Auto Racing

Alburnett's Brody Willett on track for big things

Week in Florida cut shot, but future still bright

Brody Willett of Cedar Rapids is competing in a series of races in the World Series of Asphalt this week at Smyrna Speedway. (Caleb Slouha)
Brody Willett of Cedar Rapids is competing in a series of races in the World Series of Asphalt this week at Smyrna Speedway. (Caleb Slouha)
/

Brody Willett was about 20 minutes and maybe a few years from the Daytona 500 last week.

Although you won’t here the 16-year-old auto racer from Alburnett look that far down the road — or, in this case, down the track.

Willett was invited to take part in the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at the New Smyrna Speedway in New Smyrna Beach, Fla.

“This was a last-second deal that we just threw together,” he said in a telephone interview on Friday from the track.

The plan was to run several races over the week-and-a-half long series, “racing night after night. You can’t beat that.”

But, in auto racing, plans often can get, well, knocked off track.

“It was fun while it lasted, but unfortunately our racing is done down here at New Smyrna Speedway,” a Facebook post on Brody Willett Racing noted Sunday. “Came a long way to be involved in an unfortunate incident on the first night, but that is racing!

“Thank you so much to all of our fans and partners who have helped us get here — we are disappointed we couldn’t do better for you, but are excited for our next race in a couple months.”

Before getting involved in an accident on Friday, Willett said a long series like this is all “about keeping yourself in one piece.”

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

While that didn’t happen and his trip to Florida was cut short, his racing career appears to be right on track.

Willett’s list of accomplishment are impressive for such a young driver.

He is a three-time International Kart Federation champion, the 2014 Legends division rookie of the year at Hawkeye Downs and the 2015 Late Model rookie of the year. In 2016, he became the youngest driver to win a Late Model feature at Hawkeye Downs.

He has more than 200 feature wins, including a dash past Cedar Rapids NASCAR driver Landon Cassill last summer in the Cassill Motors Military Night at Hawkeye Downs, a win he said at the time “tops every last one of them.”

Last year, he also finished third in the Big 8 Late Model Series standings.

But you won’t hear Willett bragging about his past — or making bold predictions about his future.

“We’re going to stay humble,” he said. “You start getting cocky and you get put in your place pretty quickly.”

But it’s OK to dream of racing against some of the top names in the sport, maybe even getting behind the wheel of a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series car at Daytona International Speedway some day.

“Hopefully,” he said. “If the planets line up, that’s what we want to be doing.”

But for now, it’s back to the Big 8 series and, hopefully he said, a few races at Hawkeye Downs in 2018.

“I’m really excited,” he said.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Thank you for signing up for our e-newsletter!

You should start receiving the e-newsletters within a couple days.

Although he was talking about the opportunity in Florida, he very well could have been talking about his future behind the wheel of a very fast car.

l Comments: (319) 368-8696; jr.ogden@thegazette.com

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

CONTINUE READING

MORE Auto Racing ARTICLES TO READ NEXT ...

Editor's note: Brody Willett is a 16-year-old racecar driver from Alburnett, who is home schooled, but attends some classes at Alburnett. This is the first in a series of stories Willett will share throughout the 2018 season. Bei ...

Joey Gase has worked with a brand new team this season.The 25-year-old Cedar Rapids native has had some newfound success on the NASCAR Xfinity Series.'We've been much more competitive than I ever had been in the past in the Xfinit ...

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.