Concord, NC — He’s young. He’s fast. And he’s getting faster.
The future is indeed bright for Tim Ward, a 14-year-old driving talent from Mesa , Ariz. , who won the 2008 Barnett Harley DIRTcar Modified Series Total Seal Rookie of the Year Award.
A fresh-faced second-generation racer who made his open-wheel Modified debut late in the 2007 campaign at the age of 13, Ward has turned plenty of heads in his first full season of competition in one of the nation’s most popular and competitive divisions. His 2008 schedule shows more than 50 starts at tracks throughout the Southwest, including the weekly Barnett Harley DIRTcar Modified events at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix , Ariz. , and Canyon Speedway Park in Peoria , Ariz.
“This whole year was a learning experience for me,” said Ward, whose racing career began in go-karts at the age of five and advanced to Mini-Sprints in 2006. “I needed to get lap time and I got a lot of it.
“I feel like we really progressed during the season. I started out just wanting to get top-10s, but I’m getting more top-fives now. If we can keep getting top-fives, hopefully that first win will come.”
Ward has come close to breaking into Victory Lane this season with his blue-and-yellow No. 4TW Modified, finishing as high as second at Canyon and third at Manzanita. He’s also gained a healthy dose of life racing on the road by following the Barnett Harley DIRTcar Modified Touring Series, which numbered six events in 2008 at the major Barnett Harley DIRTcar Modified weekly tracks in Arizona , New Mexico and West Texas .
The teenager finished 11th in the Barnett Harley DIRTcar Modified Touring Series points standings, clinching the Total Seal Rookie of the Year Award in his favor. His accomplishment will earn him $250 and a set of gapless piston rings from Total Seal, a Phoenix-based company that is operated by Southwest DIRTcar Late Model Series regular Joey Moriarty.
Ward also captured Barnett Harley DIRTcar Modified Rookie of the Year honors at Manzanita and Canyon. In addition, he finished fourth in the UMP DIRTcar Racing Wild West Region and Arizona/New Mexico/West Texas State points standings.
A ninth-grader at Kino Junior High in Mesa , Ariz. , Ward credits his parents and sponsors for making his first season of DIRTcar Modified racing a successful one. His father Rick, who ended his own 25-year racing career in 2005, plays an especially large role in Tim’s dirt-track efforts.
“My dad’s been teaching me a lot,” said Ward, who drives a car built by Iowa ’s Victory Chassis. “He knows so much from all the years he raced and I’m just trying to take it all in. He isn’t pressuring me to win because he said this is a learning year.”
Ward still has more racing ahead of him before the 2008 season comes to a close, including the Barnett Harley DIRTcar Modified Nationals on Nov. 13-15 at Manzanita Speedway. Then he can begin looking down the road at a future that he hopes will revolve around racing for a long time to come.
“My goal is to race for a living,” said Ward. “If I had a chance to race a Late Model (fulltime) someday, I’d love it.”
For more information on the Barnett Harley DIRTcar Modified Series, visit www.barnettmods.com.
Additional info on all of the series, sanctioning and member tracks of DIRTcar Racing is available at www.DIRTcar.com.