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Future of racing in good hands in area

The future of auto racing relies on the youth. With that being said, let’s showcase four very promising young area racers. Many of the top racers in the world started in go-karts and that’s where these youngsters are involved.

Jackson Yoho, a second-grader in the Crestview school district is a typical 7-year-old boy, having fun clowning around, sometimes being silly and playing with friends.

But when he straps his helmet on, he’s a racer. He got his racing feet wet in 2017. After showing interest and promise, his dad got him a better kart and better finishes followed. He ran 13 races with two wins in 2018 and in 2019 he ran 14 races with seven wins including four in a row to close out the season at Goodhope Speedway in Columbiana.

He also made trips to Eriez Speedway and Naugle, finishing second both times. In 40 starts at five tracks in Ohio and Pennsylvania, he has nine wins and one track championship.

Hailing from just across the border in Darlington, Pa., is 8-year-old Lilly Smith, a three-year veteran of racing. Her titles include the 2016 Kid Kart champion of Goodhope Speedway where she was runner-up in 2017 and 2018. She also won the 2019 Squirts champ at Goodhope and was runner-up at Slippery Rock Raceway.

She also has traveled to several regional race tracks and been competitive. In the 2020 season, when it finally arrives, she plans to move up to a larger power plant class against older competitors. She should do fine.

Next up is 14-year-old Gavin Callahan of Sharpsville, Pa. He started racing at age 12. At Slippery Rock Raceway he finished fourth in rookie points against 22 other drivers in the Predator division. He also competed at other tracks on a part-time bases.

In 2019, he also started racing in the Clone division as well as the Predator with two karts. He won the points title at Goodhope Speedway in the Junior Predator division with seven first-place finishes while gathering three first-place wins in the Junior Clone class.

At Slippery Rock he was not so fortunate, being involved in several crashes. He also was awarded the George Findlay Go Kart driver of the year by the Twin State Auto Racing fan club.

His 2020 plan includes racing at Slippery Rock, Shaffer Speedway in Pennsylvania, Naugle Speedway in Aliquippa, Pa., and his home track Goodhope Speedway.

Next up is 11-year-old Dash Osmer from Butler, Pa. Last year was his rookie season and what a season it was. He won championships at Goodhope and Slippery Rock as well as being the Pittsburgh Circle Track Champion. Along the way he won 23 heat races and 14 features.

He is very involved in the maintenance and set-up of the kart. His plans for the 2020 season include racing the Vega Money series in New York, as well as racing at Goodhope and Slippery Rock as often as possible.

You can see these young racers — once the season resumes — at Goodhope Speedway in Columbiana on Saturday nights and Slippery Rock Raceway on Sunday afternoons, among other race tracks.

There are more talented kids out there racing. What all of them experience is doing things with the family, teamwork, dedication, success and failures. Can’t wait to see them race again.

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