Instead of making him discouraged, it made him determined.
Wright, a Wilson Central High junior, bounced back to capture not only the Rim’s championship in last week’s season finale, he also won the Legends Series title at Nashville’s historic Fairgrounds Speedway.
Nine wins in 13 races at the Rim and six top-three finishes in eight races at the Fairgrounds gave Wright the Tennessee State Legends championship as well.
“It’s an honor, for sure,” says Wright, who finished 41th in the National Legends Series standings among 400 registered drivers.
“This is something I’ve worked hard for, and it was a lot of fun to see it all come together.”
Wright’s main goal this season was the Highland Rim championship, “because that’s the one I’ve been chasing the longest.”
Capturing the Fairgrounds title was extra gravy, and the state championship was sweet icing on the season.
Wright, who won Rookie of the Year in 2015, attributes this season’s success to a couple of factors:
“I’ve got more experience as a driver, plus we had better luck this year than we did last year. Last year we lost some races on plain bad luck. This year our luck turned around. They say that racing luck runs in cycles, and I guess we were due for ours to turn around this season.”
Wright credits his dad Dwayne for much of his success. Dwayne is a retired racer who helps prepare his son’s cars and provides trackside coaching.
“My dad is a great coach,” Wright says. “He has taught me a lot about driving and setting up cars. We do all the work on our cars ourselves.”
Wright says his mother Julie also is an enthusiastic supporter of his racing efforts. The family owns and operates Premier Sign & Trophy in Gladeville, where their race shop is located.
“Without the support of my mom and dad I couldn’t have accomplished anything,” he says. Wright also gives an appreciative nod to his Tennessee 811 sponsor.
With three championships in the bag this season, Wright can’t wait to get started again next year. In addition to defending his title at the Rim, and possibly at the Fairgrounds, he hopes to run February’s Winter Nationals Legends Series in Florida.
As if that’s not enough on his plate, he also would like to turn some laps in a Late Model car.
“I’ve always enjoyed racing,” Wright says. “I’d like to do it professionally if I got an opportunity. Realistically, I know those rides are rare and hard to come by, and require a lot of financial backing. But it doesn’t hurt to dream a little. Sometimes dreams come true.”
Racing book: Acclaimed North Carolina motorsports writer and master story-teller Monte Dutton has written six novels and recently published his first one about stock car racing titled, “Lightning in a Bottle.”
That book, and other titles by Dutton, are available through Amazon.