ONAWAY-Many elementary school students will start their school year by writing a short essay. This essay is usually a variation on "What I did This Summer." Some of these students will write about visiting Disneyland. Others will talk about their latest video game achievements.
Few of them will have as interesting a story to tell as Braden DuBois.
This ambitious fourth grader from Indian River has been acknowledged as the world's youngest stock car driver by the World Record Academy.
Nine-year-old racer Braden DuBois poses with a trophy after at a recent race at Onaway Speedway. DuBois has been recognized by the World Record Academy as the world’s youngest stock car driver. The record will become official once all proper paperwork has been filed. DuBois, the son of Jim and Krista DuBois, is one of the top racers in his league at Onaway Speedway and has received three trophies for top-5 finishes.
His record will be official once all proper paperwork is filed.
The nine-year-older racer began his career at Onaway Speedway. His parents, Jim and Krista, own the speedway and Jim is also a regular racer.
Braden has always been surrounded by stock car racing. As a result, he took an interest in the sport at an early age.
"My dad encouraged me into stock car racing. It started as a hobby. It's a lot of fun," Braden said.
His father built him a four-cylinder stock car to help get him started. This stock car was designed specifically to suit young racers like Braden. Jim also helps Braden practice at the speedway on Fridays and Saturdays.
Braden has already earned some success as a racer along with the record. He has collected three trophies for coming in fifth place, fourth place and second place. The second place trophy is his most recent.
"Braden is a highly competitive racer. He is constantly improving his lap times," Krista said. Braden started at 32 seconds per 1/4 mile lap but has decreased his time to 19 seconds. This time is competitive with the other racers in his league.
Braden belongs to a beginning racing league, which is designed for first-year racers between the ages of 12 and 16. Braden and his fellow racers often each speeds of up to 50 miles per hour along the straightaways.
Racers in this league are taught safe driving methods, control and proper racing etiquette that discourages aggressive racing methods. All racers are carefully monitored during each race and their cars are designed with many safety tools that minimize racing risk.
"Braden is safe in his stock car. He is strapped down and protected by a steel cage," Krista said.
This cage surrounds his cab and protects him during collisions and in the event of a turnover.
Braden is proud of his accomplishments.
"It feels pretty good. My friends think it's cool that I race and they want to race too," Braden said.
In spite of his accolades, he is unsure if he wants to pursue stock car racing as a career.
"I'm just going to try it for now and see what I think later," Braden said.