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Driven from within

Two young sons and a dash of adrenaline fuel Matt Beckett

Drew Turner
Matt Beckett poses next to his black, silver and gray No. 14 modifieds car Thursday afternoon. Beckett has the names of his two sons, Hunter and Holden, painted in the eyes of the growling face on both the driver's and passenger's side of the car.
Drew Turner

If you go

Modified Madness, the sixth in a 10-race series at Hayden Speedway, is Saturday.

Gates open at 3 p.m. and racing begins at 6:30.

Prizes include $2,500 to be awarded to the winner if more than 20 cars, and $2,000 if less than 20 cars.

The event is sponsored by T&H Parts and NAPA Auto Parts.

Adults 13 and older $7, children 7 to 12 $3 and ages 6 and younger free.

— Two things fuel and motivate Matt Beckett at the Hayden Speedway – adrenaline and his children.

The Craig native and Sign Source owner raced three Street Stock races prior to 2006 and has been a modifieds driver ever since.

“The adrenaline rush is awesome,” Beckett said. “I thought I had one (a rush) in Street Stock and thought ‘Oh yeah – these guys are going fast,’ and then I tried modifieds. Street Stocks are made to be driven on the street, and modifieds are just built to race. Just a bunch of left turns.”

Beckett drives a black, silver and gray No. 14 car with an evil looking face on both the driver’s and passenger’s side, and it has the names of his two sons painted in the eyes.

Two years ago, he used their respective ages, Holden, 1, and Hunter, 4, to make car No. 14.

Beckett’s wife Stephanie watches the two boys while their dad spends hours prepping his racecar. But before the race begins, the three hang out in the pit for a few minutes during Saturday night’s competition.

“I think the kids like to go out there,” Stephanie said. “They get hot dogs, nachos and all that junk food. And they love to play in the mud.”

Matt said he has learned a lot about rebuilding engines in his two years as a racer, and spends hours getting his car ready.

“I spend about 12 hours preparing for a race now,” he said. “In the past, I’ve spent up to 40 hours, but my wife told me no more all-nighters.”

Last year, in preparation for the last modifieds race of the season, he relied on caffeine and energy drinks to help rebuild an engine – and learned a lesson.

“I fell asleep in the (Hayden Speedway) staging area,” Beckett said. “I went out there and hit anything that wasn’t nailed down. I got a black flag, which basically means you’ve been bad. The engine went well, but I wasn’t in any shape to be racing.”

Stephanie brought an end to his sleep deprivation.

“I told him sleep is good,” she laughed. “He won’t tell me how much money he spends on his car, but I know it’s a lot of time. I know because the boys ask where their dad is, but it’s not too many months of the year.”

Drew Turner can be reached at 824-7031, ext 211, or aturner@craigdailypress.com


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