Category Archives: Driver Series

Driver Series: S02E18 J.T. Jackson – From Driver To Owner

ProfileJ.T. Jackson
February 27, 1963 (52)
Norfolk, VA
Hometown: Chesapeake, VA
Occupation: Bail Bondsman

Sponsors: Silver Fox Premium Rum, Sentry Security Services, Lucky 7 Bail Bonds

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Jackson was introduced to the world of racing back in 1987 in the original Enduro division of racing. The division that was not just about beating the other guy’s fender in but building a racecar that could go the distance – races that would last 90 to 100 laps.

From there Jackson slowly progressed up the ladder of racing. Going from the Enduro’s to the Thunderbolt division – which is pretty close to what at the Super Streets at Langley Speedway now. From Limited’s, to Mini Stocks, to Grand Stocks all the way up to the Late Model Stocks – where he would eventually win Rookie of the Year in 2012.

Jackson’s father had always ben a racer and a car owner way before he got involved himself so he always had a love for the sport. Unfortunately at this point Jackson has no wins under his belt but is very proud of being able to allow other drivers to accomplish their goals. Jackson is our first driver turned owner; he is looking to get back behind the wheel later this year, in the mean time lets get to know J.T. a bit better.

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Driver Series S02E17: Chris Hayes Fulfilling Childhood Dream By Finally Getting Behind The Wheel

Chris Hayes
Birthday:
8/24/1982 (33)
Birthplace: Newport News VA
Education: Old Dominion University (04)
Occupation: Sales Rep for Damuth Trane

 

Sponsors: Spartimes Bowling, Moonlight Tinting

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“This is my first attempt at racing so yea it’s a late start for sure,” Hayes told us to start the interview off. “I have always been into racing my whole life.” His father and grandfather were the ones that changed his life forever pretty much by taking him to his first race at Langley Speedway, pretty much from there on out he knew he wanted to get behind the wheel. Growing up, Hayes always wanted to race just did not have the resources to do so. Now that he is at a point in his life to afford racing he is going to do just that!

“I have always liked the division,” Hayes said. “These cars are extremely fast and not too pricey to maintain.” Running in a “spec” division, or a class that has certain rules and limits of things you can do to the car helps keep the cost down and lower budget teams running. Not to mention it helps try and keep the competition on a level playing field.

Hayes has not has the easiest of starts for his rookie year in the division with rear end issues, clutch issues, and Mother Nature not playing very nice this year. The number one goal for Hayes this year really is to run at Langley and get some seat time. “Next season I plan to get out and run as mush as my budget allows!”

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Driver Series: S02E16 Cody Carlton Looking For A Championship in 2015

profileCody Carlton
Norfolk, VA
D.O.B: October 10, 1990 (24)
Hometown: Chesapeake, VA
Hometrack: Langley Speedway
Education: NASCAR Technical Institute
Occupation: Welder/fabricator

Sponsors: Virginia Pediatric Eye Center, Affordable Transmission. Door Engineering, Irwin’s Pharmacy, Advance Auto Parts.

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“I started racing when I was 16,” Carlton told us at the start of our interview. “One of my best friends, Jordan Wood, is really who influenced me the most to want to start racing.” A bit of a late start in the eyes of some racing enthusiast, however, looking at his production in different divisions at different tracks, you would have never known the difference. Carlton got his start in a Jr. Dragster, having fun behind the wheel of that beast for a couple years and grabbing a couple wins before moving over to the oval side.

“I decided since I had been brought up around NASCAR in my younger years, I wanted to try out some short track oval racing,” Carlton said. “What better place to start than Arena Racing!” Admitting that he and the team struggled in the early years until they teamed up with Andrew Graham who came on board to help with the set-up of the car. Since then it’s been nothing but trophy hunting and championship! Last year in fact Carlton had sixteen A-Main & Top Dog wins and received the award for the most poles in the season.

The past few years Carlton has spent most of his time running in the Pro Six division (full body, purpose built stock cars, with v6 Nissan engines) at Langley Speedway as well as Arena Racing in Richmond. Being the true driver he is, Carlton will pretty much race anything you allow him to climb into though pulling some stints in asphalt wing champ karts as well as racing the champs on dirt!

