The Start of a Rac­ing Ca­reer

ELI­JAH HAWRYLYSHYN, GRADE 11

The Hamilton Spectator - - OUR PULSE -

Grow­ing up, I spent Satur­day nights at Flam­boro Speed­way, walk­ing through the old spin­ning gates on the gravel path to the grand­stands. The stands tow­ered over the track and smelled like pop­corn and bar­be­cued burg­ers thanks to the con­ces­sion stand un­der­neath them.

My dad and brothers would talk about rac­ing the whole time and cheer for our favourite driv­ers. Driv­ers like Bobby Mercer in the Thun­der Car Di­vi­sion and Dave Bai­ley from Mini Stocks.

Af­ter years of watch­ing from the grand­stand side of the track, at 12 I was fi­nally of age to go onto the pit side with all the cars and driv­ers. I got to see all the cars and how they were built.

There was a big gravel road and lots of peo­ple run­ning around check­ing out cars. The pits also had the tar smell of burn­ing brakes and melted rub­ber which I loved. See­ing how ev­ery­thing went to­gether and how ev­ery­thing hap­pened was what truly pulled me into rac­ing. Af­ter see­ing all the cars and driv­ers, I had a dream to race.

At the age of 12, I knew there was no way my par­ents would let me race, but that didn’t stop me from beg­ging them. I had a dream to race. Even if it was just in a beginner di­vi­sion, I just wanted to race. I wanted to be able to get out on the track and feel the rush of all the cars around me. I wanted to be a driver.

Af­ter two more years of go­ing out to the track and beg­ging my par­ents, I fi­nally con­vinced them. We bought an old 1997 Pon­tiac Sun­fire GT with a 2.4L en­gine. I was en­tered in a Pure Stock Di­vi­sion, so I needed to strip the car com­pletely and put in a roll cage. Af­ter grow­ing up watch­ing how rac­ing was done, and see­ing how in­tense it was, my dream had come true. At the age of 14, I was go­ing to be a race car driver.

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