Scheckter gets first-hand feel of sprint car racing

From Gary Thomas

Rio Vista, CA — (July 18, 20) — Many young short track drivers dream about competing at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where speeds can reach upwards of 225 mph and has a history as rich as any in all of motorsports.

For Indy Car veteran Tomas Scheckter however, he had been looking to go in a slightly different direction. The driver who finished eighth at this year’s Indy 500 had been wanting to get into a 900hp fire-breathing 410 Sprint Car and on Sunday that became a reality for the South African.

After watching the Golden State King of the West Sprint Car Series event at the Antioch Speedway on Saturday night, Scheckter suited up on Sunday and got his first laps in a Winged 410 Sprint Car, which took place at the KWS test facility in Rio Vista, California.

Sitting behind the wheel of Brent Kaeding’s No. 69 sprinter Scheckter turned about a hundred laps around the quarter-mile during the day and was smiling from cheek to cheek following the session. “Wow that is certainly a huge rush,” said Scheckter after pulling in for the first time. “I can’t even explain how cool it is driving one of these things.”

Scheckter got better and better as the day went on and showed that he could adapt well to slinging a sprint car around on the dirt. After getting the initial laps under his belt it gave a definite glimpse of how physically demanding these cars are, as he had sweat pouring down his face. The day after he tweeted, “My neck and forearms are hurting today. You can’t imagine how deep you can go in and how much throttle you can carry on dirt.”

Both Brent and Bud Kaeding coached Scheckter during the day, giving tips and lending their many years of expertise and knowledge of the sport to the aspiring sprint car driver. “Tomas is having a blast and it’s always great to see someone having fun like that,” said Brent Kaeding. “He is definitely not shy with the throttle and hopefully we can get him in an actual race sooner or later.”

Scheckter is the son of 1979 Formula One World Champion Jody Scheckter and has competed at the Indianapolis 500 on 10 different occasions, with a best finish of fourth, which came in 2003 while driving for Chip Ganassi Racing. He also has a pair of victories and eight career poles with the IZOD Indy Car Series.

KWS Operations Manager George Hague was also impressed by Scheckter’s first experience in a sprint car on Sunday. “It was really cool to see Tomas get in a sprinter yesterday and you can see he will be exciting to watch,” said Hague. “Hopefully everything will come together and he can run some races out here, because it would be an awesome thing. It was nice to have him on hand at our KWS race this past Saturday in Antioch as well.”

Scheckter was appreciative of everyone who made it possible for him to get into a sprint car. “I really want to thank Brent, Bud and the Kaeding’s, as well as the KWS Series for giving me the chance to try out a sprint car,” he said. “I had a great time and hope to do more of it.”

If everything falls in place Scheckter could be in a sprint car before too long so keep your eyes and ears peeled.

For more information on Tomas Scheckter and Team Redline Extreme visit

You can also learn more on the Golden State King of the West Sprint Car Series at or on Facebook and Twitter.

Stay tuned to the KWS website for some video clips of Tomas Scheckter’s first experiance in a sprint car.