It didn’t take much to get Kyle Offill into auto racing. Two years ago, his parents, Kim and Keith Offill, took him to the Tri-Valley Quarter Midget Association’s track in Livermore and put him behind the wheel of a car for 10 laps.
“He got out and had a big smile on his face and said, ‘I want to race!’” Keith said.
Kyle’s parents were ready to let him pursue his dream. Keith’s father, Weldon Offill, has sponsored sprint cars through his construction company, Country Builders, since 1988. Keith worked on teams that won championship races in Washington and California in 2000.
“One day, we hopefully will have the next generation of drivers for Country Builders,” he said.
To get Kyle started, Keith called up John Golobic of Fremont. Golobic’s company, GT American Race Cars, builds the quarter midget sprint cars popular at the Tri-Valley association’s track and at the American Quarter Midgets Association track in Rancho Cordova.
Kyle quickly proved he was up to the challenge. In his first race, he started at the back of the pack and worked his way up to a second-place finish.
Last year, Kyle won his race in the junior novice division of the Western Grands in Madera, and he came in second in points in the junior Honda division at the Pacific Coast Indoor Championships in Vallejo in February.
He will be back on the track today for the 2008 Western Grands in Rancho Cordova, which will be a series of races running through July 26.
“We’re going there to hopefully capture a grand championship in the junior Honda and junior stock,” Keith said, referring to the two types of cars his son races.
Kyle is humble about his achievements.
“I like winning races,” is all he had to say about his motivation on the track. His mother, Kim, said that the sport works well for a shy and reserved youth.
“Most kids in his class don’t know he races, because he doesn’t say anything about it,” she said.
Off the track, the boys who race against each other are all friends and do the things 8-year-olds enjoy, like play baseball or video games.
“You’d never know these kids just left a race track,” she said.