Aspiring drivers dream of one day concluding their time as a racer on top. When the actual day arrives down that long road, very few get to see that accomplishment come true. Ricky Yetter not only did what he set out to do, but he achieved it in dominating fashion.
In the Dirt-style Modified weekly division’s final and biggest show of the season at Mahoning Valley Speedway (PA), “The Law” as he is known because of his full-time profession, was fast right out of the box. He pulled away in his heat race with a best lap time coming within a few tenths of the track record he set in the class a year ago.
After redrawing the fourth starting position it only took four laps to find the top spot. For the remaining 56 circuits, it was all Ricky Yetter. The celebrations instantly brought out the tears the moment he climbed out of the race winning machine to a huge group of family and supporters.
“You see the race on the schedule as the last one, but it didn’t hit me until I got out of the car,” the Easton, Pennsylvania driver described to Speed51.com powered by JEGS about the emotions following taking the checkered flag. “When it did, it hit me like a ton of bricks, but it’s absolutely the way to go out.”
Prior to the beginning of the season, the perennial contender for wins and the track title shocked many by announcing that he would retire following season’s end. He tied another competitor for the point lead in 2013, but lost in a tiebreaker. A championship before hanging it up was among the goals.
Yetter not only captured the title, but clinched it before the final weekend of the regular season. This gave him an extra race to try out some different options for the 60-lap finale a few weeks later.
“To get that before the final points race was gratifying in itself,” Yetter recapped. “It gave me some breathing room for the big race of the year for the division. I wanted to be prepared and stay on top of my game. With the track changing week to week, I would say we hit it pretty good.”
Yetter won 16 features in his short time on the Mahoning asphalt, seven of them coming in his final season. In addition, he holds various other records. Starting at a young age, the second-generation driver probably never visualized he would be ending a 30 year career at such a facility.
“I raced on dirt primarily my entire career, starting at seven in Quarter Midgets, and thought I’d end it there,” Yetter said.
However, recent increased job opportunities as well as additions to his family started to lure him away from the success at area dirt tracks and toward the quarter-mile’s unique division, which has rules and tires nearly identical to what would normally be run on dirt.
“With being a District Judge, some law work, and having two kids it freed up time racing at Mahoning,” Yetter explained. “Racing on dirt is an entire week process, and I was seeing my kids growing up faster than I liked.”
Although his few years at Mahoning were memorable and he applauded being a part of a community featuring top notch fans, Yetter admits that he may not be around the racetrack when the new season begins.
“My initial thought is to stay away because I don’t want to get the itch,” Yetter stated. “Going there kind of defeats the purpose, but it’s going to be tough. I might be looking for a project to point a driver or two in the right direction.”
37 years old is a bit of an early age in motorsports terms to put the helmet and driving suit aside. Nevertheless, Yetter has other priorities in life and feels like he could not have ended his time as a racer any better.
“I’ve had the best sponsors this year and the most crew help I’ve ever had, but it’s my time to call it a career and be dad. The only award I want for the next several years is dad of the year.”
– By Aaron Creed, Speed51.com Pennsylvania/Central New York Editor – Twitter: @aaron_creed
-Photo credit: Bob Snyder