by Christopher Annino
One of the most demanding, death defying, and underrated sports that is finally earning respect in our country is auto racing. The origin of automobile racing in America began during prohibition. Moon shiners began customizing their automobiles, which made it difficult for the authorities to catch them. Later on NASCAR was established and such driving dynasties as the Petty’s and Earnhardt’s assisted in turning a once punishable crime to a highly watched and competitive sport.
Sixteen-year-old East Lyme student Kyle Kutcha is a third generation driver who is currently competing in the Seekonk Youth Racing Association 750. He placed in several races this year and is currently ranked fourth in his division.
Kyle was introduced to competitive racing when he began watching the races with his father who was a crew chief at the Stafford Motor Speedway. “When I saw a mini cup car at a racing convention, I thought it was the coolest thing. Next thing I know, I am in Mystic picking out my own car to race. Since my first race in 2004, I have had the time of my life.”
Over time, Kyle learned that the demands of his sport usually are found more off the track than on. “There is always work to be done such as making adjustments or fixing the car. On the track, you just have to know what you’re doing. Trying to recognize parts of the car demand my attention more than anything, on top of that I have to balance that work with school work and other commitments.”
Despite the constant improvements and modifications that is put on the car, it doesn’t shield the terrors and sometimes fatal accidents the sport unfortunately has. “One time I almost went head first into the wall trying to avoid an accident. Luckily, I had only hit with the right side, but I was still pretty shaken up.”
Before every race, Kyle puts himself in a mental state of pure positive energy. He erases all negativity so that he can be confident in his race. Kyle is also a very talented drummer, and is a filmmaker with the Southeastern CT Film Makers Association.