January 5, 2014 — Audio and story by Jacob Seelman for Speed77 Radio and Race Chaser Online — Cover photo courtesy of Saxton Racing — LAS VEGAS, NV — Many times in racing, the word silver equals falling short.
However, for 15-year-old Peyton Saxton, silver represents a huge step in the right direction and a vastly successful season despite coming up one position shy of claiming the 2013 US Legends Young Lions national championship.
Saxton, out of Las Vegas, Nevada, has looked to spark his career in largely the same manner as two NASCAR greats did in his hometown (Kurt and Kyle Busch, anyone?), racing this season full-time in Legends cars at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The young man who works largely on his own cars and setups ran in an astounding 63 races this season between multiple tracks including the Bullring, Texas Motor Speedway, Irwindale Speedway, Kern County Raceway Park and Meridian Speedway.
“We had a busy year going for the title, but it was a ton of fun,” Saxton said in a recent interview with Race Chaser Online. “The traveling actually helped me a lot in adapting to different race tracks; I was even a little surprised at how much success we had.”
That success made him a hometown favorite in 2013 and a West Coast standout. Saxton’s full-time schedule at the Bullring at Las Vegas netted him the 2013 track championship in the Young Lions division by 18 points over track rival Chris Trickle.
But the success did not stop there. In all, the Sin City native put together a remarkable record of 27 wins, 47 top fives and 62 top ten finishes over his 63 race schedule, including wins at the Legends Road Course World Finals at Las Vegas and the Battle of the Big Top at Texas, en route to both the asphalt and road course Nevada state championships.
Saxton finished second in the national points race to Charlotte, NC driver William Byron by 12 points in the final tally, but looks on his season successes before he will dwell on what might have been.
“We had a great season. Yeah, we set our goal to win the national title, and we came up one spot short, but I’m not ashamed of the hard work we put in this season. We finished second in a group of some of the best young drivers in the country. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished and I think we’ve got a lot of momentum going for 2014.”
Those 2014 plans will include a move up to the Pro class in the Legends car and an increase in travel miles for the young talent, as he looks to spend a large portion of the summer months competing on the East Coast and singles out tracks such as Concord Speedway, Langley Speedway, and the Mecca of Motorsports, Charlotte Motor Speedway, as venues he wants to target for the upcoming season.
“You look at all the guys on the East Coast this year that finished up top in the standings; (William) Byron, (Payton) Ryan, (Connor) Pyle, (Ryan) Mackintosh, especially Daniel Hemric, that field out east is the most competitive in the country. They say to be the best, you have to beat the best, and I want to have that opportunity for this year.”
Saxton opened his 2014 campaign with a win on Saturday afternoon at Havasu 95 Speedway in Arizona to open his Pro division venture. He will also look to begin testing in Pro and Super Late Models as the season rolls on in anticipation of a move to the next level of competition as early as 2015, and says he’s excited about the road ahead.
“It’s already been everything I anticipated and more. I can’t wait to see how far we can take it as we go forward.”
Listen in as we sat down for a recent interview with Peyton Saxton regarding his 2013 successes and hopes for 2014: