Fast Track to Fame has been one wild ride, to say the least. We received nearly 1,000 applications from extremely talented drivers from all over the country and from all types of racing. But the votes have been cast, and the four finalists are in.
Hailing from Charlotte, N.C., Wyatt Alexander is one of our four finalists. As a third generation mechanic and race car driver, he’s no newbie. On top of his racing career, Wyatt is a full-time student at UNC Charlotte. Keep reading to learn more about Wyatt and decide if he gets your vote.
If you win Fast Track to Fame, what are your plans for the prize?
I want to put a couple other big races on our schedule to get my name out there. It’s pretty simple: just do more racing.
Do you have any role models or people who have inspired you along the way? How have they helped you in your career?
I’ve had a lot both on a personal and professional level. My dad and my grandfather are the reason I’ve made it this far. They mean the world to me. On the professional level, Andy Saunders has been a huge role model and has helped me along the way. A lot of my really big role models actually come from the short track.
What was your first thought after finding out you were a Fast Track to Fame finalist?
I was very surprised. My dad is the one who found the competition online. I posted about it a few times on my social media accounts, but with so many entrants, I didn’t know what my chances were. So I was shocked and very thankful. When I found out that I was being considered as a finalist, I didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t tell my mom, my dad, or my girlfriend. Then right after I found out I was one of the four finalists, I called my dad immediately and told him. He was very, very happy. He does a lot for me and sacrifices a lot for me, so he was probably more excited than even I was.
When you’re not on the track how are you spending your time?
I’m pretty busy. Right now I’m studying mechanical engineering at UNC Charlotte. I work part-time for two different race teams, and trying to do my own driving takes up a lot of time. I’m living the dream, but I’m constantly on the go.
How do you juggle being a full-time student and your racing career?
It’s very difficult. This spring I’ve gotten a real taste of it. It’s not going to get any easier, and my studies are important to me. It’s tough because I’m young. I’m only 18. I need to be racing as much as I can and be around the sport if I want to make it, but I have to keep telling myself that my education is number one. In four years, racing is still going to be there. It’s a balance of doing anything I can to be the next young gun, but also knowing that I need to focus on school because that’s my best shot.
How has being an experienced mechanic helped you in your racing career?
My grandfather opened up a shop in the early 90s, and my dad took it over in the early 2000s. So I would do basic things like oil changes when I was younger. And it’s helped a lot. Financial support is one of the biggest struggles in getting to the next level, so with the economy rising and falling, there aren’t a lot of companies out there that want to put someone in a race car. My dad, my grandfather, and I do all of the work on my car. My grandfather builds the engines and my dad builds transmissions, so if it needs work, we do it ourselves.
Throughout your racing career, what is a lesson you have learned that you will never forget?
Off the top of my head, just to be humble. And also to cherish every success. Racing is a tough sport, and you may go a year without a win. Don’t knock what you’ve done. You’re certainly going to lose more than you’re going to win. That’s probably the biggest thing I’ve learned: how to win and how to lose.
If you weren’t racing professionally, what would you be doing?
That’s the dream. Before college, I talked to my dad about running the family business, but he really wanted me to go to college because he didn’t. I knew I could always go home if I didn’t make it down here. I decided to come to Charlotte, and I knew that if I ever wanted to do anything in racing, this was the place to be. Also, UNC Charlotte has a great mechanical engineering program, so I knew if I wasn’t turning wrenches in my dad’s shop, I’d be turning wrenches somewhere else. I think I have a pretty good back-up plan.
If you could take three things on a desert island, what would they be and why?
Depending on how big the island is, probably a motorized vehicle. If I have to stay there, a fishing pole and a book, so I could eat and catch up on reading. I have dozens of different racing biographies I’d like to read.
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