STAFFORD, Conn. (WTNH)–14-year old Jake Higginson made history at Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday evening, becoming the youngest driver ever to race at a NASCAR-sponsored event.
The Waterbury native turned 14, which is the minimum racing age at Stafford, on Friday, making this an extra-special birthday for him.
Jake took his spot in the back of the field in the Dare Stocks division, racing in a feature event that went off around 8 p.m. He got a few laps in, then blew his engine mid-race. Flames burst out the bottom of the car, and the was filled with smoke, but Jake got out OK.
“It was nice to be a part of history,” said Jake’s father Randy. “He made history in two ways. He’s also the first person ever to blow a 602 crate motor.”
Photo essay by John JP Coleman.
“I guess it felt good [to make history], but the engine is blown,” Jake said. He’s going to need up to $4,500 to fix it.
Higginson was late to the track on Friday because he had exams to take at school, so he couldn’t get in any practice laps before the race (as most racers do).
The blown engine means it will be a while before Jake will be able to race again.
“He’s going to have to sell a whole lot of t-shirts,” his father said.
Friday was a learning experience for Jake, but, after having battled two brain surgeries as a youngster and defying doctors’ expectations by racing again, something tells us he’s going to be just fine.