Lake Norman & Mooresville

Racing isn’t easy for Hutchens, but the time spent with his father is special

The cap worn by Trey Hutchens was given to him by his grandmother. His grandfather wore it in victory lane following his first-ever win at Bowman Gray Stadium in 1985.
The cap worn by Trey Hutchens was given to him by his grandmother. His grandfather wore it in victory lane following his first-ever win at Bowman Gray Stadium in 1985. Getty Images

For four generations, the Hutchens family has been racing, but that doesn’t mean the motorsports road has been easy for Trey Hutchens.

Finding money for his family-owned operation has been the toughest part. Then there’s managing school assignments along with working on the race car and handling the team’s marketing and publicity.

The 17-year-old Hutchens describes his father, Bobby Hutchens, competition director for the Harrisburg-based JTG Daugherty Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup team, as his best friend. His mother saw him race his first-ever quarter-midget race before dying of breast cancer six years ago.

“The time we (father and son) have is invaluable,” said Trey. “It’s pretty stressful the way we do it, but at the same time I wouldn’t change anything. He and I have been pretty close my whole life”

This year, Trey runs a limited schedule in NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series East and full-time in NASCAR’s Whelen Southern Modified Tour.

He’s produced a top-10 finish in each series and appears headed for rookie honors on the modified tour, which ends its season Oct. 8 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. With four races remaining, he was 13th in the series standings. His only challenger for the rookie title was 20th in points.

Trey already earned limited late model and late model rookie honors at Ace Speedway near Elon, but this one would be his first in a touring series. One team expressed an interest in Trey making his ARCA debut this year at Kentucky, but the funding required was too steep for the Hutchens’ pockets.

“At least people realize he has talent and some ability,” said Bobby, who drove modifieds for nearly 30 years. “Hopefully, one day we can get him hooked up with the right people and he can do what I think he’s capable of doing. He has really good car control. He’s really smart behind the wheel.”

Bobby elected the modified route for his son because there have been modifieds in the Hutchens family for more than 50 years.

“I had cars here that were available for him to run,” Bobby said. “We wanted to do the full K&N Series, but we couldn’t come up with the finances. We picked six races in the K&N Series that we could afford to do and then decided to run the modified to give him seat time.”

Bobby owns his son’s car and serves as his crew chief. They work on the K&N and modified cars together, and that often means long hours for both.

“There have been a couple of nights when Dad and I really didn’t go to bed,” Trey said. “Specifically, when we went to Loudon (N.H) in July, we really didn’t go to bed for a week. It was a couple hours of sleep here and there so we could get to the race track.”

Still, Trey, a senior at North Davidson High School, wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I’m a huge proponent of the more you know about them, the faster you’ll go,” said Trey, who plans to pursue an engineering degree at either N.C. State or Clemson. “At the end of the day, the guy with the highest racing IQ is probably going to be the guy that wins the race. That’s my goal; to be the guy with the highest IQ.”

Ultimately, Trey would like to drive in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series.

“He knows every part and piece on these cars,” Bobby said. “I think that’s important. I think a lot of kids he’s racing against don’t have a clue about the cars. They just get in them and drive them. I think he has an appreciation for what it costs and how much work goes into it because he’s had to do the work and get the money to get us to the race track. Even if he doesn’t make a driver, he’s learned a whole lot about life and business from trying to do this.”

Driver lineup for ARCA race

Lira Motorsports’ Mooresville operation will field four cars in the Sept. 19 ARCA race at Salem (Ind.) Speedway. Todd Gilliland, of Sherrills Ford, is making his third ARCA start, but his first with Lira Motorsports. Gilliland had his first ARCA victory earlier this year at Toledo (Ohio) Speedway.

Brandon Lynn, from Polkton is making his debut in ARCA and with the team. Completing the driver lineup are Blake Jones and David Levine. Jones, a Sevierville, Tenn., native, won the ARCA Talladega race earlier this year. Levine, a Highland Park, Ill., native and Furman University graduate, has led the rookie standings for most of the season.

Wallace, McCaskill win at Concord

Steve Wallace, son of NASCAR Hall of Fame member Rusty Wallace, and Bradley McCaskill each earned a victory in the recent CARS Racing Tour super late model and late model events at Concord Speedway. Wallace, from Mooresville, dominated the 100-lap super late model event in gaining his first CARS Tour victory.

He started on the pole and never relinquished the lead. Mooresville’s Cole Timm, the series point leader, finished second. Wallace’s victory was only his second top-10 finish in eight CARS Tour races this season. His other top-10 came at Tri-County Speedway in Hudson.

Knightdale’s McCaskill won the 100-lap late model race after an intense battle with Belmont’s Myatt Snider. The victory was McCaskill’s first in the Mooresville-based CARS Tour.

With two races remaining in the season, Snider now trails late-model standings leader Brayton Haws by only five points. In super late model, Timm leads Concord’s Kyle Grissom by 10 points. The next CARS Tour race is Sept. 19 at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Speedway.

Wong makes truck debut with Venturini

Brian Wong made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut with Concord-based Venturini Motorsports at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park and finished 12th in the recent event. The 26-year-old Wong is a Newport Beach, Calif., native.

Deb Williams is a freelance writer: