For 10-year-old, racing is a lifestyle

Photos Provided by Amanda Whitney
Reed Whitney celebrates with a checkered flag after one of his many career wins. Whitney has become sort of a household name in the quarter midget racing ranks as he's notched over 100 victories and five total championships at just the age of 10.

By HENDRIX MAGLEY
hmagley@dcherald.com

Reed Whitney loves doing the activities that most 10-year-olds his age tend to do such as playing Fortnite and other video games with his friends. However, when Reed isn’t being competitive on a gaming system you can find him at the place where his competitive juices get flowing the most — at a racetrack.

Reed races on the USAC .25 National Quarter Midget circuit racing at tracks all across the country. He’s competed at events held in the infields of famous motor speedways such as Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Darlington Raceway and on February 7, he’ll be participating in the season opening race which will be held in the infield parking lot at Daytona International Speedway — just a week before NASCAR’s biggest event of the year, the Daytona 500.

He began racing at the age of five and almost fell in love with it instantly. With a little over five years of racing under his belt now, the same aspect of the sport still grips him the most to this day.

“I like the competition and getting to see all my friends,” Reed said. “And winning.”

It’s easy to see why Reed likes winning so much as he’s already stacked up over 100 wins across the country as he races on local, regional and national circuits.

The sport of racing is something that’s been ingrained in the Whitney family for a long time as Reed’s mom Amanda grew up racing dirt modified cars in New York and his father Chuck has been a longtime crew chief on dirt modifieds and sprint cars.

While it wasn’t necessarily a surprise that Reed got involved with racing due to the importance of the sport in the Whitney family, Chuck was happy to see him slowly start to fall in love with it.

“I think for the first month or so he did it just to satisfy us wanting him to do it,” Chuck said. “But within I’d say six months, I could tell it was definitely something he not only wanted to do but something he wanted to be the best at.”

While Reed is the one racing out on the track, there’s a lot of work done behind the scenes by everyone in the family to ensure that the performance will be up to par.

Chuck works on the cars nightly in the garage and also at the track while Amanda handles all of the travel arrangements and gets the trailer all packed up and ready to go for wherever the Whitney family is headed next. At the track, Chuck is also Reed’s crew chief where he’s fully responsible for making sure all the maintenance is done, all changes are made to the car that need to be made and everything is ready to go.

“Oh it’s definitely all hands on deck,” Chuck said. “A lot of the bigger teams will hire people to come help with all of the extra stuff but we can’t afford to do that. Making sure that we get there is a hands-on, full-family approach and we’re both heavily involved in making sure that (Reed) can go out there and stay fast and stay up front.”

The Whitney family just recently moved to Jasper in November after living in Wilmington, North Carolina for the past two and a half years and Phoenix, Arizona for 10 years prior to that. Reed was born in Syracuse, New York but the family moved to the West Coast on his first birthday.

Reed (left) helps his father Chuck prepare for race day by getting the car ready for the track.

What brought them to Southern Indiana?

“We moved to this area because of what this area can offer him for the future,” said Chuck, who took a position at RideTech in Jasper as a production manager. “There’s a lot of next level racing for him in this area, and that might be only a few years down the road. I think it’s the perfect area for his next steps.”

Reed says that his career goal is to someday race in one of the major sprint car or midget car series but could also see himself racing in NASCAR someday as well. He’s also gotten to meet a lot of famous midget car drivers such as Carson Macedo, Donny Schatz and Bryan Clauson as well as NASCAR superstars such as Kyle Larson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kyle Busch.

While there aren’t any tracks in Dubois County that Reed will be racing at, he’ll be competing at several events in Indiana such as the USAC Dirt National in Terre Haute this July as well as weekly trips to North Vernon on Sunday nights to compete in a winged outlaw cart series.

As Reed said, it’s the competition that fully got him interested in sticking with the sport of racing and it’s something that Chuck has seen him continue to work at as he continuously searches for ways to get better year after year.

“(Reed) went from basically winning everything out West to not even qualifying when we moved to North Carolina,” Chuck recalled. “Then, he started to dominate the Southeast region the second year we were there. He was real proud of that and he was so proud of being named the North Carolina Quarter Midget Association driver of the year. When he worked that hard to be the best in that area, it really told us that he’s in this for the long haul and this sport truly means a lot to him.”




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