Drake Reed Anderson was born Feb. 26, and his destiny already might be in place to become a fourth-generation racecar driver.
Sometimes when he’s fussy, Drake’s dad, David, will put a DVR-recorded race on TV, and the sound of engines and sight of cars roaring around a track settle him down.
Racing is in the family blood, and Father’s Day takes on special meaning for the Andersons, who hope to begin celebrating Saturday night when David and his dad, Steve, compete in the Super Late Model race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Bullring.
Four of the six crew members on the Anderson team are in the family, and the other two are a father-son duo who have been with the team so long they might as well be related.
Jane, Steve’s wife and David’s mother, works in the LVMS media center during major events. Stephanie, David’s wife, traces the racing lineage on her side of the family back to her grandfather, Gus Newman.
On David’s side of the family, Steve — who is “59 and holding,” he said — has been racing cars since he was 20 and needed parental consent to compete because he was under 21.
“I can remember the days of being the youngest guy on the track,” Steve said. “Now I’m here being the oldest guy on the track.”
But David, even though he grew up around racing, didn’t appear overly interested in the sport. He tried football at Green Valley High School, but couldn’t gain enough weight to break 200 pounds.
David was strong, though, and he became a champion power lifter who appeared to have a future in strongman competitions. He set three world records in one lifting meet in Mesquite, including a squat of 702 pounds.
His dreams ended late in 2000 while warming up during another meet. More than 500 pounds in weights fell on him, injuring his lower back and ending his power-lifting days.
David, 31, still has lower-back pain.
“Everything that should be straight shoots off to the right,” he said. “I’d imagine running into walls in racecars probably doesn’t help much.”
Crashing into walls, though, wasn’t immediately on his mind after the injury.
Then in late 2001, David and Steve were watching the Legends practice at the Bullring, and the dad casually asked whether he would like to try it. David said, just as casually, he could give it a shot, thinking his dad was kidding.
David found himself in his first Legends race on his 21st birthday in 2002.
A race David won.
Then Steve won his Late Model race the same night.
The family had planned to celebrate David’s birthday with champagne, but now they had plenty of other reasons to party.
David went on to win the 2002 Legends season championship, beating out the likes of Kyle Busch and the late Spencer Clark. He eventually moved up to his current class, his dad bringing him along slowly to make him a better driver.
“He made me work for it,” David said. “He didn’t just hand me the best piece of equipment.”
Both are in the top 10 this season, with Steve eighth and David 10th.
Now, like the rest of the family, racing is in David’s blood.
Sunday is Father’s Day.
Saturday is Race Night.
“I’d really like to have a 1-2 finish out there,” Steve said. “Of course, I’d like to win and have him behind me.”
He laughed as he said that, but Steve probably wasn’t kidding, adding of his son’s ride, “That’d be the car I’d like to see in my mirror.”
■ NOTES — The NASCAR Nationwide race at LVMS changed its name to the Boyd Gaming 300 to honor the company’s 20-year sponsorship of the event. ... Las Vegan Dylan Kwasniewski was selected for NASCAR Next class, which was called the Next9. Kwasniewski, the 18-year-old who races in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, also was a member of the class last season, which promotes up-and-coming drivers. ... T.J. Flores won the Unlimited Truck and overall titles Saturday at the KC HiLites 250 near Jean. Flores was one of 10 Las Vegans to win divisions in the Southern Nevada Off Road Enthusiasts event.
Contact reporter Mark Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter: @markanderson65.