Mitchell DeJong started his racing career at an exceptionally early age. In fact, he got his first taste of competition at five-years old. DeJong instantly grew obsessed with the sport and has been matching his driving skills ever since.
Mitchell DeJong earned the title of the youngest person to ever win a Traxxas TORC Series Championship
Of course, at the ripe young age of five, the youngster battled against others sharing his stage of life. But as DeJong continued to follow his passion, he would eventually find himself lining up against drivers who were much older and wiser to the sport.
At age fourteen, Mitchell DeJong recently ended the 2012 season, a season that was chocked full of excitement, accomplishments and records. The driver was the youngest to ever win a Pro Buggy class race in the Traxxas TORC series.
Most drivers would have been more than satisfied with that specific accomplishment, but DeJong had no intentions of stopping there. At the season's end, he had also managed to set another record that dwarfed his earlier accomplishment. He walked away as the series points champion. In turn he was also deemed as the youngest driver to win the championship.
Mitchell DeJong and his crew experienced a stellar 2012 season in the Pro Buggy class of the Traxxas TORC Series
To make the pot even sweeter, this was DeJong's first season to drive in the Pro Buggy class of the series. In turn, his accomplishments were also more than enough to earn the votes for Rookie of the Year.
"Ever since I can remember, my mind has always been on racing," explained DeJong. "My mom has a picture of me, when I was really young, trying to drive our sand car while it was parked in the garage. I was about two-years old," he recalled.
Of course the final race of the season relinquished any doubts of success, but the entire year has proved an exciting ride for the driver. Referring to the one race in particular that is etched in his mind, DeJong said, "My first TORC race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway dirt track was an amazing experience all around. At the last minute, with no real plan, my family and I packed up the RV and trailer and took a road trip across the country, from California to North Carolina. That was the farthest we had ever traveled to race."
"We showed up without our pit or crew, and parked somewhere between Traxxas and the Lovell Team, where my dad, mom and I pitted out of the back of our race trailer," he recollected. "Everyone was so generous, especially the entire Traxxas team. The race was aired live on SPEED TV, so my family and friends back at home were able to watch. I won this first race of the season, and the announcers and fans were so incredible."
Although Mitchell DeJong's performance during the 2012 season was no indication of uncertainties, one would suspect that his young age and lack of experience in the series did lurk in the back of his mind.
When asked if these two factors lent to extra pressure the driver said, "Yes and no. I've been racing for a long time, so I don't feel any added pressure physically racing. But I do know some of the adults may think I don't belong in their class. I felt a little added pressure to earn their respect, so they would be comfortable racing with me."
Although early in his teenage years, Mitchell DeJong obviously has a good grip on the trick to success. According to the driver, several factors played a role in his triumph during 2012. He was quick to credit a portion of his consistency to commitment, both from him and his team.
The young driver is also conscious of his team's importance. "Every single team member is important for success," he explained. "The crew's job is to make sure the team brings the best equipment to the race, and then it's the driver's job to bring it through the checkered and win."
At fourteen yeas of age, Mitchell DeJong has earned the respect of older and more experienced drivers in the Traxxas TORC Series
It takes a lot of hard work, and I feel extremely lucky to be racing, especially when all of the hard work and crazy, chaotic schedules pay off with a championship."
As maintenance is a crucial component to a stellar season, Mitchell DeJong and his crew are strong advocates of K&N products to keep the engines running contaminant free. "We use K&N on all of my race vehicles; my modified 45 truck, my legend car and my pro buggy," explained the driver. "And we plan to use them on the trucks I drive in 2013 as well."
Reminiscing, Mitchell DeJong said, "It's always a great feeling to win; not just for myself, but to see the excitement in the faces of my team is a great thing too. All the hard work you put in all year pays off at that moment."
Looking to the future, Dejong's response to what fans can expect, his answer was short and to the point, "To never give up."
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