As we have almost reached the halfway point in the 2015 season Cody Carlton currently sits fourth in points at Langley Speedway. “This year has been very frustrating,” Carlton said. “We have been working our butts off and just not getting the results we want!” Carlton couldn’t help but acknowledge the fact that there have been a couple of drivers who really stepped up their game this year they just haven’t had the luck they needed. “Getting the championship has been the goal for this year since the first race,” Carlton explained. “I really think it would be awesome to win 2 championships in the same year and that would really help my attempt to move up to modified or Late Model.”

Its very clear that Carlton is determined to find his way into victory lane this year and is working very hard to accomplish that goal! He did let us know that as of right now, and I know we still have plenty of time, there is nothing in the works yet for Langley in 2016 but they may have something pretty big on the Arena Racing side here soon! In the mean time come on in and get to know Cody Carlton outside of the race track, we had a few moments to sit down with him, hope you enjoy!

 

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Driver Series: S02E15 Autumn Weaver Looking To Win A Track Championship This Year In A Bando

ProfileAutumn Weaver
Portsmouth, VA
D.O.B: March 25, 2004 (11)
Hometown: Chesapeake/Suffolk, VA
Hometrack: Langley Speedway
Education: 5th Grade (Western Branch Intermediate)

Sponsors: Amsoil, East Coast Synthetics, Little GI Joes.

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Coming into the track at the ripe ole’ age of 11, young Autumn Weaver believe it or not, has been racing for half of her life. That’s right, Autumn was just five years old when she realized she wanted to race. “When I was 5 years old watching my daddy race go karts I decided I wanted to do it too,” Weaver told us. “So I started racing in the Kid Kart division at Langley Speedway.” Autumn would actually get her first taste of kart racing down at Williamstion – a big indoor dirt karting championship race – where she brought home a second place finish and a victory.

While running at Langley in the Kart Club Autumn racked up several wins in her division before moving up to the Jr Champ Kart division that the Hampton Roads Kart Club had to offer. They are much like the wing champs you see run at Langley on certain Saturdays, a bit smaller in size and power and usually no wing. Weaver went on to win the championship the same year moving up.

In 2013 Weaver would venture in doors and try her luck in Arena Racing. A type of racing that utilizes a high banked, aluminum track with cars that are much like mini cup cars. With solid finishes all year Weaver finished fourth in overall points for her division. She would also race this past winter up at the Richmond Coliseum in the youth division.

Last year is when Weaver made the jump to the Bando division – a racing series sanctioned by INEX running the full distance of most local short tracks. 2014, her rookie season at Langley Speedway, was enough for a seventh place finish in the final points standings, something not acceptable from young Weaver. Coming back this year Autumn has had a good year so far in retrospect, winning her first race out before running into some trouble.

In addition to running for the championship this year at Langley Autumn will also be competing in the Bojangles Summer Shootout at Charlotte Motor Speedway for Kodie Connor Racing. Look for Autumn to work her way through school as well as other divisions in short track racing. “I want to finish school and then continue racing going into dirt tracks, racing late model stock cars, K&N series and Xfinity.  But my ultimate goal is to win the championship in the band division at Langley speedway and won’t stop till I do.”

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Driver Series: Pro Six Driver Travis Wall Invites Inside His Trailor

profileTravis Wall
Birthday: October 16, 1990 (24)
Chesapeake VA
Hometown: Chesapeake VA (The Hickory area)
Education: Bachelor’s Degree – Mechanical Engineering (Old Dominion)
Occupation: Manufacturing Engineer, Continental Corporation

Sponsors: Lady Antiquity, Mom, Dad

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Like most athletes to truly be good at your craft it’s a good idea to start out young. That is certainly the case when it comes to racing because lets face it, no matter how deep or shallow your pockets are, it usually comes down to seat time. Travis saw his first moment in the seat of a racecar… or kart if you want to get technical, around the age of 8. “Watching my dad and my sister race is what got me wanting to do it,” Wall said. “My first time racing was in go-karts at Albermarle Kart Club.” From there – insert classic cliché – the rest was history.

Travis would spend the next decade or so of his life trapped so to speak in the world of racing. Most of that time was spent on the dirt tracks of Albermarle, Dixiland, Margaretsville, and Capital city. He would try out a new form of racing called Arena Racing while it was popular in this area. Essentially they are go-karts with bodies on them who run inside arenas on a purpose built aluminum track. Some pretty good racing and drama if you ask me!

