Livingston already is excellent driver
EHS junior wins title at Crandon races
ESCANABA — Tyler Livingston still has to finish classes to get his official state driver’s license, but he is already an accomplished race car driver.
And he is also a world champion to boot, winning the Lucas Oil Midwest Short Course League title Sunday in Crandon, Wis. After finishing third Saturday, he led most of the 12 laps Sunday to claim the title, and better yet, land a check for $5,000.
“It was like amazing,” the 16-year-old Escanaba High School junior said Tuesday after his first day of school. “It was really hard. They are really fast drivers, the best in the country.”
Sunday’s race capped his first season on the track, but has likely opened many doors to a bright racing future.
His father, Jason, said “I knew he could do it, but then to do it against this caliber (of racer). It was disbelief actually that he won. It was pretty emotional.”
It was his first victory in a race car. Although he still doesn’t have his Michigan license, he has been racing since age three. He has also been an active participant on the Escanaba River in the Great Lakes Ice Racing Association.
“There are a lot better drivers in this, a lot more experience and a lot more talent,” Tyler Livingston said of dirt-track racing. “It is a lot more technical, it is high-paced to get your lines right, and your jumps.”
Racing in the Pro Modified SXS division for Ox Racing of Green Bay, Livingston scooted 12 laps around the iconic mile-and-a-half Crandon track. The race took about 30 minutes.
In Sunday’s race he got “the hole shot right in the beginning and led the whole race. I got passed once and I passed him back on the next lap.
“I just tried to stay ahead and keep my head and just run the same line and continue to be smooth and not make any big mistakes.”
When he received the checkered flag, he said “that was the best feeling in the world. There was so miuch joy and accomplishment. It was amazing. To be out front in that caliber of competition is just insane. It was way better than I thought it would be.”
Livingston has been on the podium three times in four races as a rookie in his modified Can-Am Car with a 900cc turbo engine that enables him to reach speeds around 90 mph.
He raced at Bark River International Speedway earlier this summer. The first day he was running fourth when his motor overheated and “someone landed on top of me and the motor blew up. Then we had to run to Crandon – about two hours each way – to get a motor for the car,” he said.
The crew installed the motor at 5:30 Sunday morning and he ran third for a while. He was running fifth at one point but when he came into a corner he caught a rut with his rear tire. “It flipped me over but I landed on the wheels. I went from dead last to sixth in three laps,” he said, satisfaction obvious in his voice.
“I was kind of irritated that day because it happened, but I was happy with the outcome because it was a pretty good confidence booster to know I could run with the top of the pack.”
He has no specific plans, other than to build “a new car, a better one.”
Racing is definitely in his blood. Livingston said “I grew up just racing everything I guess. It just kind of came naturally.”
His dad said “he was always up running around on something.”
Livingston has played some football and run track but racing is now first and foremost. “I want to dedicate more time to racing and really focus on that,” he said, indicating he would like to race at the pro four big truck level “in two-three years.”