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Star Of Today, Star Of Tomorrow Team Up

Deb Williams | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, August 5 2011

Kyle Plott picked up a big check at Charlotte Motor Speedway this week. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Harold Hinson)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

When 15-year-old Kyle Plott and his family pull into Lanier National Speedway in Braselton, Ga., Saturday for the three-eighths-mile track’s Late Model event, don’t be surprised if the teenager is smiling.

After all, it isn’t often a young driver gets to defeat his mentor in one of grassroots racing’s largest events, the season’s most prestigious Legends car race, and collect $25,000.

In Tuesday’s Big Money 100 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Plott, who started ninth, led the final 33 laps in the 100-lap event to defeat NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star David Ragan, just four days after the Unadilla, Ga., native had earned the pole for the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Plott’s biggest win of his young career left both fathers smiling in the post-race inspection area as the teenager, carrying his trophy, walked up to Ragan, who, along with his first cousin, was busily tearing down his car for the officials’ scrutiny.

“They’re good folks. We’ve known them for a lot of years,” Ragan’s father, Ken, a former NASCAR driver, said as he watched his 25-year-old son handle post-race duties. “David’s just tried to help him some. That was nice to see them run first and second, two cars out of the same shop. That was kinda unbelievable, really. It’s hard enough to get one in the top 5, 10, much less two.”

The working relationship between the two drivers began approximately a year ago when Plott sought Ragan’s assistance with his efforts in CMS’ Summer Shootout, held weekly June-August on the facility’s quarter-mile track.

“He helps me out with the car and we feed off each other; what the car’s doing and what we could do to make it better,” Plott, who’s been racing since age 5, said about Ragan. “He tells me what I do that’s right and wrong.”

The elder Ragan, who ran a limited NASCAR Cup schedule 1983-90, noted his younger son has a “good time” when he returns to compete in the Legends series.

“David likes to race,” Ken Ragan continued. “He’d rather be here racing than sitting at the house. To help somebody like Kyle Plott, that’s a bonus. I told David that he’ll always feel good about the kids he helps in racing because he had a lot of people who helped him. He won’t ever forget what got him to where he’s at today. He was very fortunate to get to come through the Legends program. It was affordable for us as a family. He learned how to race in those cars; got his name out in front of some of the right people.”

It was already the wee hours of Wednesday morning when Ragan and Plott were dealing with post-race inspection following the Big Money 100. Within six hours, Ragan would be on a plane headed for a Sprint Cup responsibility, his first cousin at work at Roush Fenway Racing, and Plott, well, he probably would still be savoring his victory. And what about the $25,000? Plott didn’t hesitate when asked about his plans for the money.

“Put it back into racing,” Plott said with a big grin.

– Deb Williams can be reached at dwilliams@racintoday.com

Deb Williams | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, August 5 2011
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