Collin Truett of Nebo is an up-and-coming driver in UTV (side-by-side) racing, and has picked up a number of accolades in his young career.
But make no mistake: Truett, 20, knows he wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t a family affair.
Truett, who has raced since 2013, competes in both the Mid East Hare Scramble and Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) series, driving in multiple divisions. This year, he won the series championship in the single-seat class and finished second in the other two divisions in which he runs.
Truett, his parents Stephanie and Mitch and his brother Alex are all heavily involved with the racing operation. The season begins in March and runs through October or November, so it’s obviously time-consuming.
But the Truetts wouldn’t have it any other way.
“There aren’t many parents who can say they spend the weekend with their 20-year-old,” said Stephanie.
Collin took an interest in racing UTVs after watching his dad compete several years ago. Mitch said the youngster showed an aptitude for driving right off the bat on the practice track, and has been a quick study.
“He was turning in good lap times, so I took him to a race in Alabama and he did real good,” said Mitch.
“There’s a lot of sliding through the corners and drifting around, turning in early and letting it slide past where you want to go. He’s got a knack for feeling it.”
Collin said it’s all about picking the right line when you’re on a course that features obstacles galore.
“I figured out where the wheels need to be in order to get through the trees without hitting them,” he said. “We started in Florida, and it’s just sand, and then South Carolina, which is sand and palmetto roots. Then we went to Ohio and that was bad mud, then we went to West Virginia, and that was bad rocks.”
None of those surfaces is his favorite.
“I do really good in dust for some reason,” Collin said. “I’m not really sure why.”
Collin is pretty good on any surface. Last season, which ended earlier this month, he finished first five times and didn’t place lower than sixth in any race.
It all culminated in his first title, which only served to whet his appetite for more.
“I get to show up next year with a No. 1 plate, and that’s exciting,” said Collin.
Early on, Collin drove in grueling, four-hour races, but is now competing in one-hour events. The vehicles go off five at a time every 30 seconds and run for an hour. Stephanie said the mindset is different than in endurance races, but Collin has adapted well.
“It’s been a learning curve,” she said. “We went from the four-hour racing, which is basically just maintaining the car and finishing. This has been a year of learning, but he has still excelled.”
Mom is well qualified to talk racing; she’s been in the car plenty of times. In one of Collin’s divisions, double-seat UTVs must have a passenger.
“By process of elimination, because I weigh the least, I got the job,” Stephanie laughed. “That’s kind of an unusual circumstance. But I think it’s a neat aspect of the story.”
The duo remembers one race that wasn’t so neat.
Collin’s car burst into flames during the event. He didn’t notice right away, but Stephanie did, and was quick to let her son know what was happening.
“I was the one who realized we were on fire,” she said. “He thought I was saying “go faster,” but I was saying “we’re on fire.” We were on fire for a minute-and-a-half.
“I sit on the fuel tank, so I didn’t know what kind of fire it was, so Mom was freaking out.”
Eventually, Collin saw the flames and pulled to the side. The car was out of commission, but no Truetts were harmed.
Mom took it all in stride.
“I can honestly say, other than the time we were on fire, he has never scared me,” she said.
Collin said he’s completely comfortable sharing a racing vehicle with his mom.
“I forget she’s over there sometimes,” he said. “If I worry about the passenger, I’m not focusing on racing.”
It’s clear from his strong finishes there’s nothing wrong with Collin’s focus.
“We’ve had disappointments, but (they were) followed by phenomenal results,” Stephanie said.
The Truetts hope there will be many more such results to come.
Notes: The Truett team has picked up a number of sizeable sponsors, including OTR Wheel Engineering, Turtle Laboratories, Super ATV, Corbeau Seats, GForce Suspensions and Polaris…Collin has signed to race two more seasons with the OTR sponsorship…Mitch said Collin has won close to $30,000 in prize money so far…Mitch added most races feature about 75 cars, with some events drawing nearly 100 competitors…Collin plans to move up a class and compete against more experience adversaries next season. His ultimate goal is to race for a living.