By Jerry Jordan, Editor
LUMBERTON, Tx – If we’ve learned anything from covering drivers in NASCAR it’s that they are often persnickety and stubborn – think Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Tony Stewart, etc. Well, the same goes for young drivers, too.
This week, Ryder Wells decided he was going to race go-karts for the first time in about two years. Despite progressing rapidly in the open-wheel restrictor ranks, he wasn’t content to sit at home when a planned doubleheader weekend in Dallas with the Lucas Oil NOW 600 Series was canceled. So, he spent the past few days singlehandedly tearing down and rebuilding his old go-kart, where he quickly learned he is a little taller than he was at 12-years-old.
After stripping the kart down to the frame, readjusting the pedals, steering wheel and buying a completely new seat, Wells’ setup is a little different than in the past. He is sitting up, which will increase drag and slow him down some on the track. But because he’s been in micro-sprints so long, he said he wasn’t comfortable laying back in typical go-kart racing fashion.
“I couldn’t see if I was any lower with my neck support on,” Wells protested.
Wells added that he isn’t comfortable sitting the way he previously did – when he was about four inches shorter. He said he is aware of the disadvantages of sitting higher in the seat but he is ready for racing and will hit the track Friday night at BJ’s Gokart Speedway in Rapides Parish, Louisiana.
“It’s all about having fun this weekend,” Wells said. “I just need to go out there, race my race and stay safe. I didn’t want to sit at home for another week with no track time and I had been thinking about taking the kart out for a spin anyway.
“Dad (Zach Well, aka crew chief) said if I did all the work, he would go, so I got after it. It was a lot of work but we are ready for action and I can’t wait to get on the track.”
And like with any good promotion on television, here comes the tagline – Wait, there’s more.
Wells not only convinced his dad to spend Friday in Louisiana he is gunning for a win the 50-lap event at Acadiana Speedway on Saturday. That track is located in Breaux Bridge, La., and has been the site of some epic go-kart battles.
“He is probably a little bit at a disadvantage because everything has been in storage for so long and he is using his old equipment but he just wants to race,” Zach Wells said. “It should be fun and he is confident he can put the kart in Victory Lane.”
As for sitting so high up, the younger Wells was sticking to his guns and reminded the crew chief and his PR manager that they weren’t the ones driving. Sort of sounds like some of the drivers mentioned previously.