It took Jared Umbenhauer a few races to get up to speed in the Sportsman division at Big Diamond Raceway in Schuylkill Haven, Penn.
Jared Umbenhauer wins at Big Diamond Raceway
Jared Umbenhauer started his auto racing career in quarter midgets when he was 6 years old
Broken motors and mechanical failures relegated him to a couple disappointing finishes in the first two races of the season.
He was 20th in the opening night race and followed that up with a 28th place finish a week later.
But his team put a new motor in his car - actually the old motor from the car he raced last year at Big Diamond Raceway - and he has posted three podium finishes, including winning a race on April 23.
"The first couple races were frustrating because there was nothing we were doing wrong," said the 18-year-old Umbenhauer. "It's just weird stuff happening. After we put in the old motor, it gave me some confidence. We know this one is a good piece. We know it's going to stay together. It's going to stay under me for a while."
Umbenhauer started on the pole in the April 23 race. He didn't get a great start, though and fell to second place on the first lap.
"On the initial start, the guy on the outside got passed me," said Umbenhauer, a senior at Eastern Lebanon County High School in Pennsylvania. "For eight laps I was following him. I was taking my time, waiting for him to mess up. I got him back on the top and from there on, I led the whole way."
He followed up his win with a pair of third-place finishes and was 13th place in the Sportsman standings at Big Diamond Raceway after the races on May 21. Doug Hendricks of Orwigsburg, Penn., was leading the Sportsman standings with 682 points. Umbenhauer was 231 points out of first.
"It's early," Umbenhauer said. "I got plenty of time."
Umbenhauer, who lives in Richland, Penn., started his auto racing career in quarter midgets when he was 6 years old. He made an interesting switch to BMX and raced bikes for a couple years before returning to cars. His older brother got into modifieds and the two worked on his car until Jared Umbenhauer was old enough to race his own car.
"When my brother turned 16, he was old enough to race," Jared Umbenhauer said. "My brother got a sportsman modified and I was helping him out on weekends. When I got old enough, then I started."
Jared Umbenhauer said he would eventually like to race on one of the NASCAR Modified tours, but he wants to win a Sportsman championship first. He was 14th and won one race in the Sportsman division at Big Diamond Raceway last year.
"We just want to maybe get three wins, and top five in points would be nice," Umbenhauer said. "It's been up and down, but we've been racing pretty good."
K&N provides mostly product support for Umbenhauer's race team.
"I've always used K&N filters," said Tom Umbenhauer, Jared's dad. "Anything helps with a family-run race team."
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