Middletown 8th-grade racer on `one to watch' list.
Thursday, January 23, 2003
MIDDLETOWN--Casey Neal got his name on the "young drivers to
watch list of a lot of racing teams by winning three different
classes during the Daytona Kart Week Dec. 27-30 at the Daytona
International Speedway in Florida.
Manufacturer's Cup Series World Championship:
Triple winnner #3-Casey Neal leads the way in HPV
Jr.. Photo by Bruce C. Walls, Susan
Neal is a
14-year-old eighth-grader at Vail Middle School. He has been
racing for only three years. This was his first venture into the
"It was awesome just being around the track," he said. "I was
scared at first, just seeing everything. But you got used to it
pretty quick once the racing started."
Neal was in the George Kugler Manufacturers Cup Series,
sponsored by Bridgestone Tires, and dominated the Jr.Yamaha
SuperCan, Formula Y Jr. and HPV junior divisions. Each division
held two qualifying races prior to the championship feature.
Neal led nearly all of the estimated 100 laps he raced on the
newly built 6/10th-mile venue in the Daytona infield between
turns three and four.
Neal is now the national points leader in each division. There
are four more races in the manufacturers cup series in
Charlotte, N.C., Chicago and Madison, Wis., leading to the
national finals in Batavia, N.Y., in August.
going to be a busy year,' said David Neal, Casey's father. "All
told, I think we're going to run 26 or 28 races all over the
country, plus the local races at (G&J Kartway) in Camden. Casey
really impressed a lot of people at Daytona with the smooth way
he drives and (his) personality."
Word gets around the racing world quickly about young talent
that has the combination of driving skill and marketable
Several Web sites devoted to karting made note of Neal's triple
championship accomplishment and engaging personality. Several
individuals associated with open-wheel teams in the Indy Racing
League and USAC said Neal "was giving driving lessons the whole
week and will be one to watch develop on the national scene."
While many young drivers aspire to drive on the NASCAR Winston
Cup circuit, Neal has different ideas.
"I don't really go for NASCAR," he said. "I'd like to race
Formula I someday all over the world."
Neal comes from a racing family. His father "raced about
anything with wheels when I was younger." He allowed his son to
start driving quad runners and small go-karts in the back yard
at "age 7 or 8."
By the time he was 11, the younger Neal wanted to start racing
dirt bikes. His father felt they were too dangerous but steered
Casey to go-karts.
"I just seemed to pick it up right away," Neal said. "I've got
the knack for being able to get ahead early in a race and stay
Neal won consistently in Ohio Valley Karting Association races
becoming the Yamaha Jr. Supercan Champion for 2002 and began to
pick up some sponsorship in the Middletown and Dayton areas.
Last year, he hooked up with Italian chassis manufacturer Energy
Racing and is now one of their factory drivers. Energy picked up
all the bills for the Daytona trip.
"Casey has only had 40 races and won probably 30 of them," his
father said. "So we're pretty new to this whole national racing
Away from driving karts, Neal carries a 3.0 grade-point average
in the classroom and is on the Vail wrestling team with a 7-2
record in the 122-pound class.
Contact Dave Long at 225-2251 or email