The Start of a Racing Career
ELIJAH HAWRYLYSHYN, GRADE 11
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.