Kevin Root watches as his son, Nicholas, follows in his racing footsteps of dirt Modified racing
Kevin Root doesn’t have to search far for opportunities to spend time with his 15-year-old son Nicholas.
While Kevin is in the garage working on his Big Block Modified, Nicholas is a step away wrenching on his own Sportsman.
Kevin rose through the dirt Modified ranks, earning back-to-back DIRTcar Sportsman titles in 2018 and 2019, before making the jump to Big Block Modifieds. Now, he’s helping his son do the same.
The father-son duo, of Geneva, NY, compete weekly at Land of Legends Raceway, while also dappling in Series events. Kevin – a former full-time Super DIRTcar Series competitor – has made three starts with the premier Big Block Modified series this year and Nicholas has competed with the DIRTcar Sportsman Series. Both will also compete at Super DIRT Week 51 (Oct. 2-8).
Nicholas started his career in go-karts about five years ago, but it didn’t last long. The younger Root ultimately preferred to work on the cars, rather than drive them. However, that changed in 2021.
When Kevin brought his Sportsman to Paradise Speedway in Geneva, NY – down the road from their house – for practice laps, the younger Root asked if he could give it a try.
“Nicholas asked to jump in it and once he jumped in it, that was the end of it,” Kevin said. “He wanted to race.”
It almost felt like second nature to the high schooler.
“I’ve always been around it and I liked watching,” Nicholas said. “I didn’t really know how to drive a car. But after I got in it, I was feeling pretty confident, and I really wanted to do it. My father gave me the opportunity and put me in the car.”
Kevin decided to try his hand in a Big Block Modified on the Super DIRTcar Series tour in 2022, leaving his Sportsman open for use. Nicholas took the challenge to pilot his dad’s car and ran his first full season at Land of Legends Raceway the same season, finishing 11th in points.
This season, he showed significant improvement, finishing fourth in track points with one win, four top fives and 10 top 10s in 14 starts. He also scored a win at Brewerton Speedway.
“We definitely did good,” Nicholas said. “We got our first win (at Land of Legends), and another one at Brewerton. We had one DNF so that didn’t really help us in points, but we stayed in the top-five and that was our main goal this year.”
The success does not come without taking on a relentless schedule. Kevin works full-time as the manager of Scott Jeffrey’s Performance Store, and his son goes to school during the day followed by his part-time job after school. The two end their day by spending long nights in their shop, working on their respective vehicles.
“It’s long and tiring,” Kevin said. “We’re exhausted but we keep going and we don’t give up…We find a way to get everything done and get it done the right way. We go the extra mile if we have to. We’ll deal with being tired and get some sleep when we can.”
The father-son tandem is hoping their long nights in the shop will pay off when they make their trip north to Oswego Speedway for Super DIRT Week 51. Kevin will be back behind the wheel of his #34 Big Block, looking to make the Billy Whittaker Cars 200 for the third straight year. Nicholas qualified for the Chevrolet Performance 75 in his first attempt last year and finished 17th.
“Our goals, first of all, is to get in the shows,” Kevin said. “We would love to get a top 10 in the Big Block. As far as [Nicholas], I think he can win Oswego. With his capability, and the car, and him as a driver, I think he could win. My expectations for him are high. Not to put anything on his shoulders, but I think he knows that he has a good enough car that he could go out and win some races.”
For tickets to Super DIRT Week 51 at Oswego Speedway, CLICK HERE.
If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch all the action live on DIRTVision.