Scotts Valley Mini Cup racer Bryce Napier received the championship trophy Monday, Nov. 28, for winning the 2011 Stockton 99 Mini Cup championships at the Stockton 99 Speedway on Sept. 11.
Napier accepted the trophy at the Jackson Rancheria hotel in Jackson.
The 12-year-old – who attends Scotts Valley Middle School – found himself with a two-point lead over Lodi’s Jackson Ezell going into the final race of the season.
After 19 grueling races held across the state, Napier took wrapped up his championship by winning the Stockton competition.
The mini cup series is run in a scaled-down version of a Nascar race car. The cars boast a mere 18 horsepower, and the driver sits in the center of the car, which Napier says makes the walls a lot harder to feel.
“You are pretty much driving blind out there,” Napier said. “I rely on my dad in the booth to let me know where everyone is over the radio.”
Napier ran two different circuits at the beginning of the season, both the quarter-midgets and the mini-cup series races. After five years of racing, he has accumulated a number of accolades in both categories, and recently signed with a new sponsor, the racing company Nitro Fish, owned by Kenny Koretsky.
“Nitro Fish has been a huge help,” said Laurie Napier, the young racer’s mother. “There is very little money in racing these ages, but we have been very blessed by Kenny Koretsky, who has really pulled out all the stops to get us some of the stuff we have needed.”
And, after five years of racing, Napier is reeling in his first paychecks.
“I wasn’t allowed to make any money racing until I got to the mini cup series,” Napier said. “One of the fun things about mini cup is that I got $25 for each race I won and $50 for winning the final race.”
Napier must spend one more year in the mini cup series before moving up to the next series, which features vehicles that are two-thirds the size of Nascar race cars.