Flat Rock, MI—September 27, 2018: With the 2018 Flat Rock Speedway season wrapped up less than a month ago, several teams are already making plans for next year. For 2018 ARCA Moran Chevrolet Late Model champion Jimmy Thiel, that means preparing his son, Austin, to take over the wheel of the #09 machine.

Jimmy made the announcement of his retirement from driving at Flat Rock’s final Late Model race in August, with the plan set to put 15 year-old Austin in the seat. And last Friday at Flat Rock, Austin took his first laps in a race car, the same #09 that his Dad just drove to a championship.

“Austin really surprised me,” said Jimmy, while his father, Rich, Austin’s grandfather and a former racer himself, watched intently during the test session. “He picked things up faster than we expected and it was a great day for us, very, very enjoyable.”

Car Owner Dusty Whitney’s 18 year-old son, Dylan, also spent time at the wheel of the Late Model in his very first time in a race car. “Austin and Dillon grew up together, and it was great to be able to have Austin get some practice in, too. Dylan also surprised us during his testing.”

While stepping out of the car was a very tough decision for Jimmy, watching his son get ready to begin his racing career and talking about the test brought a big smile to Thiel’s face. “Things take time, but this was the first step to take for Austin. We are very excited for next season. We can’t wait.”


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Ron Drager

This is a big part of what makes the weekly racing at Flat Rock Speedway so great—second generation, third generation racing families. We are very fortunate to have as many long term, committed racers in the ARCA Late Model, Figure-8, Street Stock and Enduro/Factory Stock divisions. Congratulations Jimmy and Rich Thiel on your championship and best of luck to Austin. Thankful for everyone who races with us at Flat Rock.