Student finds success on race track

Riley Kreisel races another one of his cars on a dirt track, all of his cars are made for dirt tracks.

Mykal Albers, Photography Editor

One student spends much of his time driving very fast on a dirt track.

  Sophomore Riley Kreisel is a Sprint, Midget, and Micro race car driver. He has been racing cars since he was seven.

  Kreisel travels every weekend from April through October and again for two weeks in January. He said that his future goals with racing are to compete with both USAC Sprint Series and Powri National Midget Series.

“I like the thrill of racing, the speed and having a different type of competition than most other kids,” Kreisel said.  

  He grew up around racing because of his family, and he understands the demands of racing and the pay off. His dad, Richard Kreisel, has raced for 25 years and raced 600 Micros, Midgets, and Sprint Cars.

  “It requires hard work and dedication, Riley has decided to make this commitment, and we look forward to his future in racing,” Riley’s mom, Brenda Kreisel said.

  Riley raced a Non-Winged Sprint Car for Smith’s Motorsports where he won rookie of the year in 2015 and also won a Show Me show in 2014 racing a Micro car. Rookie of the year is important because it goes to the highest finishing rookie each year and is only awarded to one person.

 “My favorite moments of each year is starting the new season. There is always a big shoot out (first race day where everyone races) for the start of the season,” he said.

  Kreisel has been inspired by his dad, but also the career of Jesse Hockett.

  “He was a great racer who came from the middle of nowhere,” Kreisel said.

  Hockett was a 2002 WHS graduate, who raced winged and non winged Sprint Cars. Hockett made his racing debut in 1998 and went on to become the O’Reilly Sprint Bandits TNT Midwest Swing Champion in 2006. Hockett passed away on May 26, 2010, while working on the electrical box on his trailer.

  With racing comes a lot of responsibilities, from anywhere to taking care of the car, to making sure the driver is safe when racing.  

  According to Brenda Kreisel, it is important to keep the drivers safe when racing, from wearing fire proof suits, gloves, socks, and shoes, to wearing helmets, hans devices (which keeps the driver’s head in place on impact, so whiplash doesn’t occur), to safety tethers. Racing is no different than any other sport, an athlete must address the dangers and then equip the driver and the car with the right safety equipment. Drivers know a lot more about safety than they did many years ago.

  “We enjoy watching him race and learn, and grow as a racer,” Brenda Kreisel said.