But that sizzling stretch run wasn’t enough to make up for missing the season-opener, and Young had to settle for second place in the championship standings.
“I have mixed emotions when I look back at the season,” says Young, runner-up to fellow Wilson County driver Hunter Wright. Wright is on track to capture a second Legends title at Highland Rim Speedway which concludes its season Nov. 11.
“On one hand it feels great to win three races,” Young says. “On the other hand it is disappointing to come so close to winning the championship and come up short. Missing that first race killed us.”
Young sat out the first race of the season when a new motor ordered for his race car failed to arrive in time. He therefore was able to run only seven of the season’s eight races and was unable to make up the lost championship points.
“We started in a big hole and almost dug our way out,” he says. “If we had had one more race on the schedule I think we’d have won it (the championship). We made a strong run at it, but just ran out of time.”
Young, a Wilson Central High graduate, started racing at 16 at Highland Rim Speedway. He won the Fairgrounds Speedway Legends championship in 2014. He ran a limited schedule in 2015, and in 2016 was in title contention until he missed the final race due to a conflict with graduation ceremonies at Tennessee Tech University.
“My mom was determined to see me walk across that stage,” Young says with a chuckle. “That settled that.”
Racing has always been a family affair for the Youngs. Preston followed his dad Jeff -- a 27-year racing veteran – into the sport, as did his brother Randall. Both Jeff and Randall run an occasional race, but not a full-time schedule.
Mom Lisa is the family’s designated scorekeeper, racetrack chef, and cheerleader.
“Racing has always been part of our family,” Young says. “My dad helps me prepare the car, does all the body work, and is my crew chief during races. He makes all the calls. My dad and my mom have always been very supportive.”
“It’s not always easy watching the guys race,” says Lisa, who grew up a NASCAR fan. “But I know they love the sport and I feel they’re safe when they’re out there.”
Young had given some thought to moving up to a higher division prior to the 2016 season, but now says he will likely return to the Legends Series next year.
“I had so much fun this season that I’ll probably stay in Legends,” he says. “In addition to the Legends car we also have a SuperTruck in the shop, and I might run some races with it. We haven’t settled on our plans for next season, but I’d like another shot at the championship.”
Young is employed at Fastenal, one of his racing sponsors. Also lending sponsorship support are Quickcar Racing Products, Eagle1 Performance, Agent Automotive and Devo Motorsports.
“Coming off a strong finish like we did gives up a lot of confidence for next season,” he says. “Winning three of the last four races makes the off-season a lot more enjoyable.”
Correction: Earlier in the season two young fans posing with Preston in a racetrack photo were misidentified due to a typo. The young fans are Gabe and Tate Gray.
Rim running: Highland Rim Speedway cancelled its Oct. 28 races due to inclement weather. Updated information about possible rescheduling is posted on the track’s website. The Rim’s season finale is set for Nov. 11.
Fairgrounds plans: Tony Formosa Jr., who rescued Fairgrounds Speedway from demolition, has been awarded the lease again next year as the historical track celebrates its 61st season. Details about the schedule will be announced soon.