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Stock car racing is a Fitch family tradition

August 9, 2018

EDNA, Texas (AP) — Three-quarters of the Fitch household have now raced their cars at the Texana Raceway in Edna.

Jason Fitch, 41, of Inez, has been racing his stock car in area events for as long as his kids — Jaycee, 11, and Kylie, 16 — can remember, and now they’re following in his footsteps without skipping a beat.

“We’d always come out and watch the races, ever since they were little, and now this is Kylie’s first year where she has her own car,” her mother, Kelly Fitch, 37, told The Victoria Advocate . “She was raised around it and always wanted to do it.”

Kylie is relatively quiet in the moments leading up to the race, going back and forth between the family’s mobile car workshop and her blue, well-worn stock car. Eventually, she and Jason are called to a drivers’ meeting as race preparations start ramping up. Meanwhile, Kelly recounts some recent moments in the family’s racing history.

“For Christmas, we got Kylie a racing suit,” she said. Suits worn by the drivers are primarily for safety in case of a fire, but each driver can customize their suit to their liking, and some drivers have local sponsorships to display. Kylie’s suit, plain black with racing stripes, is like a clean slate. “We also got her a helmet, and that was how she found out that she could finally race.” Drivers are eligible to race in stock cars at Texana Raceway at age 15, but the Fitches wanted to make sure she was ready before getting behind the wheel of her own car.

While Jason and Kylie are racing in stock cars, Kylie’s younger brother, Jaycee, races in the junior go-kart series, which is for kids between 8 to 11 years old. Jaycee is trailed by a few other kids whom he calls his “pit crew,” and together they run around the grassy pit area while Jason and Kylie perform last-minute preparations and get suited up for their first warm-up laps.

As Kylie straps herself into her racing harness, she asks her mother to help her get her hair in a comfortable position. With most of her head now hidden by a white cloth face mask and driving helmet, all that is visible is Kylie’s eyes, which displays a mix of excitement and nerves.

“You ready?” shouts Kelly over the rumble of the engine. “Back her up this way.” The roar increases as Kylie drives to the track entrance with outward confidence.

After her first time officially on the track, Kylie described how she processed her race: “I was excited about the race, but I was so nervous my stomach was in knots. As soon as I drove onto the track and got into the groove, my nerves went away, and I was having fun. I had waited to drive a race car for years, and it was finally my time.”

She finished last in the race, but her experience is what mattered.

“It’s a small track,” Jason said, “but racing is important around here.”

Some families have football, fishing or hunting. The Fitches have stock cars.

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Information from: The Victoria Advocate, http://www.victoriaadvocate.com

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