At the age of 10, many kids are pushing around matchbox cars and racing collectibles only dreaming of one day strapping into a race car. A select few have the opportunity to start off their passion in a Quarter Midget, Mini Outlaw, or Bandolero at that time in their life. In 2015, one fortunate boy has the chance to show what he can do in a Late Model Stock Car and is doing it all for a good cause.
Manassas, Virginia’s Timmy “Mini” Tyrrell has already acquired experience and success in karting, a Bandolero and an Arena Car. He is now racing full speed through the corners at Shenandoah Speedway (VA) with competitors that have a total number of race wins and championships greater than years he has been alive.
“My car owner’s car was sitting in his garage and I said ‘man, I’d love to drive that car one day,’” Tyrrell told Speed51.com powered by JEGS at the facility’s recent Racing for Wishes 150 event. “He called me up and said ‘get a seatbelt; you’re coming to race it.’ That was cool; I was so excited at the time.”
Mini, as he has become known throughout the pit area and to fans, drives for Sam Beatty, a longtime car owner in the Northern Virginia region. The compilation of racers who have competed for his team is a who’s who list. Only scratching the surface are former Old Dominion Speedway champions Mark McFarland and Willard Lawrence, as well as NASCAR K&N Pro East Series competitor Sergio Pena. Tyrrell’s teammate recently at Shenandoah was four-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion Philip Morris.
With that amount of knowledge behind the wheel preceding and surrounding him, Tyrrell has been turning heads by bringing the car home in one piece in his initial starts in a full-bodied racecar.
“We got out here and we are running fine,” Tyrrell said. “We got a solid sixth-place finish (at the Racing for Wishes 150). Staying out of trouble, that’s pretty much the goal right now.”
Mini had a best finish to date of fourth the previous week, and followed it up by completing every lap in the longest race of his career. That accomplishment is something that 13 other drivers were not able to say at the end of that given night.
Like many young racers, Tyrrell hopes to one day move up the ranks.
“They were kind of telling me if you keep driving where you’re at and not driving over your head, you’re going to be somewhere, maybe in a Truck, when you’re 14,” Tyrrell said. “I would love to be in a Truck when I am 14 years old or going on to 16 or 15. I would love to be there at that level.”
Whether NASCAR’s set minimum age rules would allow for that possibility in the future remains to be seen, but reaching the top is not necessarily priority number one on his list.
“I created this thing called ‘Mini’s Mission’,” Tyrrell explained. “When I was six my friend Ella had a brain tumor. I said ‘that’s not right’ and I wanted to help her by raising money by racing my go kart.
“Now we have raised over $280,000 for pediatric cancer. I love doing what I do.”
As an individual, Mini has shown he can be more composed and well-spoken than many of the more experienced drivers. In addition to his fundraising efforts in which he has partnered with the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation, he joined his fellow drivers at Shenandoah in helping raise awareness for another good cause.
“We went to collect money from the stands with our helmets, and I collected a good bit for Make-A-Wish Foundation,” Tyrrell said. “Also, racing Late Models and raising money for kids with cancer; it’s just really special.”
Whether fans may agree or disagree with someone having the opportunity to drive a Late Model at such a young age, one thing is for sure. Timmy “Mini” Tyrrell is making the most of it with a positive goal in mind: “Burning Rubber to Help Another.”
-By Aaron Creed, Speed51.com Correspondent -Twitter: @Aaron_Creed
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com