Getting Up To Speed With…A.J. Harbaugh
By Ben Deatherage
(Photo Courtesy of Fast Four Media)
Despite being only ten years old the McKenzie Bridge pilot A.J. Harbaugh has collected six driving championships in five years at five different racing facilities. The fourth grade student has bested the competition at Albany Motorsports Park, Cottage Grove Speedway, Roseburg’s River Arena Speedway, Salem Indoor Speedway, and Willamette Speedway in Lebanon. Of those six championships three have been in the Pee Wee ranks, two in the Box Stock class, and one in 250cc division.
Harbaugh is now in the 250cc Kage Kart classification fulltime and will primarily race at the Cottage Grove Speedway in 2014. This youngster has big dreams which include competing on the ¼-mile clay oval in a Sprint Car in a few years and even hopes to race NASCAR one day. Now let’s get up to speed with A.J. Harbaugh.
Driver: A.J. Harbaugh
Home Track: Cottage Grove Speedway
Hometown: McKenzie Bridge, Oregon
Years Racing: 5
Classification: 250cc Kage Kart
Team: Harbaugh Racing
Chassis: Ryan Foster Chassis
Sponsors: RFC Chassis, Rocket Designs, Red Line Racing, Double R Powdercoating
Special Thanks: Lois Carlson (Grandma)
BD: A.J. you have come a long ways since day one in racing. How much fun have you had?
AH: I’ve had quite a bit of fun racing. I’ve met more in friends in racing than anywhere else.
BD: How did you get started in Kage Karts?
AH: My mom and dad took me to a race and I thought it was really cool and afterwards I told them that I really wanted to race.
BD: Is there a reason you race the #18H?
AH: At the time my older brother was eighteen years old and I really looked up to him so that’s why I decided to choose that number.
BD: Your race team travels a lot. What are some of you favorite places to race outside of Cottage Grove and Willamette Speedways?
AH: I really like River Arena in Roseburg, Red Bluff in California, and Big Sky Kartway in Montana.
BD: Who are some of your racing heroes or people you look up to?
AH: My favorite local driver is Roger Crockett and my favorite NASCAR driver is Dale Earnhardt Jr.
BD: Would you eventually like to be racing a Sprint Car or an IMCA Modified when you grow up?
AH: I want to get into a Sprint Car when I’m fourteen and hopefully go on to something like NASCAR. If NASCAR doesn’t work out I’d like to race with the World of Outlaws or ASCS.
Cottage Grove Speedway’s Kart season kicks off May 9th and will feature the future talent of not only the state of Oregon but the entire Pacific Northwest region. For the latest news regarding everything CGS log on to www.cottagegrovespeedway.com.