December 4, 2013 — Audio and story by Jacob Seelman for Speed77 Radio and Race Chaser Online — Wentzville, MO — When a young driver with rookie status makes their debut in a national stock car series, fans and insiders don’t always turn their heads.
When that young talent goes on to finish fourth in the event at one of the toughest short tracks in the country, however, the motorsports industry instantly takes notice.
Such was the meteoric entrance to the ARCA Racing Series that 16-year-old Kyle Weatherman enjoyed in 2013, putting everyone on high alert that he was going to be a name to keep an eye on over the next couple of years as he looks to make his way into the ranks of motorsports stardom.
Weatherman, out of Wentzville, Missouri, has rapidly evolved from a young kid learning the ropes to a young prodigy in the world of motorsports, most recently this season in the ARCA ranks. After winning four US Legends Car national championships, highlighted by the 2011 Pro division national title and a win in the 2011 Legends Asphalt Nationals, as well as scoring a pair of wins in the IMCA Modified ranks, the young driver entered 2013 with modest expectations.
The reality he experienced was far sweeter, however.
Weatherman finished fourth in his ARCA debut at the Salem Speedway, the tough high-banked 5/9 mile oval that has played host to more ARCA events than any other, fighting for position throughout the race with veterans such as Frank Kimmel, Grant Enfinger and Tom Hessert. While many called the run a fluke, Weatherman knew his quick success could be replicated. While he could never find his groove at Toledo Speedway, ultimately soldiering home to 12th that afternoon, he fought back in his final three starts. The Missourian grabbed another fourth place finish at the grueling Winchester Speedway before really turning up the wick, finishing runner-up in his final two starts at Iowa and Salem and contending for the win in both outings.
“It was amazing, and yet at the same time it was so tough, to come that close and not get the win, especially at Iowa, when we were leading with 10 laps to go. But we proved we could get there, and now, we just have to come back and make it happen.”
And he certainly plans to come back strong in 2014. While he says his plans aren’t squared away yet for next season just yet, expect Weatherman to compete again in a handful of short track starts in the ARCA series, intermingled with the potential for some select late model, Legend Car and IMCA modified starts if his schedule permits.
All the while though, despite his unbelievable rise, you still find a young man who knows that it’s not about the past successes; that it can just as easily turn to struggles in the blink of an eye.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled that we’ve had the kind of success we’ve had up to now, but we’ve still got to keep pushing. They say you’re only as good as your last race, so we want to make every start count.”
He certainly made each start count this year. An average finish of 4.8 in 5 ARCA starts is beyond impressive for someone who just recently got his commercial driver’s license. And if this season is anything to go by, he’s not done just yet.
Based on what we’ve seen so far, 2013 will likely only be the beginning of Kyle Weatherman’s road to the top.
PHOTO CREDIT: Derrick Shannon/Weatherman Motorsports
Listen in as we sat down to talk with Kyle about his rise through the ranks, his 2013 season and highlights, and his outlook for his future in motorsports: