SACRAMENTO, California — The annual talent search known as The Shoot-Out always sorts out the top talented young drivers from across the nation. Making the Shoot-Out is an honor in itself. Winning the Shoot-Out and earning a spot in Ron Sutton’s Winner’s Circle driver development program, along with big sponsorship dollars, is the goal. In the previous year’s Shoot-Out 14 of the 933 drivers that applied made the cut. This year only 9 super talented young drivers won spots from the 965 applicants for the RSWC program and Star Racing Supply sponsorship dollars. “We had slightly more apply for 2012, however we were simply more selective in this year’s Shoot-Out,” stated RSWC Owner Ron Sutton.
With the driver search complete, nine new talented drivers coming from all over the US will join the returning 11 drivers from last year’s RSWC driver roster. These 20 drivers, each with $6,000 to $25,000 of sponsorship dollars from Star Racing Supply, will train and race with the RSWC driver development program with the goal of working their way up the ladder to professional stock car careers. Each driver stood out uniquely and drove impressively in the Shoot-Out to earn a position in the RSWC program.
Among the highlights in the class of 2012 is young 11 year-old driver Cole Glasson. Glasson of Corinth Texas brings an impressive racing resume of five years in asphalt sprint go karts competing in 426 races with 225 podiums and 98 wins. The karting star has collected two IKF Road Race Grand National Championships as well as earning the IKF expert status, runner up in the largest US Rotax Grand Nationals and a KART National Championship. At such a young age, Cole has displayed talent and strong mental skills which stood out in the driver shoot-out. Cole made an easy transition from karts to a race car posting fast laps in his first day.
Glasson will be joined by several other qualified drivers in the USAC Midget divisions. Tyler Edwards of Atlanta, Georgia brings a variety of racing skills to the RSWC program. The 18 year-old driver started his racing career in Quarter Midgets capturing four championships and one runner-up championship. Edwards moved on to race Legend cars collecting four wins, four pole positions and six top fives in his first season. Recently Tyler jumped into a NASCAR Late Model gaining valuable seat time in a full size stock car which led him to finishing in the top five as well as setting fast time in qualifying. In the shoot-out, Tyler projected the total racer package of skill, talent, speed and charisma.
16 year-old female driver Molly Helmuth of Seattle Washington trains in go karts but races three different types of stock cars at her local track Evergreen Speedway. In 2010, Helmuth was voted Washington State Driver Rookie of the Year as well as Rookie of the year in Mini Stocks becoming the youngest ever driver to hold this honor. 2011 was her year of progression as Molly set the track record and posted two podiums in the Mini Stock as well as two podiums in her rookie season in the Pro 4 Truck and made a Late Model debut at the end of the season. In the 2011 Driver Shoot-out Molly showed a smart and coachable attitude while being aggressively fast in the USAC Focus Midgets.
Davenport, Washington’s’ Jared Storer, 16, an accomplished speedway go kart driver has collected 11 victories, numerous top five finishes and one championship in Jr 2 animal within three years of racing. Storer proved to be very coachable at the shoot-out as well progressively learned the cars and track quickly for his first time on asphalt. The dirt oval champion will look to make an impact in the paved USAC Norcal Focus Midget series at Stockton 99 this year.
Spencer Hill, age 15 of Albuquerque, NM, an experienced speedway go kart and mini sprint driver has brought multiple wins and a championship to the RSWC program. Hill collected an Arizona State Championship, five time winner of the Phoenix Holiday Classic as well as five top tens at the IKF Grand Nationals. Spencer Hill was clearly determined, super focused and very fast on his first time on asphalt at the shootout. Spencer Hill will also be competing in the Norcal Focus Midget series with his teammates.
The Ron Sutton’s Winner’s Circle Modified team will gain four new drivers in 2012, beginning with Tripp Gaylord. The 16 year-old from Golden, Colorado has gained multiple achievements in dirt go karts, Dirt Stock cars, Sport Modifieds and Legends. Not only did Tripp run races on dirt or asphalt but he preformed ice races on frozen Colorado lakes. Among keeping up in racing Tripp managed to hold a GPA of 3.5 and awarded for the applause award at his high school. Gaylord showed impressively smooth and precise driving and was fast in full size NASCAR Modifieds for such a young age during the shootout.
20 year-old Merriam, Kansas, standout Matt Gilbert will transition from Midwest Lightning Sprints to Star Grand American Modifieds on the west coast. Gilbert began racing in Road race Go karts in 2001 and by 2007 Matt collected 11 championships. Matt moved up into the Midwest Outlaw Lightning Sprints for two years collecting two championships and most improved driver honors. This past season, Gilbert ran in the Midwest Lightning Sprints and grabbed a championship in his rookie year. Gilbert a ten time champion is a clear winner and has ramped up to speed super fast in a NASCAR Modified at the Shootout.
A 16 year-old Okie from Muskogee, OK Kyle Slader is an expert in dirt racing. Kyle started racing in dirt go karts collecting four championships and 84 wins. Slader moved into Factory Stocks in 2009 grabbing six wins, a championship and earning Rookie of The Year honors. In 2010, Kyle won 22 races and took home a Sport Mod Championship in his rookie year as well as runner up Champion in Street Stocks. In 2011, Slader gathered an A Mod Championship and a runner up Championship in Sport Mods. The multi time dirt champ made the transition to pavement in a short time, running fast, smooth and proving consistent laps at the shootout.
Lastly, Cody Hoover, 20, from Ortonville, MI brings dirt experience to the RSWC program with five quarter midget championships within nine years of racing. In 2008, Hoover moved from quarter midgets to 600 Wing Unrestricted for three years collecting two wins, eight top fives and 12 top tens. Last season Cody debuted in a 410 Super Sprint Car. Hoover was on the gas quick displaying his smart and coachable personality and was fast at the shootout.
"What an exciting group of talented drivers we found in this year's Shoot-Out,” stated head of development, Ron Sutton. "We were more selective in this year's interviewing process and it shows. We are very fortunate to have these impressive young drivers join our development program. We've already started class room training and I can't wait to get to the race track with them."
The race season begins shortly for these 9 drivers but the off-season has been busy already with testing and classroom training sessions. The new season begins on March 31 with many of the new drivers competing in the USAC Focus Midgets Madera Gerhardt Classic event at Madera Speedway in Madera, CA, and with NASCAR Modified openers on April 7 at Stockton 99 Speedway in Stockton, CA.
Ron Sutton’s Winner’s Circle thanks partners: K&N Filters, Scribner Plastics, Allstar Performance, Sunoco Race Fuels and Star Racing Supply. For more information on Ron Sutton’s Winner’s Circle, log on to www.Winners-Circle-Racing.com
Star Racing Supply, one of the fastest growing oval tracks parts companies on the West Coast is a one stop shop for complete race cars, chassis, parts, tires fuel & more. Specializing in pavement oval track racing, the Star Race Cars fabrication shop builds state of the art, winning, race cars from bare chassis to complete race cars in USAC & NASCAR series. For more information on Star Racing Supply, log on to www.StarRacingSupply.com
About Ron Sutton’s Winner’s Circle:
Ron Sutton's Winner's Circle is an established talent scout and development program, providing long term, comprehensive racing and career development for up and coming drivers focused on NASCAR careers. RSWC drivers are raced, coached, groomed, trained and molded, within a professional racing environment, into what top NASCAR teams look for when hiring drivers. Drivers involved in the program race in a variety of cars, including USAC Norcal Focus Midgets, Star Grand American Modifieds, NASCAR Whelen All American Modifieds, NASCAR Late Model stock cars, NASCAR Grand National stock cars and the ARCA series.