Racing toward a win — on the dirt track

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Racing toward a win — on the dirt track

Puyallup High School senior Trey Starks has been racing on dirt tracks for most of his life.

Puyallup High School senior Trey Starks has been racing on dirt tracks for most of his life.

Puyallup High School senior Trey Starks has been racing on dirt tracks for most of his life.

Puyallup High School senior Trey Starks has been racing on dirt tracks for most of his life.

By Gabe Carroll, Puyallup HS, Puyallup, Wash.

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For most, flying across dirt tracks at high speeds in a sprint car is not something they can list on their résumé, but senior Trey Starks has been racing for most of his life.

“Sprint car is what I race,” Starks said. “It started as a family thing and my grandpa started racing in the ’70s. It has been a part of my family ever since. My dad raced and now I race. It is carrying out the family tradition.”

In a sport typically participated in by those much older than the average high school student, Starks stands out as a young competitor.

“I started [racing sprint cars] when I was 14, and when I started I was actually particularly young for sprint cars because everybody [in the sport] is a lot older: in their 30s, 40s, 50s,” Starks said. “So I am kind of the youngest one around, even still. It was crazy when I was 14 how the big hype was like, ‘Oh I do not even have my driver’s license yet.’”

Being a sport enjoyed by countries around the globe, sprint racing has brought Starks to many distant locales.

“We have been to California, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Ohio; we have kind of been all over with the whole racing deal. It has been an opportunity for me to travel and to see some new places,” Starks said.

According to Starks, races are often large events.

“Some [racing events] are two days or three days, and the biggest race I have ever been to was a four-day event. There is money involved too, the highest paying race I have ever been to was a $150,000 win. It gets pretty crazy sometimes,” Starks said.

For Starks, his dedication to the sport seems to have paid off.

“I won a pretty cool memorial race up in Skagit, which is around Bellingham. It was a memorial race for one of the guys who raced up there, so that was pretty cool,” Starks said. “In the last five or four years I have had five different wins and they have all been pretty cool, especially because of the family involvement in it.”

Other wins have provided Starks with long-lasting memories.

“It was the first race my parents had [not attended] and it was just me and my crew-chief, the guy that takes care of our car, who journeyed down to California for one of the races,” Starks said. “So it was just us two on our own and we ended up going down and winning a race. It was cool being able to call my dad and my grandpa and tell them what we had done because it was a big race and it was just us… It showed that we could be independent. Even though they were not there I could tell my whole family was still involved and they were still supporting me.”

But for Starks, racing is not only a current hobby but also an aspiring future career.

“I really hope to keep [racing] into the future. I really hope I do not have to get a real job and I can make a living off of racing but that is kind of hard to come by,” Starks said.

Career or not, Starks does not want to stop.

“Some guys are like, ‘Oh, I want to go to NASCAR,’ ‘Oh, I want to do this and that,’ I am just really looking for whatever I get the opportunity to do, I just want to keep doing it, I do not want to have to stop like some guys have,” Starks said.

Starks says he has been able to apply many lessons from racing to other aspects of his life.

“You can look at life as a race; you can always focus on that finish line. Figuring out what your finish line is, that is the whole thing,” Starks said.

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