This season Travis competing in what is called the Pro Six division at Langley Speedway. A series made up of six cylinder cars, if you couldn’t guess, model a lot like the Late Model Series. Travis and his team have some pretty straightforward goals this season too, “Wins and championships,” Wall says! So far in 2015 they have done a great job to work towards those goals. Five races in the books Wall is holding onto a one point lead and has on victory!

We had a few moments to sit down with Travis and get to know a little bit more about him, so come on into the trailer, sit down and enjoy!

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Driver Series: S02E13 Kendahl Erb Looking To Take It To The Boys In 2015 Opens Up For An Exclusive Look Into Her Life

ProfileKendahl “LIL DIVA ” ERB
Norfolk, VA
D.O.B: May 23, 2006
Hometown: Norfolk, VA
Hometrack: Albermarle Speedway
Education: Rising 4th Grader

Sponsors: Dirt Divas Racing, Jungle golf of VB, Xtreme Mechanical, North End Pizza of VB, B&S enterprises, Albemarle Power Equipment, Larry Davenport Racing, Jungle Golf.

 

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Kendahl Erb… or “Lil Diva” as she is known around the racetrack is a nine year old up and coming fourth grader who loves to play in the dirt. If you thought that was interesting then you’re going to love just how she likes playing in the dirt. Kendahl spend her weekend racing go-karts at local dirt tracks practically all over the region. She hoped in her first kart at the age of 5, nothing to serious at the time, just a few laps in a friend’s kart… it was a wrap after that! Erb instantly fell in love with the sport and would end up getting her own kart – with the help of parents of course – and finishing in the top three in two races at the end of 2012.

2013 would be Kendahl’s first full year in karts where she found improvement and more speed week in and week out. Grabbing plenty of second place finishes. 2014 however was the year Erb really shined! Not only did she win seven of the eight races in her class at her home track with several poles thrown in the mix she was able to make a successful jump up in class and make a name for herself in the state races winning four straight races and two second place finishes and being crowned the 2014 VA State Jr Stars Champion. She would also receive an honorable invite to the Maxxis Nationals – taking the 2nd place award there.

Kendahl and her team are looking to hit 2015 even harder than in the past. She will be making the move to the JR Sportsman (Lite & Heavy) class at her home track Albermarle Speedway. In addition she will be participating in the Virgina Dirt Kart Association series as well as the Maxxis Mid Atlantic Series! Thanks to the help of her sponsors her team has purchased a brand new kart so they can focus on dialing in each kart to each track. As the season has progressed we had a moment to sit down with Kendahl and get to know her a little bit more outside of the track.

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Driver Series: S02E012 Mattisen Morrill Turning Heads In The Wing Champ Karts At Langley Speedway

ProfileMattisen Morrill
Chesapeake, VA
Birthday: August 10, 1997
Hometown: Virginia Beach, VA
Hometrack: Langley Speedway
Education: High School
Occupation: Driver

Sponsors: Miles of Seamless Gutters & Courthouse Imports

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My racing career started a little rough you could say. At 8 years old my crew chief Eric asked if I wanted to drive an arena car outdoors, I said yes. We went to practice in an empty parking lot behind a building; it had a pretty big ditch behind it to. I got in and made a few laps but was only going about half throttle. So after I was a bit more comfortable with the car I went full throttle. I think I got into it at the wrong time because it sent my over a curb and into the big ditch! We had to use the truck to pull it out and I didn’t want to get back in. I guess it scared me a little bit. Not even 2 years later though I asked to try again. This time he put me in a flat kart. The racing addiction began there.

After Three years of running the flat karts I started getting bored. I had 2 wins and won the cone award. Hank Courtney took some amazing and funny shots of me hitting the cones. During the last year a friend of mine had a team that ran wing champs (these karts are somewhat similar to your Sprint dirt cars) said he was not going to be running one race. I asked to run the race he wasn’t going to be there and he said yes. After one race in those things I just had to have one! They were so much fun! I got one the next year, and boy was it really hard that first year. No one wanted to work with me, (the wing karts are very dependent on the draft) so I would never get anywhere in the field. This year I am doing a lot better and it’s even more fun! I have had some really good finishes this season and sitting third in the points standing.

 

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