Tecumseh High School student named Rookie of the Year at Ohio raceway

Anthony Alaniz

At 16, many are just on the cusp of getting their driver’s license. For Mathew Chapman, a 16-year-old Tecumseh High School student, driving is a bit more than parallel parking. Last month, Chapman was named Rookie of the Year at Oakshade Raceway in Wauseon, Ohio while also winning the UMP Sportsman Championship by just 10 points at the track. “I had a feeling of accomplishment because at the beginning of the year, my goal was to be named Rookie of the Year in the Sportsman division,” Chapman said. “The points championship was just icing on the cake.” The race took place September at the track, where Rich Ruff started on the pole of the Season Championship UMP Sportsman feature. Chapman, took the lead after several laps, maintaining his advantage through multiple caution periods before finally picking up his sixth feature win of the season. Chapman’s win and Rookie of the Year win has only happened two other times during the raceway’s 40-year history. Chapman acquired his drive for racing from his father. “My dad raced for several years when I was younger, and because of that, I gained a passion for it,” Chapman said. “He sold his car when I was six years old and bought me my first go-kart. Since that time, I have raced go-karts, mini-sprints, a bomber and a sportsman.” Being a young driver, Chapman says his biggest hurdle is his lack of experience, which proves even more challenging when he travels to new tracks to race. “I have less seat time than the majority of people I race against, which gives them an advantage,” Chapman added. Going forward, Chapman said he will be racing late models next year for Robertson Motorsports, traveling to more tracks in other states. “Racing is a lot of fun, but it can be expensive. But by having good sponsors that help me out, they make it easier on my parents,” Chapman said. “I would like to thank them all for their support.” His sponsors are CCR, All Wood Log Splitters, Radant’s Electric LLC, Freshcorn Building, Rich’s Rod & Custom, Sal’s Italian Restaurant and Dave Knapp Ford. For those looking to get into racing, Chapman says to listen to competitors and take their advice, especially if they’ve been racing for awhile. “You can learn a lot by listening and watching,” Chapman said. “Shoot for the stars and expect to face a lot of ups and downs. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t win or if you crash your car — it is all part of learning and making you a better racer.” - See more at: http://tecumsehherald.com/content/tecumseh-high-school-student-named-roo...


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