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Former Mendota youth living a racing dream

Posted: Tuesday, Jan 8th, 2013

Garrett Rider instructing at the Richard Petty Driving Experience at Kansas Speedway. (Photo contributed)

TULSA - Eighteen-year-old Garrett Rider has been preparing and yearning nearly his whole life for the opportunity he's about to have, racing the 2013 Tulsa Chili Bowl Midget Nationals. Slated as one of the most prestigious and toughest dirt races in the world, the Chili Bowl is an oval track racer's career highlight featuring 262 racing stars from nearly every form of motor racing.

"I still can't believe I'll be racing with NASCAR Champion Tony Stewart on my qualifying night! For us to just finally make this race is a dream of ours. Since we started Quarter Midgets when I was 8, the Chili Bowl was at the top of our list of goals for me," stated Rider.

His racing resume includes a National Quarter Midget Dirt title, several Micro Sprint wins, including an A-main appearance at the Tulsa Shootout, and a rookie debut at Concord, N.C., Eastern Pavement Focus Midget Series for the Richard Petty Driving Experience.

Rider, the son of Scott and Cathy Rider of Lawson, Mo., parlayed his racing talents into a new opportunity as an instructor at the Petty Experience and has traveled throughout the United States with the Stock Car ride/drive program primarily handling classroom instruction for driving students.

"I really like the Petty deal. I've been to several speedways from New Hampshire to California, Michigan to Atlanta. Several times we work with the safety teams at the tracks and make several speed runs in the cars. Getting paid to drive a race car, it doesn't get much better for me," said Rider. "I hope the diverse types of cars I've ran lately will help me get up to speed quickly this week in Tulsa."

Starting his racing career in the Mendota area when he was 8, his family later relocated to take advantage of a racing opportunity after his National Championship in 2005. "We still get tons of support from family and friends in the Mendota area. Several businesses still support us and we'll have some of them on our car for Tulsa to show our appreciation for all these years they've helped us out," explained Rider.

The Chili Bowl begins with qualifying nights Tuesday through Friday, with the final Saturday night. You can keep up with Garrett's happenings on his Facebook page, www.facebook.com/garrettrider or on Twitter @gride43.

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