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Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 23, 2017

Sprint car driver enjoys driving for a living

By Bill Gatchel | Jun 23, 2017
Photo by: Bill Gatchel In between visiting with members of the public at the Riverside Casino Thursday, June 22, Sprint car driver Daryn Pittman works on getting his car ready to race at Farley Speedway in West Liberty Friday.

RIVERSIDE - Driving around an oval track might be something that sounds like fun as a hobby, but for one driver, it's a living.

Daryn Pittman, driver for Kasey Kahne Racing, has been part of the racing world since before he was even old enough to drive.

“I have been racing since I was 5, as a kid, but 1999 was the first year that I did this for a living and I've been doing it ever since then. I was lucky for it to turn into a profession for me.”

It was the fun aspect of racing that piqued his interest in the sport.

“My parents got involved in cool midget racing and they did that for a long time.

“I really enjoyed it then I moved up into micros, which is modified midgets and started racing those.

“There's a really big Sprint car racing track in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the Outlaws would come once a year. When I was 10 or 11,we'd go and watch and I was a big fan.

“When you realize and see that this is these people's jobs, they do this for a living, that's cool. I want to do that.

“So I just worked really hard to do things right and figure out as a young age that I wanted to race for the Outlaws.

“My parents were able to take me far enough that luckily I was able to pick up some rides and start driving for other people and I've been fortunate to get good rides and be in good situations to get those rides with teams that are capable of winning and [have] been doing it for a while since.”

Even though the Owasso, Oklahoma, native races for a living and it's fun to drive, there is pressure in the job.

“There's a point where it becomes a lot more serious. While I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world, there's a lot of pressure when it comes to this is the only means of income that you have. So there's a lot of risk in doing that.

“I don't own the cars, I just drive for Kasey Kahne. I've always been able to drive for really good car owners that give me good equipment to be able to make a living so I can provide for my family in a good way and able to stay healthy enough to do it for 18 years.”

The racing takes place most of the year as well.

“It starts in February in Florida, then on the West Coast for six to eight weeks, then all over the country from there before ending in Charlotte, North Carolina in November.

“We even go to Canada for a race or two each year. Our schedule keeps us busy.”

Pittman says to truly become interested in racing, you should attend a race in person.

“I think TV or videos of our form of racing does not do us justice for the speed and raw horsepower versus weight ratio that these cars are.

“Basically we're trying to control something that is out of control. Come check it out as you'll probably see some of the purest and most raw form of racing that you'll ever witness.

“It's up to the track conditions as to what we can do on the racetrack, but nine times out of 10 you're probably going to see one of the best races you've ever seen.”

Each race is different as well.

“Our conditions are changing by the minute with it being on dirt. With the sun, wind, how much water is put on the track, how much rain falls, it doesn't do us any good to test certain tracks because conditions are never the same.

“Even in places that are similar year after year, they are still never exactly the same.

“It's a completely different form of racing. We're not marathons, it's sprints. We run 30- or 40-lap races. It's the same set of tires as hard as you can go and get what you can get.

“You leave it all out on the track in a short amount of time versus trying to save your equipment and managing tires and fuel over a long period of time that you see in [Nascar] cup.”

Pittman will be taking part in the races at the Farley Speedway in West Liberty Friday, June 23. The gates open at 5:30 p.m. with the hot laps beginning at 7 p.m.

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