of driving and I really appreciate everything he's done for me so far! It warms my heart to see how much effort he puts into helping me race and how badly he wants to see me become the best there is!
Lance: dad has been because he inspired me to start racing and always pushes me to be my best.
Kylie: My Daddy.
5) Is there a famous race car driver you like to compare yourself to? Who and why?
Hunter: I'm not sure I would compare myself to any other drivers but I like Jeff Gordon because of my grandfather.
Anna: I like to compare myself to Josef Newgarden, from IndyCar. I like him because I can relate to him in a lot of ways, we both started racing at the age of thirteen, and we both got our start in karts in Indiana. I hope to follow in his foot steps and move from karts to USF 2000 and eventually, IndyCar!
Lance: Tony Stewart. Because of how successful he has been with his racing. He also started racing go karts just like me on the same tracks
Kylie: Tony Stewart! ike my dad, when he wasn't his best, his dad helped him focus and improve.
6) What is the hardest part about racing while you are so young? Does it affect friendships or your education?
Hunter: The hardest part is the time and dedication you spend but it does not affect my education or friendships.
Anna: Racing definitely keeps you busy, on and off the track but, we have met so many great people through racing! I homeschool now so, it's easy to be flexible but, it's hard to imagine trying to fit in time for racing as well as college in the future so, it will be interesting to see how that plays out!
Lance: If anything I have made a lot more friends because of my racing. Both on and off the track. My education is always first and my parents make sure of that.
Kylie: The hardest part is this is my first year in Yamaha and some of the kids have a few years of practice but I get to meet more friends who, like me, race. And when we aren't at the track we get to play. It has no affect on my education. Even if it has been a bad day at the track, I can still have fun with my friends, playing chase or ball!
7) What advice would you give a young kid wanting to be a race car driver?
Hunter: Take it (your career) slow. It takes time and dedication if you wabt to always be first! Always stay calm. Try not to drive mad, It will cause you to make bad decisions on and off the track!
Anna:Get out there and drive! Do some research on the most popular kind of kart for your age group in your area and don't hesitate to jump in and enter races! Even if you don't do great in your first race, you will learn from every experience. That's probably the extent of the advice I can give you! I'm still trying to figure things out for myself, haha! Although, I will say, If you're going to race karts, you're probably going to want a trailer and a decent size tool box... it can be kind if miserable without them... I learned that one the hard way!
Lance: To always keep trying hard and never give up.
Kylie: It's HARD and takes a lot of hard work! You need to practice so you can learn and get better! Also believe in yourself but not matter how hard you try you can't win them all!
8) If you weren't driving a race car, what do you think you would be doing with your life?
Hunter: I would be hanging out with friends playing basketball!
Anna: I've never loved anything so much in my life and I can't imagine doing anything else!
Lance: I think I would be in football.
Kylie: I would probably be playing some sort of ball.
9) What is your biggest moment in your racing career?
Hunter: Winning the championship in Supercan last year
Anna: I'm still waiting for that moment to happen! Hahahaha!
Lance: That would be getting pole for the first time.
Kylie: I won the championship last year in Kid Kart.
Rick McClure says, My favorite part of being a team owner is being able to pass on the knowledge that we learn down to the kids. It's great to see how they are improving every time they go out. Being able to see the kids play ball, tag or just hang out in between races is priceless. These are memories that we will always have together."
10) Where do you see yourself in 10 years and what will it take to get there?
Hunter: If all goes good, I will be done with college and the Airforce and stil be racing!
To get me there will take a lot of hard work and learning.
Anna: Hopefully i'm in an IndyCar by then ( Josef Newgarden was). It will take a lot focus, money, time, and effort but I think I can get there someday!
Lance: I would love to be in NASCAR. It will take a lot hard work and practice.
Kylie: I will be graduating high school and getting ready for college! Hopefuly I will have a few more Kart championships. I will need to study and get good grades. I also need to practice a lot and there will be a lot of Dad yelling to hold the gas down!
Bonus Question What do you think professional racing can learn from non professional racing?
Hunter: You can learn the basics on driving and from the mistakes
Anna: I think that pro racing could really learn from non-pro about comradely! If there is something wrong with someone's kart, there is always plenty of people there happy to pitch in and help fix it! We are competitors but not enemies! I love that we can all get together, encourage each other, compete together, and have fun all at the same time!
Lance: I'm not really sure but I think it is very neat that my home track Whiteland Raceway Park has had so many professional race car drivers learn and race there. My class (jr sportsman) is the most competitive class at the track.
Kylie: They can learn hard work and sportsmanship.
The future is bright for these four Indiana kids. Maybe someday we will cheer as Anna becomes the first female Indycar driver to sip milk in victory lane after winning Indiana's greatest prize, the Borg-Warner trophy. Or perhaps we will be cheering as Lance McClure wins his first Daytona 500. With Alltop Racing, the goals are unlimited. Knowledge and love for racing will help these kids move through the ranks as they live the dream that comes naturally when you call Indiana your home state.
Rick McClure adds," As far as goals we are really just trying to learn as much as we can about the tuning of the karts and making sure the kids have everything they need to do their best. Right now we just really enjoy the memories that we are making with our kids. We have made so many great friends and even all hang out off the track. We will always support our kids in this sport for as long as they have the passion."
To learn more about Alltop Racing and their drivers, please visit their Facebook page at