With one race to go this season, a championship is on the fingertips of Lebanon’s Preston Young.
Young is just a few points out of first place in the Legends standings at Nashville’s Fairground Speedway, making his second career title within his reach.
“I’d rather be chasing than being chased,” says Young, who won his previous Legends championship in 2014. “Being behind makes me work harder and drive better. It’s like you have nothing to lose, just go out and run as hard as you can.”
If the Wilson Central High graduate can pull it off, he says the second championship will be sweeter than the first.
“I won the championship in 2014 without winning a race,” he says. “I won it with consistently high finishes, but no wins. This season I have two wins, and that would make winning the championship more satisfying.”
This is the first season since 2014 that Young has been in the championship hunt. Each of the previous three seasons he was unable to run the full schedule and that kept him out of title contention.
“I’d have a wrecked car or a schedule conflict or something that would cause me to miss a race or two,” he says. “This year I’ve been able to run them all, and do pretty well in each of them.”
One of the past scheduling conflicts came when Tennessee Tech University’s graduation fell on race day at the Fairgrounds.
“I had to choose between racing and going through graduation,” Young says, adding with a laugh: “My mom got the final vote, and I went to graduation.”
Young’s mother Lisa has encouraged his racing ventures, along with his father Randall, a 26-year-racing veteran. Preston’s brother Jeff also has raced, although he sat out this season.
“I started pulling double-duty this season, running Super Trucks along with Legends cars, and my mom, dad and brother have been helping out,” Young says. “I couldn’t do it without them.”
Racing Super Trucks on the Fairgrounds big track has been an adjustment from driving down-sized Legends cars on the smaller infield track.
“It’s a lot different, and I’m still learning,” Young says. “But I enjoy racing on the big track with the higher speeds. The competition is really tough.”
Young is not certain what next season holds in store.
“I’ll probably run a full Super Trucks schedule,” he says, “but I don’t know about Legends. I’ve enjoyed racing those cars for a lot of years, but I don’t know if I’ll continue, or just concentrate on Super Trucks.”
Young says he’ll definitely be back at Fairgrounds Speedway in some sort of racing vehicle.
“I’ve made that commitment to Tony,” he says, referring to track operator Tony Formosa Jr. “He has put a lot of work and effort into keeping the track going, and I intend to support him in every way I can.”
A few years ago Fairgrounds Speedway was on the verge of folding, but Formosa stepped in and pumped new life into it.
“I feel positive about the future,” Young says. “We had some great crowds, and Tony has brought in some new sponsors and increased the purses.”
Young is one of four Wilson County drivers in contention for championships this season:
At Fairgrounds Speedway Dylan Fetcho is on top of the Pro Late Model standings and Chase Johnson leads the Pro Mods. At Highland Rim Speedway, Hunter Wright leads the Legends Series, in which he is defending champion.
Larry Woody is The Democrat’s motorsports writer. Email him at [email protected]