Two young racers with local roots have been racing in the south in the heart of asphalt stock car racing with much success.
Ryan Blaney, the 16-year-old son of NASCAR veteran Dave Blaney, grandson of legendary Lou Blaney, has teamed with Hubbard native, 25-year-old Jimmy Weller III, whose father Jim Weller Jr. still campaigns a dirt modified. Racing has been the family way for both of them for years. The big difference is the families have raced on dirt in open wheel race cars and are now both racing asphalt in the south in full bodied stock cars.
Ryan Blaney started racing at the age of 9, competing in Quarter Midgets is where he first started racing and won more than 100 races in three classes - Bandolero cars multiple winner at Concord Motor Sports park and Legend cars won more than 25 races.
At age 14, Ryan started racing full size Late Models at Orange Count, N.C. The 2010 season running with the PASS South Super Late Models. He won at Dillion Motor Speedway in South Carolina, Newport Speedway in Tennessee, Hickory Motor Speedway North Carolina and Greenville-Pickens Speedway in South Carolina. Ryan also became the 2010 CRA Southern Six-Pack champion.
Jimmy Weller has been racing eight years and started racing on dirt locally, winning the 2002 Western Pennsylvania Rookie of the Year, Twin State Auto Racing Club Rookie of the Year and the Cavalcade Points Rookie of the Year.
In 2003, he had his first career win at Wayne County in the BRB Modifieds, along with landing the Twin State's most improved driver.
The following season he began racing Sprint cars - winning at Sharon and Lernerville Speedways.
In 2005, it was a different story as Weller suffered a terrible accident in a Sprint car that some thought he would never walk away from. However, the Wellers do believe in miracles and Jimmy is a walking miracle. After a year's hiatus, he returned.
In 2006, the season started on dirt and switched to asphalt in the stock cars. If you as a racer want to move to next level, you must prove yourself on asphalt. That's just what Weller did, first racing at Lake Erie Speedway with the ASA traveling series.
In 2009, after discussions with Dave Blaney and his father Jim Jr., he packed his bags and moved to Salisbury N.C. Living in Ohio kept them distanced from the center of the racing world.
The move has been going well since Weller has been running at or near the top most of the time - winning at South Boston Speedway in August with Ryan Blaney second in the race - a PASS South Series (Pro All Star Series South) event. It was his biggest win so far.
These Ohio boys are showing the deep south racers the quick way around the race track.
Ryan has to be one of the top prospects in the country, while Weller is learning fast how to get a stock car around a asphalt speedway. Back here, a lot of people know how well these guys are doing. Down south, they sure know.
Both these racers have nowhere to go but up for the 2011 season, which looks very promising. As the season gets under way, I will be following and reporting on their progress.