MALVERN, Ark. — Story and audio by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman — Brandon Young photo —
There are a lot of teenage racers out there who can flat drive a race car.
There are those within that group who also know how to make them fast.
Far fewer, however, are those who can flat driver a race car, know how to make them fast and also fund their own operation by the old fashioned means of hard work and a desire to do whatever it takes to get on the track.
Noah Burlison is an example of all of those characteristics. He got a go-kart when he was very young, but couldn’t race it for a while. He never let his dream die and has worked tirelessly from age 11 to make that dream a reality. He progressed from karts to 600cc micro sprints — all while working through his own power-washing pusiness to pay the bill — and is now a two-time track champiopn at I-30 Speedway in Little Rock, Ark.
When our Jacob Seelman caught up with him for this Five on Five session, Noah was enjoying the spoils of his career moment t0-date after winning the USCS Rockauto.com 600 Micro Sprint Series finale at Riverside International Speedway in West Memphis, Ark.
Noah is a young man who exemplifies what it truly means to work for what you want and to appreciate what others do for you. A full transcript and audio playback of the interview is below.
RCO: Noah, it’s great to talk with you and it’s been great to see your career start to blossom this year. First let’s talk about your season. You had a lot of ups and downs but it ended on a high note.
NB: Yeah. We started out the season with some motor issues. As the year progressed, we found the problems and addressed them. Halfway through the season, we had to replace a motor. That wasn’t very easy to do but we did it. We started picking up then and learning what the car liked and what I liked. At the end of the season we basically dominated all throughout the state. I couldn’t be any happier with the car and the team.
RCO: Talk about how you got started for those who may not be familiar with your story. It’s kind of unbelievable because you basically started funding yourself.
NB: I got a go-kart when I was five years old. My Dad had knee surgery then and I wasn’t going to be able to race. It turns out that the next year, the track shut down. I held onto that kart until I was 11 years old, tinkering with it all throughout the years. I knew it was what I wanted to do. My Dad told me that if we were going to do it, I’d have to find a way to do it myself because my parents could not afford to race back then. We were in hard times. I got my mind straight and started working. I think I worked for three or four months before I started to race.
RCO: Talk about your pressure washing business. I know that’s what primarily helps fund your racing.
NB: Yes. I started it and I work day and night for long hours at a time whenever I can, no questions asked, in order to be able to race. I have what looks like a simple little race car but I have a lot of money tied up in it and in the team in general so whenever I have the chance to make money — I jump right on it.
RCO: You got hooked up with Tim McKenzie end of last year into the start of this year and this (car) has been really dominant as the year’s gone on. Do you feel like that was the turning point for you?
NB: Oh, yes. It definitely brought a lot of confidence into the team and into me as a driver. Once we started to figure out what the car liked and what I liked, everything seemed to move much easier and we all knew what we had to do. It didn’t turn into a thing where we were all frustrated over one thing. It became less of a judgmental or tough deal and more of a fun deal thing.
RCO: What are your goals for next year and for the long term? I know eventually you’d like to move over to the East Coast?
NB: Yes Sir. I really want to try and upgrade our program in the Micros, and we’re also looking into 360 winged cars and USAC/POWRi Midgets right now. I’ve already talked with my parents and we’ve agreed that I am looking into attending NASCAR Technical Institute over there (in North Carolina) to try and further my engine performance career and more about race cars in general so maybe one day I could build my own car and my own motor and do good with that.
RCO: I know a lot of people go into helping you with this. Two of them are sitting across from you, your Dad and Tim McKenzie. Who else do you need to thank?
NB: I definitely need to thank McKenzie Motorsports, Competition Suspension, Factor One Racing, Paul Albers Performance, Engler Machine and Tool, Acme Brick, Gage Trucking, John’s Honda, Thornton Machine and I know I’m probably forgetting some people but I want everyone to know how much I appreciate everyone’s time and effort that they’ve put into me and this machine. It sure turned out great tonight!
Listen in to Race Chaser Online’s Five-in-Five session with Noah Burlison below:
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]
Email Race Chaser Online: [email protected]
Follow RCO on Twitter: @RaceChaserNews