Brothers share racing dream
Monday, Jun. 20, 2011
Clayton and Kyle Weatherman decided they wanted to be NASCAR drivers when they were 5 and 6.
"They thought if you wanted to be an astronaut, you were an astronaut," said their father, Daryn Weatherman. "If you wanted to be a golfer, you were a golfer. They always thought they were going to be NASCAR racers, no ifs, ands or buts about it."
Now that Clayton is 12 and Kyle is 13, they've realized it's not quite that easy.
The brothers from St. Louis started racing when Clayton was 7 and Kyle was 8. They started in go-karts, moved up to Bandoleros, and now race in the Legends Cars at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where the third in the 10-race Summer Shootout series is tonight.
Clayton, in his first year in a Legends car, is in the Young Lions Division. Kyle, in his second season in a Legends car, is in the Pro Division. In the first two races of this series, Clayton finished 12th. Kyle finished fourth and sixth.
It's all part of the plan Daryn Weatherman says goes through 2018, when Clayton turns 18. Aside from the challenges of the racing, money is another obstacle.
As president of St. Charles Glass and Glazing, Weatherman has never had to ask for monetary help. But having spent about $600,000 on his sons' careers thus far, he's about a year and a half away from needing funding.
"I am looking for a national sponsor that wants to be with who I see as the next Kurt and Kyle Busch because I feel like, as any parent, my kids have the ability and the talent to race, and they also have the marketability," Weatherman said.
Don Hawk, executive vice president of Speedway Motorsports Inc., said the Weatherman brothers have potential.
"They're clean racers, they are good racers, they have level heads, and in my mind, they're the kind of people we want to be the stars and drive the cars tomorrow," Hawk said. "They've done a great job of selling themselves by just performing."
Weatherman said one of Clayton's biggest challenges is that he's always comparing himself to his older brother.
"When Kyle moves up, Clayton thinks he should be able to do it," Daryn Weatherman said. "So Clayton's constantly looking at how he has to be as good as his brother or better."
Clayton, Kyle and their dad travel across the country to compete, racing year-round. Weatherman said for about the first 21/2 years, their school, Wentzville Middle, didn't like the brothers missing so many days, but recently it has been much more supportive of their racing careers.
"I think they realize we're not doing this for fun, that two boys that are very young are acting like adults already," Weatherman said. "Once the school realized what we're doing, they love it."
Weatherman said having his wife, Lori, and daughter, Kerstyn, staying behind is one of the hardest parts, but it might be for the best. .
"If they want to go sit in the stands, it's one thing, but to be able to be here and talk to us, when we're at the race track, we really don't talk much," he said. "We're very focused on what we're doing."
And they are determined to stay the course.
"If you ask them today what they're going to do," Weatherman said, "they still don't think there's any other opportunity other than being a NASCAR driver."