116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Kaden Reynolds is trying to become the Kris Bryant of the local hobby stock racing scene.
Similar to how the former Chicago Cub won Minor League Player of the Year, MLB Rookie of the Year and league MVP in three consecutive seasons, Reynolds already has won National Rookie of the Year (2019) and claimed the first Junior National Championship last season.
The soon-to-be 20-year-old (Aug. 18) also is maxed out on points he can earn toward the national championship for this season and is just waiting to collect bonus points from his two local track championships at Independence and Benton County speedways.
"I'm just going out and trying to win as much as possible and have fun," Reynolds said of his attempt at the trifecta. "I'd like to say we're there, but we're not."
The Cedar Rapids driver has 26 wins and the champion is crowned from a driver's best 25 finishes in their first 50 starts.
Those wins also are helping to grow the sport as Reynolds gives away most of his trophies to his biggest fan base.
"I have a ton of little kid fans that I give my trophies to each week," Reynolds said. "It's cool to be a kid and get more kids into the sport to keep it alive."
Reynolds may be young, but he's no kid when it comes to driving or dealing with the backlash of his success.
"There are people who respect me because of what I'm doing, but there are a lot of people who hate me for what I'm doing," Reynolds said. "They think my grandpa pays for everything or I'm cheating. I could blow it out of proportion, but it doesn't really bother me."
What does matter to Reynolds mental state is the lucky Strawberry Acai drink he and his girlfriend, Kailey, get from Starbucks before each race.
"We call it liquid speed," said Reynolds, who nearly threw off his routine last week before finding the couple's favorite drink inside a Hy-Vee location just before leaving for Marshalltown.
If Reynolds does complete his goals for the season, he may take a different approach to racing in 2022.
His two leading options would be to move up to the stock car division or chase bigger paychecks.
"A class change would be nice," Reynolds said. "Winning a ton is fun, but I'd rather race with a full field of stiff competition than win every night."
Regardless of his decision, Reynolds is looking to stay in Cedar Rapids as he continues his racing career and let his roots grow deeper.
"It's like a little town, but it's not," Reynolds said. "It feels like a big city to me because I travel to tiny towns to race. My whole family is here, so it'd be cool to stay here forever."