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Young driver on the fast track

Colby Copeland races for success
By: Robbie Enos, Press Tribune Correspondent
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While most kids at the age of 17 are just excited to be receiving their driver’s license, Colby Copeland drives at a different pace. The Oakmont High senior is in Tulsa this week for the Chillibowl Nationals Sprint Car Racing event. It is the largest indoor racing event in the United States, with more than 260 cars registered. He will be driving for Mike Sala. Copeland will be racing in the midget division, with a chance to go up against some of NASCAR’s finest. The list of racers includes Kasey Kane, Jason Lefler, J.J. Yelly and Tony Stewart. Copeland’s racing career started when his father introduced him to some outlaw karts at the age of 11. “My dad has mainly influenced me the most with my racing”, Colby said. “He raced when he was younger and he likes the racing just as much as I do. My crew Pete Johnston and Brice Sandhagen have influenced me as well.” In just a short period of time, this young driver has achieved a lot. In 2006, Copeland raced in the Noxville Iowa Nationals and QRC Championship for Outlaw Karts. He was second in points for the QRC series. In 2007 he was the Mini Sprint Rookie of the Year, fourth in the point series. He added another Rookie of the Year award to his mantle after racing in the 410 Sprint Car Series in 2008. Last year he was third in points for the same series. The local high school student has won 29 main events over the course of his career. He gets in as much practice for racing as possible. “I try to race as many races as I can,” Copeland said. “There really aren’t any practice tracks, but I like to go to RPM in Sacramento for fun.” A big fan of NASCAR, Copeland looks up to several star professionals. His favorite racer is Jeff Gordon, who unfortunately will not be at the Chillibowl Nationals. With such a large resume, he has big plans for the future. He is scheduled for the Mini Gold Cup in Chico during March of this year. With enough sponsors, he will be qualified for the Golden State 410 Series, which spans over 10 different racetracks in California. Copeland considers professional racing as a career option. “I would definitely love to be a professional race car driver,” Copeland said. “It’s just really tough to make it to the big time these days. There is a lot of competition.”