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Local racer Meyer optimistic about new season
Feb 14, 2013 3:30 pm
By LARRY WOODY
Joseph Meyer’s racing season ended with a bang last year – and not a good bang – when he crashed in the Late Model race that was part of the national Snowball Derby weekend in Pensacola, Fla.
Meyer, a 26-year-old driver from Mt. Juliet, was not injured, but the wipe-out marked a disappointing finish to a disappointing season. Now all of that’s in the rear-view mirror as Meyer prepares for fresh start in a new season.
“I’m optimistic,” says Meyer. “I’m not down at all. We had some bad luck last year and hopefully that’s behind us. That’s the great thing about this sport – there’s always tomorrow.”
Meyer’s exact plans have not been finalized. He hopes to run the 16-race Southern Super Series that competes at various tracks across the Southeast, including two stops at Fairgrounds Speedway in April and October.
To run the Series requires a special motor, and a top-of-the-line one costs $40,000. Meyer is shopping for a more moderately-priced one, and how successful his search is could determine whether he runs the Series.
If not, he will compete at the Fairgrounds, which one again will run an abbreviated scheduled of six local-division races and couple of special events.
“I’ve got several things in the works, but nothing definite yet,” says Meyer, who works for a Nashville insurance agency when he’s not immersed in his racing venture.
Meyer started racing Mini-Cups at 14, and even at that young age he hoped to turn his part-time hobby into a full-time career.
“Racing professionally is still my goal,” he says. “I’ll keep working at it.”
Meyer’s race shop is located at his Mt. Juliet home. His cars are kept at nearby Moody Inc., which does most of the fabrication work.
He also receives assistance from Mike Alexander and his son Clay. Mike is a former Fairgrounds track champion whose promising NASCAR Cup career was ended by a head injury suffered in a 1988 crash in the Snowball Derby.
Mike’s son Clay is considered one of the area’s brightest young racing talents.
“Clay and I became acquainted when we raced together at Twin Fountains Raceway (near Shelbyville) as kids,” Meyer says. “Mike has a lot of experience and expertise and he has always gone out of his way to share it with me. I couldn’t have made it this far without the help of Mike and Clay Alexander.”
Fairgrounds Speedway kicks off the season on April 6 with a Southern Super Series race. Times, schedules, ticket information and other details about the upcoming season are posted on the track’s website.
Fairgrounds Speedway, which opened in 1958, has struggled in recent years but is still regarded as one of the nation’s premier short tracks. It draws drivers and fans from throughout Middle Tennessee, including many from Wilson County.
“It’s a great track with a tremendous history,” Meyer says. “Lots of drivers who raced there over the years – like Darrell Waltrip, Sterling Marlin and Bobby Hamilton -- went on to have outstanding careers. They’re my inspiration.”