When it comes to racing in the Deep South, money can be tight and motivation can easily dwindle down, but Skinner gets his inspiration much closer to home.
“If it wasn’t for my wife, I wouldn’t be racing,” Skinner said of his wife, Kristy. “She does without a lot for me to race. My kids absolutely love it. I have one boy (Mason) who is eaten plum up with it. He was fascinated with wrenches and racing before he could even walk.”
“I bought him a go kart setup not too long ago, he keeps wanting to go out and look at the gear. Me and a good friend are going to cut him a little track in our backyard so he can get familiarized with the gas and brake and handles before they go out and compete.”
Not only does Skinner draw inspiration from his family, he also draws both drive and instinct from a legendary sprint car pilot: the late Clarence ‘Hooker’ Hood.
“Hooker Hood is a sprint car legend, and I got to race with him when I first started,” recalled Skinner. “He was just one of those cool guys you just loved to hang around. Me and his daughters grew up together, we used to go to Liberty Land or go to the house and ride dirt bikes. Everyone knew and loved him.”
Anyone who has watched him race can tell that Skinner’s car is potent wherever it contends.
But though he was a fierce competitor when it came to points and championships early in his career, now, his main focus is winning races whenever he can make it to the race track.
“We haven’t planned on any major point runs for a few years; it’s just been hit and miss,” Skinner said. “I just go wherever is racing for money.”
Anyone who knows racing knows that a strong team consists of more than just the driver.
“Velma and Ray help me out a lot still,” Skinner said of his aunt and uncle. “Ray actually got me one of my biggest sponsors helping me out right now. When Ray broke his neck and couldn’t race, he offered to swap the sponsorship over to me, and it helps out a lot.”
Also supporting Skinner’s racing endeavors are long-time sponsors Gant Concrete & Plumbing, A&B Equipment, Stinson Industrial, Final Touch Auto Collision Centers, Big Earl Farms, B&D Towing, Robert Thorne Landscaping and DHR Suspension.
But it all comes back to family for Skinner, in the end.
“At the end of the day, they’re behind me, driving me and keeping me going. I couldn’t do any of this without them.”
About the Writer
Johnny Blaine Smith is a photojournalist from Wynne, Arkansas whose love of photography is only matched by his love of dirt track racing.
A 16-year-old student at Wynne High School, Smith frequently travels to dirt track races around the Mid-South region of the United States, and has shot photos at AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car Series, Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour, World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series and other local events over the past year.
Smith also operates the highly-acclaimed Sprint Cars of Instagram page, with a following of more than 12,000 entering the 2018 racing season.
Email Johnny at: [email protected]
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