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Myers Jr. Named ARCA Sportsman Rookie of the Year at Toledo speedway
November 20, 2012Bedford High School
November 13, 2012
It was the season for Jeff Myers Jr. to return to the place where he started, Toledo Speedway. 10 years ago, a 5 yr. old kart racer took to the 1/4 mile oval at Toledo Speedway for the very first time. In 2012, Jeff Jr., now 15 years old, returned to Toledo Speedway, but this time, racing a full-size stock car. Still not old enough to drive, he wheeled his car at speeds over 100 mph on one of the fastest half mile ovals in the country. Friday night at the ARCA Toledo Speedway/Flat Rock Speedway banquet, Jeff Jr. was awarded ARCA Sportsman Rookie of the Year and was recognized by ARCA with a Special Achievement Award by becoming the first 15 year old to compete in the weekly ARCA racing on the ½ mile at Toledo. Not bad for a high school Freshman.
After starting off in karting locally, Jeff Jr. and the family traveled the country seeking the highest level competition in karting and racing at places like MRP in South Bend; Indiana; Daytona Speedway; Charlotte Motor Speedway; and Road America, Wisconsin. In 2012, ARCA opened up the rules to permit qualified racers, age 15, a chance to compete on the high speed oval at Toledo. Jeff jumped at the opportunity to return home. After interviews with Toledo Speedway officials, private testing and meetings with ARCA, he was approved to race! However, there were restrictions, the biggest came to be known as "the rookie rule." Jeff would be required to start at the rear of the field, no matter where he qualified, until such time that officials approved.
The team had originally planned on running only the first 4 races in 2012 - then evaluate the remainder of the season on a race to race basis. Jeff Jr. showed some speed by qualifying well in the upper half of the field, but still had to start last to gain experience. Despite some rookie mistakes and being handicapped by starting last, Jr. was able place 10th with a pair of 7ths in his first 4 races. The team was encouraged and pressed forward to complete the remainder of the season with the Rookie of the Year award as a goal.
Mid-season races were a struggle with a couple of mechanical failures. With help from fellow racers Paul and Mike Young, repairs were made and Jeff didn't miss a race the rest of the year. The "rookie rule" was finally lifted the last 2 races of the season. Jeff Jr. finished in the top 10 of the season points standings, 9th, top rookie.
Jeff Jr.: "I have to thank all of the local racers who helped me get here this year, Dave Arnold, Mike Young, Norm Lewallen. I learned a ton this year and can't wait to come back next season and do it again."
Father Jeff Myers Sr.: "That was the toughest racing season that Jr. has experienced and will provide a foundation for the future. As a team, we learned what to do, and what not to do. We're looking forward to 2013."
In 2013, Jeff Jr. will compete again at Toledo Speedway in the ARCA Sportsman series. He is actively pursuing sponsorship for 2013. Racing is not exactly on High School sports curriculum and Jeff Jr. is looking for all the help he can get. Long range goals are to go to college and someday compete with the ARCA Touring series.
Jeff Jr. would like to thank all of his friends, family and fans who've supported him and have come out to see him race at Toledo Speedway over the past year. Special thanks go out to all of his sponsors who've helped to keep him in the drivers seat: Sidelines Sports Eatery and Pub, Debra Reiner Family Dentistry, Temperance Sunoco, Advanced Accounting, Bedfordsports.com, Lambertville Hardware, Race Against Drugs (RAD) Race Team, Dr. Al, Scott Bross, Dave Miller, the Lawrence Family and all of the guys on the team who've volunteered their time to keep Jr. moving forward. THANK YOU ALL for helping to keep Jeff Jr. in the drivers seat. He absolutely could not do this without your support.