IRWINDALE, Calif. — Audio, story and photo by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman —
19-year-old Trevor Huddleston never pictured himself standing on the Charlotte Convention Center/NASCAR Hall of Fame stage accepting one trophy during the annual NASCAR Whelen All American Series awards banquet.
However, on the strength of a career season at the Irwindale Speedway, Huddleston not only accepted one award — he was honored with two.
The talented Agoura Hills, Calif. teenager, in his second full season at the wheel of a High Point Racing Late Model, translated prior experience and sheer speed into both the Irwindale Speedway track championship and the California state title that left him grinning from ear to ear following the trophy presentations on Friday night.
“I never thought that I’d be standing here tonight at the awards banquet,” admitted Huddleston, who also attends school part-time at California’s Moorpark Community College. “This season has just been truly amazing for us. It started with a win on opening night and it just kept coming. My crew and my whole family puts in 24 hours of work to my car; we never stop working on it.”
“With as much passion as we have for [racing], I knew there was a good chance we could do big things this year. I never would have dreamed this though, it’s truly awesome.”
Huddleston’s season record showed five wins, including one on Irwindale’s opening night, 16 top fives and 18 top 10s in 19 starts that placed him 11th in the NWAAS national standings and gave him an 88 point edge in the state title race over main rival Toni Marie McCray.
“We won the first race and the first 12 races of the season, we finished either first or second, so it was a huge amount of consistency that propelled us in the first few months. We had a few bad nights — we got hit by a lapped car while we were leading, so that was unfortunate, and we ran out of fuel late in one of them — but other than that, we just kept our heads straight, avoided the wrecks we could and managed to come out on top.”
“To finish 11th in the nation among Lee and all the other great drivers that were just ahead of us in the top 10, it’s absolutely amazing. They’re all veterans, and I learn from them each and every day. It feels cool to be up here — but I’m still speechless at just how cool this moment is.”
The sentiment was shared by Huddleston’s family and helped to further cement the Huddleston name in the NASCAR record books. Trevor’s father Tim is a three-time Late Model titlist at Irwindale and the High Point Racing team, owned by Tim Huddleston, has won track titles at the venerable half-mile with Rod Johnson Jr. and Brandon Davis and fielded cars for current NASCAR National Series drivers Dylan Lupton and Cole Custer.
Competing at the national level is a goal that Trevor hopes to attain in the near future, with a goal of breaking into the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West ranks at his home track next year.
“My goal is always to push all the way to the top,” the younger Huddleston smiled. “I think next year we’re going to have a shot to get up into the K&N [West] Series at my home track in Irwindale and get my name out there a little bit. If we can land a sponsor or two, that would be a huge help, but we’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing right now … roll the momentum and hopefully it will all work out.”
With that news, Huddleston confirmed that despite numerous rumors of closure throughout the year, that Irwindale Speedway would be returning for a full schedule of events on the oval track in 2016.
No driver can make their racing success happen alone, and Huddleston also thanked sponsors Justice Brothers, Performance NAPA Auto Care, Race Car Factory and Ron’s Rear Ends; as well as crew chief Grant Phillips, who has been with him since he started racing at 12 years old (late, by the driver’s standards) at Irwindale in Bandoleros; for helping to make his season one to remember.
“I can’t be any more happy,” Huddleston remarked. “I’m already so looking forward to next year.”
Listen in as Race Chaser Online caught up with Huddleston following the 2015 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards Banquet:
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network. Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 21-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for both the United Sprint Car Series and the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
Email Jacob at: [email protected]
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