Nine-year-old Gary Isacson Jr.

Young racers place first in age categories

Sooke residents, Gary Isacson Jr., 9, and sister Jackie, 7, are Skagit Midget Quarter racing champions

Two Sooke youngsters claimed championship titles in their respective classes at the Skagit  Quarter Midget Racing series in Washington on Sept. 1.

Gary Isacson Jr., 9, won the Seniors 120 championship trophy, with a six point lead going into the final race. The young racer earned second place in the final event to take home the top standing in his class.

Meanwhile, younger sister, Jackie, 7, won the Juniors 120 championship trophy with an impressive 18 point lead heading into the final race.

“She didn’t even have to run in it, she did really good this year,” said father, Gary Isacson. “She’s kind of a natural, they’re all saying.”

There were 11 separate racing events in total, with about eight kids competing per class. The small, novelty sized quarter midget cars ran on a quarter of a mile clay track.

For both kids, it was their first year racing in each class. Due to Jackie’s outstanding performance, she will be bumped up into the Seniors 120 class.

“She dominated her class in her first year, so they’ll pretty much make us move up,” Gary Sr. said.

When asked what they liked most about racing, the brother and sister duo, who both started race car driving at the young age of five, said, “Going fast.”

The kids also play in the Sooke Minor Hockey league in rep teams — Jackie with the Novice 3 team, and Gary Jr. with the Atom development team.

“They’re just both really competitive,” said Gary Sr., adding a majority of that stems from the racing.

Their need for speed and gift for racing seems to have been passed down from their father, who raced sprint cars on both pavement and dirt tracks for over 20 years.

The sport, which is a family activity in the Isacson household, is also considered a privilege, as the kids have to earn good grades in order to race — a restriction enforced by dad.

“That’s in their heads — if they don’t do good in school, they don’t get to race.”

Clearly passionate about their craft, both children said they hope to continue racing into the future, with Jackie holding the aspiration to become a World of Outlaws driver — a multi-million dollar sprint car racing team.