Driving Fast on the Track: Local Teen Races Modified Cars
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By Emily Bontrager
Reid Sammons is only 14 years old, but that does not stop his love for driving fast.
Reid isn’t like most young race car drivers, because he competes against older and more experienced drivers on the track.
Reid’s parents are TJ and Quinn Sammons. TJ is originally from Agency, Iowa and Quinn has lived in the Kahoka area all her life.
Racing has been a family tradition in Reid’s family for many years, so he decided to take his turn on the track.
“My grandpa Tenny Sammons raced, along with my dad and uncle Derek. It is something my family has been doing for years,” Reid said.
TJ, Reid’s father, taught Reid everything he knows about the sport. TJ has stepped back from racing to help his son fulfill his own dreams.
“He hung up his helmet for me to better my career,” Reid said.
“He still drives for people once in a while.”
Previously, Reid raced Sport Mods. He currently races A-Mods against stiff competition.
“Most people that race at this level in our area are adults. They don’t offer junior divisions for these cars in our area,” Reid explained.
“If you want to race, you have to do it with the adults.”
Before Reid moved up to racing modified cars, he raced go-karts in Farmington, Iowa. At the time, he was only three years old. He then moved on to mini sprint cars a few years later.
“I was a ten-time season champion in go karts/wing karts in Shimek, Quincy, and Downing,” Reid said.
“I also was a three-time Show Me ShowDown champion in Downing, MO.”
Reid moved up to racing bigger cars when he was 11 years old.
“I didn’t really start racing full time until I was 13,” he said.
Racing requires a lot of maintenance work and endless hours in the shop each week. Many people, like Reid’s father, grandpa, and uncle have helped prepare his car for races each year.
When entering a race, each driver is required to wear certain safety equipment. The car also has to meet certain specifications to enter a race.
“All drivers must wear a certified racing helmet, neck brace, fire retardant suit, gloves and shoes. All drivers use a five-point harness safety restraint,” Reid said.
“The chassis (frame) of the car is built with a roll cage type frame to protect the drivers if they would happen to roll over.”
According to Reid, each heat race has around eight to ten cars in it. These cars usually do six laps around the track. A feature race has around 24 to 26 cars and they complete 20 laps around the track.
All of the tracks Reid competes on are dirt tracks and he usually attends races from March to November every year. Reid has raced in Memphis and Moberly in Missouri, Burlington, Donnellson, Bloomfield, and Eldon in Iowa, and in Quincy, Illinois.
One of Reid’s favorite things about racing is going fast.
“I can go fast, and I can’t get in trouble for that,” Reid said.
One of his greatest memories so far is winning the Show Me ShowDown three times. Racing gives him the opportunity to spend time with his family and to meet new people along the way.
Reid is excited to start racing again this year and he cannot wait to get his car back on the tracks.
Reid would like to thank all of his sponsors who have supported him throughout his racing career.
These sponsors include The Gym Bar & Grill, Vigen Memorial Home, Ink Invasion, Colors Unlimited, Trump Trucks, Arrowhead Bowl, Brown’s Automotive, Sammons Auto Repair, Kahoka Quick Lube, Rondawn Excavating, Papa’s Pizza, Meinhardt Insurance, and Memory Lane Restoration.
“I couldn’t do it without all of my great sponsors,” Reid said.