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Webber, 18, taking to track in new, sleek ride

Webber, 18, taking to track in new, sleek ride
Webber, 18, taking to track in new, sleek ride
Decked in Lucas Oil sponsorship, Jacob Webber poses with his No. 83W Super Late Model. Photo by Brian Smith (click for larger version)

Nestled south of Corydon is a quiet race car driver waiting to pounce on the competition with a new chassis and engine. Jacob Webber is revving to go and reach the level of experienced drivers on the dirt tracks of Indiana and Kentucky.
Webber, 18, is looking to make his big splash on the Super Late Model Circuit in his No. 83W Lucas Oil-sponsored ride. The car is a sleek white with the patriotic red, white and blue Lucas Oil sponsorship from the nose to the rear.
‘Without the support of Mr. Forrest Lucas and Lucas Oil, we probably wouldn’t be racing this year,’ Webber said.
This season, Webber’s race car features a 2009 Rocket Chassis, hopefully the key to getting off to a fast and successful 2009 season of racing. The Bullock Race Engine is out of Somerset, Ky., and bolsters 800 horsepower.
The car is an upgrade from last season that will hopefully launch the young driver to a successful campaign in 2009.
The Webber Racing Team, a family operation that includes parents Mike and Tracy, along with younger sister Paige, plans to hit the dirt on a selective schedule.
‘It is probably going to take a good six to eight races before we get the chassis working properly,’ Mike Webber said. ‘We’re going to try to run as many races as we can to get Jacob plenty of seat time.’
The Webbers plan on hitting several area tracks, including Brownstown Speedway, Bluegrass Speedway in Bardstown, Ky., Ponderosa Speedway in Junction City, Ky., and Thunder Valley Raceway in Central City to compete in the Late Model division of dirt racing.
‘I like the racing aspect of it the most,’ Jacob Webber said. ‘But I like doing it all, including down to doing the nut and bolt checks.’
The 18-year-old typically puts 20 hours per week in the garage setting the car up for weekend events. Last year, after a crash, he spent 60 hours in a few days stripping the car down and putting it back together.
The hard work and dedication is part of the reason the race team keeps on trucking.
‘This is his dream,’ Mike said. ‘If I didn’t have the confidence in him to be successful, I wouldn’t have invested this long. In this division, it isn’t a hobby. Some of these teams race for a living. We try to do the best with what we got and work hard at it. We learn every single time we hit the track.’
A majority of the teams in the late model division have more than one engine and chassis within their garages. The Webbers are more than cautious about their equipment.
‘We have step-by-step manuals for the engine,’ Mike said. ‘We make sure we warm it up properly to make sure nothing happens to it.’
Hard work and dedication is part of the reason for the upgrades and Jacob’s future.
‘We started out four years ago on a limited budget,’ Mike said. ‘Now we’ve learned how to drive and keep going. The reason we keep racing is because of our sponsor, Lucas Oil. We can’t thank Mr. Forrest Lucas enough for what he has done.’
Fellow Lucas Oil employees Don Corsette and crew chief Brandon Collins have also been a big part of Jacob’s run.
‘We want to get some name recognition not only for Jacob, but also for Lucas Oil products,’ Mike said. ‘If it weren’t for Mr. Lucas, this kid wouldn’t have this chance the last three years.’
The racing team is hoping to take the No. 83W to Lucas Oil Speedway, the track owned by Lucas, in Wheatland, Mo., for a race by the end of the season.
‘What we want to do is get more people to the tracks,’ Mike said. ‘The economy has taken a hit on families, and we’re going to try to run as many races as we possibly can. We invite everyone to come out to the race track and watch a local boy trying to make it.’
Jacob has drawn respect and inspiration for Earl Pearson Jr., a member of the Lucas Oil Racing family. Pearson won the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series National Champion in 2008.
‘Hopefully, this will lead to an opportunity to join the NASCAR, Nationwide or truck series,’ Mike said. ‘The goal is to learn these late models and keep making features this year and make some top fives and perhaps get a win.’
Mike is hoping to possibly connect with other people who see Jacob’s talents and get behind him as well.
‘He’s a young kid looking for his first big break,’ he said. ‘Hopefully, this year will be the year.’
For more information on Webber Racing, visit online at www.webberracing.com.

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