By Wendy Nugent, Harvey County Now
NEWTON—Police probably have been concerned with drag-racing teens with every generation since the Industrial Revolution. However, even though there was a racecar parked in front of Newton High School (NHS) recently, no police were around. They didn’t seem much concerned.
That’s because an adult brought it there as part of the school’s experiential learning day. Kyle Wiens, a 2012 NHS grad, brought what he called a “dirt modified” car, which he also referred to as “dirt oval,” since they drive in circles.
“I’ve been racing it five or so years after the one I had before I had that,” Wiens said to one of the classes that went out in the cold to see the car and listen to Wiens.
He told students that to pay for his first car, he got a job at Dillons and worked all summer. Wiens also said they’ve had good sponsor support and that they go to Mel Hambleton Ford and spend $1,500 on tires alone as one of their racing expenses. He also has special racing shoes and the vehicle has specialty racing tires. There are special patterns they can put on various tires and the pattern depends on which tire it’s put on.
“We do about everything in our garage,” he said, adding they built the body and worked up the transmission, among other things.
The vehicle is equipped with a GoPro camera and they use it to learn what the driver did wrong.
“Kyle worked for two years to find his passion in life,” JAG (Jobs for American’s Graduates) teacher Dede Trumble said.
Wiens also talked about what kind of engine the vehicle has—a 602 sealed crate engine.
He also mentioned what would happen in the event of a vehicle fire.
“I always tell people if there’s a fire, I got about five seconds to get unhooked and get out of there,” he said, adding chemicals on his fire suit protect him from fire for that long.
Trumble told the class professionals race as their regular jobs, while people like Wiens have everyday jobs.
“Sometimes, you have a full-time job when you’re working toward your passion,” Trumble said.
For the longest time, Wiens said, he’s worked two to three jobs to finance his driving passion.
Racing for Wiens is a family affair, as he owns and operates Wiens Racing with his brother and father. In addition, Wiens met his wife while in college, and she knew nothing about racing but became hooked.
“That’s what it’s about—enjoying things with people you love,” Wiens said. “You gotta find your passion in life and you gotta live it. Don’t let life pass you by.”
Wiens’s wife, Ashton Wiens, chimed in.
“Find people to do it with,” she said, adding family isn’t always related by blood.
They find those people at the racetracks, where they compete at 81 Speedway and in Enid, Okla., as well as branching out to other areas on off-weekends.
Wiens got a junior dragster when he was 8 years old.
“Overall, I’ve raced for 20 years,” Wiens said. “I’ve dirt-track raced for 8 years.”