MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

July 5, 2013

Receiving the torch: Eufaula teen is continuing the family’s racing career

By Ronn Rowland
Phoenix Sports Writer

— John Taylor has put his time behind the wheel on hold to watch someone else motor around the track at Outlaw Motorsports Park.

Taylor, who raced in the old Winston West until 1994, started back up in 2011 but decided it was time to pass the reins to his son Wesley.

“We were racing two cars,” Taylor said. “It became a cost thing plus I had a wreck up at Salina last year when it was real, real hot. We had been racing drag boats all day and I got overheated in the car and had the wreck.”

And John is having more fun watching the No. 3 1975 Camaro go around the track with his son behind the wheel.

“He’s got a good head on his shoulders,” John said. “I tell him all the time ‘Drive patient. You can’t win with a wrecked race car.’ I get more excited watching him run.”

In just his second year of racing, Wesley Taylor is making his father proud, having won four feature races in the Pure Stock class at Outlaw Motorsports Park this season, including the last three. The mid-season surge has Wesley sitting in fourth place in the point standings with 767 points and points to several factors.

“A good crew and a fast car,” Wesley said. “Also good motors and a great setup and an even better track.”

Muskogee’s Ken Hughey leads the standings with 1,108 points. Tyler Chambers of Welling is second with 839 points while Bobby Hunter of Haileyville sits just ahead of Wesley with 824 points.

While trying to maintain focus on the next race, the Taylors have already done the math on what it will take to catch the drivers in front of him.

“I have to finish in the top 3 every weekend,” Wesley said. “Or I need to finish ahead of the others every weekend. I feel I have about two weeks to go before I catch the two drivers in front of me.”

Wesley got started in racing by tagging along with his father.

“My dad took me drag-strip racing with his Mustang,” Wesley said. “He saw how much fun I was having so we started to go racing.”

And it’s not just his father that Wesley looks at to learn about the sport.

“I look to my old friends,” he said. “About trapping cars behind slower cars and how to pass them in the turns. How not to drive dirty.”

Wesley is not just a one-track pony. While he does the majority of his racing at Outlaw, he still goes to other tracks to perfect his craft.

“I’ve raced sometimes at Thunderbird,” he said. “I’ve also raced at Salina, Tri State Speedway and Crawford County Speedway in Arkansas.”

One thing that Wesley is having trouble with is sponsors, for which he has none, but is hoping his performances on the track will alleviate that.

“It’s all out-of-pocket,” Wesley said. “It’s very difficult. You’ve got to be a good driver and have people that support you. You’ve got to drive clean.”

Wesley’s first year was a learning experience, one that his father said he learned sometimes the hard way.

“There were bent tie rods and flat tires,” John said. “He’s really doing good this year. If we can make up 25 points every weekend, we should battling for the top by season’s end.”