OXFORD – Racing is very much a family affair for the Foglemans of Durham, N.C.
Kent Fogleman, 71, spent 35 years on various racing tours in the South
His son, Jay, and his 13-year-old grandson, Tate, will both try to qualify Sunday for a spot on the 42-car starting grid in the TD Bank 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway.
If he gets into the 250, which can pay as much as $50,000 to the winner, Tate will become the youngest driver in the race’s 40-year history.
“My dad and I started racing together,” Jay Fogleman said. “Now he’s watching Tate do it, and it’s pretty unique to have three generations who have raced be here at the 250.”
Kent and Jay started driving race cars when they were in their early teens, but Tate started much earlier.
“I started racing when I was 5,” he said. “I started racing quarter midgets, and then I ran Bandoleros and Legends. When I was 12, I ran the Pro Late Models.”
After winning three Late Model races last summer, Tate, who will enter the eighth grade in the fall, moved up to race Super Late Models on the PASS South tour.
“Tate is getting better every time out,” said OPS owner Tommy Mayberry, who also is president of the PASS tours. “Oxford is obviously a finesse track, but he’s adapted everywhere he’s been, so he’ll probably do all right.”
Early in Friday’s practice session, the youngster picked up on the difference between piloting a car around the banked ovals prevalent in the South and negotiating the relatively flat surface at the Maine speedway.
“It’s a little difficult to get around, but I’ve kind of got the hang of it now,” he said after his third time out on the track. “There’s a little bit more banking with the tracks in the South. We have walls around the corners and the straightaways. Here you have to wheel it the whole time around because the track is so round.”
His father, the defending PASS national champion, also took his first trips around the track on Friday. He’s raced at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough, so he’s had some experience on a flat track and passed what he knows on to his son.
“It’s nice now that Tate is getting a grasp of things in a race car that he can come over and ask questions and I can talk to him and actually go see him go do it on the racetrack,” said Jay.
Like a lot of boys his age, Tate likes to play baseball and basketball and hunt and fish, but he’s all business at the track.
“We’re working on tightening the car up right now,” he said, explaining what his team was trying accomplish in Friday’s practice sessions. “It’s a little bit loose on the stickers, and we’re tightening the car so we can get a feel for the track.”
SAM SESSIONS, a veteran driver from South Paris, has come out of retirement to try to qualify a car sponsored by School Administrative District 54. “This is a brand new car built as a school project by students from Oxford Hills Middle School,” he said.
Seventh- and eighth-graders spent two years working on the car as part of Aspire Higher, an alternative education program.
“The car was built at Crazy Horse Racing (in South Paris),” Sessions said. “The kids would come to the shop and work on it, and they did the marketing and figured out the financing. It’s kind of cool what they did.”
Sessions continued to test the car, which sports the white and green colors of Oxford Hills, during Friday’s practice session.
“We’ve been here once before to shake it down, and we took it back to the shop and made some adjustments, he said. “This will be the first time we’ve gotten out since then.”
SPENCER DAVIS, 14, from Dawsonville, Ga., made the longest trip among those who’ll try to qualify.
“It was a 22-hour haul,” said Davis, who is in his second full season racing Super Late Models on the PASS South tour.
FLAGMAN TOMMY HUSTON of Monroe, Ga., made the trip north to wield the flags for the 250. He works all of the PASS South races. … Martin Latullippe and his crew had to install a new engine before hauling his car from Vallee Junction, Quebec. “This is the third time this year we’ve come to Oxford,” he said. “We came last week and we broke the engine. We put the new engine in last night, so we didn’t get much sleep.”
Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: