Stock car racing

Fast track to success: Young racer Williams takes on family hobby

St. George Elementary School eighth-grader keeps lucky penny in his race car
By Holly Vanorse Spicer | Nov 14, 2018
Courtesy of: Nicole Williams Adrien Williams of South Thomaston stands with his trophy from his Hobby Division race win in May at Wiscasset Speedway.

Warren — Within families, generations often pass something on to the next, whether it is an heirloom, an object of sentimental value or, perhaps, even a hobby.

For Adrien Williams of South Thomaston, it was a love for car racing he got from his grandfather.

This summer, the 13-year-old finished his first year of racing with the Wicked Good Vintage Racing Association's Hobby Division.

In the season's five-race series at tracks around the state, mostly at Wiscasset Speedway, Williams snagged one checkered flag, which gave him a trip to the winner's circle.

Before he climbed behind the wheel of a car, Williams settled into the seat of a go-kart at the house of his grandfather, Keith Smalley.

“I started driving go-karts when I was five at my Bamp’s house,” Williams said.

“He had a race car and he let me drive it at a few practices,” the youngster added.

That was all it took for Williams to become hooked on racing.

Around the age of 11, alongside his grandfather, Williams helped to build what would become his race car. Now that it has been completed, he helps work on it before and after races.

While Williams was building the car, he said that he found a penny inside. After the car was completed, he put the coin back, and makes sure to keep it in the car, as he considers it his lucky penny.

That penny gave Williams luck in May when he crossed the finish line ahead of the pack in a Hobby Division race at Wiscasset Speedway. That first win is something Williams holds as his best racing moment.

Staying calm before a race and keeping his concentration on what is happening around him during the competition are key things Williams focuses on.

"I stay calm before a race, during and after the race, I have to concentrate on everything that is going on around me," he said.

In the Hobby Division, Williams, and one other driver, Bubba Dow, were the youngest.

Being able to drive on the track, but not on the road yet, definitely has its pitfalls. Williams said that it "stinks" not being old enough to have his license.

"I'm excited to get my license soon, so I don't have to rely on people to take my car to races, and get me places," he said.

However, the benefit to being young on the track, is being surrounded by seasoned racers.

“It’s great to be surrounded by the older guys, to learn everything they know. They help me a lot,” Williams said.

When Williams is not working on his car, or trying to edge out another win on the track, he builds model stock cars, or hunts and fishes.

The first year for the Hobby Division was in 2016. At that time, the younger drivers were not allowed. Rosey Gerry, the division director, said they wanted to get the younger drivers involved, and checked with the tracks that the WGVR raced at. After checking, there was not a problem.

In 2017, the division welcomed drivers ages 12-16. However, there were requirements that needed to be met in order for the youngsters to hit the tracks with their cars.

Track time at Maine Indoor Karting in Scarborough is one of the requirements. Another is actual time in a car, on one of the race tracks in the state.

“Adrien’s grandfather raced alongside him [in another vehicle],” Gerry said.

Gerry said initially the division was created in an effort to offer an affordable racing class.

“There were a lot of cars that were not fast enough, and the drivers didn’t have the money to put into them,” Gerry said.

He added that the group was more for show.

“It’s not hardcore racing,” he said.

He also said that there were no plans to expand beyond the five Hobby Division races seasonally.

In regards to the younger racers, Gerry said they are phenomenal.

"They listen to what the directors have to say," he said of Williams and Dow.

Gerry said that the other drivers in the association treat them like adults, showing them respect.

Gerry runs a tight ship in the 26-car division, making note that racing is a dangerous sport.

“You have to be on your toes,” he said.

He added that he gives no penalties, or warnings if an infraction is made. Instead, the driver who made the offense is immediately taken out of the division.

“It’s severe because of the danger,” Gerry said.

Williams has experienced a touch of danger on the track. Earlier this season, he had what he calls his worst experience racing — namely, his first track spin out.

"I just kept telling myself to not hit the wall or anyone else," Williams said.

"It happened so fast, I didn't have a choice to do anything, but react how I was taught," he said.

The spin out has not deterred the young racer. Williams, the son of Nicole Williams of South Thomaston and Douglas Williams of Warren, said he plans to continue racing.

As one of Williams' role models, Dale Earnhardt Sr., was quoted as saying: "You can't let a bad moment spoil a bunch of good ones."

It certainly seems to be a motto Williams is going to hold on to.

Williams is an eighth-grader at St. George Elementary School, and while he knows for sure Kirschner hot dogs and the drink, Moxie, are his favorites, he is not quite settled on what he sees in his future.

“I’m not sure yet, but probably something to do with cars,” he said.

Adrien Williams in his car. (Courtesy of: Nicole Williams)
Adrien Williams (7) on the track during a Hobby Division race. (Courtesy of: Nicole Williams)
Comments (2)
Posted by: Norman D Carver | Nov 16, 2018 09:11

Keith and Rosey, I might have known they would be involved!!!! Great job with this young man. Instill some pride in himself and he willl do well in life .



Posted by: Stephen B Adams | Nov 14, 2018 16:47

Grammy Tammy is so proud of Adrien!  He is becoming a fine young man.



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