Zach O'Henley is young, fast and has big racing dreams. Our Thursday Thunder Driver of the week this week is only 18 but he has accomplished a lot in those 18 years, And there is still more to come!
1. How did you get started in racing and what series or tracks do you race on regularly?
No one in my family has ever raced. But my dad and I were always into watching NASCAR. When I was eleven years old I got the chance to test out a 4 cylinder race truck at our local short track called Onaway Speedway. It is a 1/4 mile asphalt oval. After going to a couple races there I knew I wanted to drive. So after a few years in the 4 cylinder class I jumped into a modified when I was 14. I mainly race at Onaway Speedway but I have made starts at Northern Michigan Speedway and occasionally I travel to Kinross Speedpark. I am trying to make it to a few more tracks this year before heading off to college such as Whittemore Speedway and Auto City Speedway.
2. Tell me a little about your car number and how you chose it?
My car number has been 3z since day one. My dad was a true Earnhardt fan and so I wanted that to be my number for everything. And then of course the Z comes from my first name.
3. Who sponsors you and why are they special to you?
This year I was fortunate enough to drive for a great couple by the name of Jim and Krista DuBois. Jim recently had a brand new modified built and I ended up selling my car to help pay for college. Jim and Krista had moved out to California for work related reasons but Jim had left his race car behind. I got the chance to race it this year for him and so far I have set fast time twice and got my first feature win in a modified. So needless to say I would not be racing this year without them and I am very thankful I was given the opportunity.
4. Who has been your biggest support throughout your career?
My biggest support throughout my racing career has to be my family. Every weekend they are at the track cheering me on. My parents have sacrificed so much for me and I am very thankful for everything they have done.
5. Is there a famous race car driver you like to compare yourself to? Who and why? If not what racecar driver has influenced your career?
I don't really compare myself to any specific driver I just try to be as smooth as I can but not lay back either. If anyone I would say a mix between Dale Earnhardt and Jimmie Johnson because I try to be as aggressive as I can but also try and make the smartest moves.
6, What was the scariest moment in your career and did it change the way you drive?
The scariest moment in my racing career would have been my second year racing, I was still in the 4 cylinder class and a driver cut across in front of me and clipped the front of my truck and barrel rolled right in front of me.
7. What advice would you give a young kid wanting to be a race car driver?
My advice to a young kid that wanted to be a race car would be to work hard at what you want and anything can be possible. Make your way to your local short track and try starting off in a JR class or something like that. You have to start somewhere just don't give up.
8. If you weren't driving a race car, what do you think you would be doing with your life?
I can't imagine my life right now if I never started racing. Racing is part of what I am and will forever be a part of me. What advice would you give a young kid wanting to be a race car driver?
9. What is your biggest moment in your racing career?
My biggest moment in my racing career would probably be getting my first feature win in a modified this year. It was over a year since I have even had a win and getting one in the feature made it that much better.
10.Where do you see yourself in 10 years and what will it take to get there?
Well I am still not giving up trying to make a career out of driving a race car but I am going to college this year at the University of Northwestern Ohio for automotive technology and high performance motorsports. If I can't drive a race car for a living I wouldn't mind being part of a NASCAR team and building cars.