Canada, Feature Article, Open Wheels — July 16, 2014 at 4:47 pm

Robbie Price (issue 107)


IT-107 Robbie Price sprint dirt cup

By Steve Heeb

Son of a stock car racer himself, Wilroc veteran Randy Price began racing at Western Speedway at the age 16. By the time his son Robbie turned 16 the third-generation driver already had kicked off his eighth season.

At 8, Robbie started racing in the quartermidget ranks in Langley, BC.

“I asked him if he wanted to race and he said yes,” Randy recalls. “I can’t stop him now – it’s all he talks about. He lives for racing.”

“The first year I did OK,” Robbie says of the 2005 season. “I raced on and off here and there while everyone else progressed.”

Robbie raced a second season in quartermidgets before running two seasons in the Junior Sprints at Deming.

“If you want a kid to race, start at Deming,” Randy says of the Friday night program. “It’s a good track to learn on.”

“When I was starting out at Deming, Brock Lemley helped me out a lot,” Robbie says.

Two seasons in the 600 Restricted ranks followed and then Robbie honed his skills even more in the 600 Open division.

“He has a lot more talent than I ever had,” Randy says of his son’s progress. “My dad was good in a stock car and Robbie follows in his footsteps.”

Family racing tradition has a big influence on Robbie, whose cars have borne the No. 21 as a tribute to the number his grandfather used during his racing career. His uncle Rob, who Robbie is named after, also raced in the 21 car at Western Speedway.

“Dad told me the biggest thing is being smooth,” Robbie says of learning from Randy. “I’ve worked on holding my line and I always try to race clean.”

In 2011, Robbie’s racing kicked into a higher gear when he had a chance to race in the 2011 Tulsa Shootout in Oklahoma.

“That was a whole other level,” Robbie says. “The level of competition was unreal. I was truly amazed.”

“We didn’t know what to expect,” Randy agrees. “It was an eye-opener.”

With more than 900 entries converged on four nights of competition, Robbie ran in four separate classes: Outlaw with and without wings; and the stock A Class with and without wings.

“He got a lot of laps in,” Randy laughs of their first year in Tulsa. “The following year was even better. It was a lot of fun.”

“I was there to win it,” Robbie says of the family’s second Tulsa trip in 2012.

Last season Robbie continued racing in 600 Open at Deming, but also added Midget racing there and at Skagit and credits Doug Rutz for helping out.

He also briefly ran a Sportsman Sprint at Grays Harbor Raceway.

“Robbie was passing for the lead so we knew he’d be OK in the sprints,” says Randy’s fiancée Kim Nichols. “Randy can qualify better but Robbie’s way more aggressive than Randy was.”

“He can out-drive me now, hands down,” Randy agrees. “I’m OK with that.”

Robbie had another big opportunity to run Sprints, but the 2014 Dirt Cup at Skagit Speedway was fast approaching. With only a few days before the annual event, Robbie asked his father if there was a chance he could get to race.

“I said he would have to come up with the money to run,” Randy says. “He’s very self-motivated, but I never expected him to make it happen.”

Robbie turned to his facebook friends to help raise the necessary sponsorship getting a Maxim Chassis ready for the upcoming Dirt Cup weekend.

By Thursday, Robbie was making his first laps in the 360 Sprint.

“I didn’t expect it to be that quick,” Robbie says. “As soon as I calmed down it started coming to me.”

The extra power in the 360 took some getting used to.

“I have a bad habit of throwing the car into the corner,” he says. “I’ve learned to keep it straight as possible in the corner to go fast.”

Both the Sportsman and 360 sprint cars are powered by motors from Shark Racing Engines.

Robbie credits his grandparents for helping provide needed equipment, as well as sponsorship from Rallye Auto Sales, Tiger Towing and Millstone Heating.

“I have to thank Marc Huson a lot,” Robbie says of the veteran racer and owner of Shark Racing Engines. “We keep the cars at his shop and he helps at Skagit.”

Randy and Kim, who see to Robbie’s needs Fridays at Deming, are also joined by Nate Vaughn, George Lauder and Josh Nichols in keeping Robbie on track Saturdays at Skagit.

“He’s improved tremendously in the past couple years,” Kim says of Robbie’s skill in the midgets and sprints. “His biggest challenge was the mental game – he would over-think it. Now he just drives the car.”

“He does need to work on his mental game,” Randy agrees. “But he’s only 16 years old.”

“Robbie’s usually the one goofing off,” Kim says with a laugh. “He knows how to lighten the mood even in a serious situation.”

But Robbie tries to be smart and not get cocky.

“My biggest fear is being ‘that kid’,” Robby says. “I try to be humble.”

That humility can be a heavy burden when carrying on the racing traditions of your father and grandfather before him.

“He’s focused on racing,” Randy says. “It’s a tough road to go down, but this is what he wants to do.”

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