EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire archives

January 22, 2008

Teen on track for pro racing career

PELHAM - At 16, Tyler Guilbeault already knows he wants to be a professional race-car driver and travel the country racing.

"I'd rather be up and around and seeing other states," the Pelham High School student said. "I don't really want to be sitting behind a desk."

"It's a dream," said his father, Don Guilbeault.

But it's a dream on the way to reality. Tyler is taking the same track many professional race-car drivers have followed - driving a go-kart.

All kinds of people, including hobbyists, delve into karting, according to Mike Traylor, editor of the World Karting Association's magazine, WKA's Karting Scene.

But the sport definitely attracts people who aspire to become a motor sports pro, he said. Traylor didn't have the exact statistics in front of him, but recalled that 92 percent of professional drivers - including Nextel's Jamie McMurray - started out driving go-karts.

Traylor said go-kart is really a misnomer. The racers call the sport karting.

"A go-kart is really something you ride around in the yard," he said. "But karts are built strictly for racing, and a lot of technology and precision goes into the engineering for high performance."

People of all ages can drive karts. The youngest group is 5 to 7, and some professional kart drivers are in their 60s, Traylor said.

Cindy Guilbeault, Tyler's mother, said karting is something father and son can do together, and that's part of their motivation. They build the karts together. She said they actually break the kart down after every race and rebuild it.

Tyler has driven a kart at Daytona International Speedway - twice. The first time was two years ago.

"It was pretty cool, racing on the Daytona Speedway," he said. "It was definitely different. Faster than anyplace I raced before."

In November, he won two national championships in the juniors division. When he turned 16, he moved up to the adult class and went back to Daytona.

This time, Tyler didn't win but finished fifth and seventh in his first two seniors races.

"He was a little intimidated on the track," his father said. "They took him to school in the last few laps."

But he's gained experience, and there's no looking back. They're committed to the Dunlop Tire Road Racing series - eight raceways in 11 months. Besides Daytona last December, Tyler will race at Loudon and at tracks in the Midwest and South.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
New Hampshire archives

NDN Video
Obama Offers Condolences at Dutch Embassy Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Raw: Lawmakers Scuffle in Ukraine's Parliament The Rock Finds His Inner 'Hercules' Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques ShowBiz Minute: Hoffman, Oberst, Box Office WWII Vet Gets Medals, 70 Years Late Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong
Photos of the Week