Toledo, Ohio – ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards rookie Tyler Audie has big plans for his future. It starts with the International Motorsports Hall of Fame 200 Friday at Talladega Superspeedway. And as big as that would be for any rookie racer, it gets even more interesting from there.
Audie, from Orlando, Florida, has earned a full academic Presidential scholarship to the University of Alabama. It amounts to full out-of-state tuition to the College of Engineering, majoring in Aerospace Engineering.
“Nothing’s really set in stone, but I’d like to fly planes in the Navy,” Audie said. “My cousin on my mom’s side is an Army pilot and flies the newer version of the Black Hawk helicopter. My dad also flies…licensed for single engine airplanes. I’ve always enjoyed it.”
Audie, who is entered in the No. 12 Audie Expo-NP Properties Toyota in the ARCA race at Talladega, will soon graduate from Lake Highland Preparatory School with an overall grade point average of 3.7 and an ACT score of 32. Through all the hard work with his studies, he’s also managed to hone his racing skills along the way.
“I started racing in quarter midgets and then I moved up to the Bandoleros and Legend Cars. Then it was a Pro Late Model, Super Late Model and now ARCA.”
Audie won a Pro Late Model feature event at New Smyrna Speedway in March of 2014. He wants to continue his racing career, but he’s also being realistic about the financial challenges.
“I absolutely want to keep racing, but it’s at the point where it’s hard to find the finances to keep doing it. If the financial support is there to keep doing it, I’d be the happiest person on earth.”
That said, Audie should be pretty happy when he takes the green flag in Friday’s Int’l Motorsports Hall of Fame 200 at Talladega. Despite it being his first Talladega attempt, Audie gained valuable experience in the ARCA race at Daytona back in February. He finished 18th on the lead lap.
“The number one thing I learned (at Daytona) is patience. We had raced our way up to seventh before we pitted. Our pit stop went bad and we got knocked way back. But it’s a 200-mile race and you realize you still have time to get there.
“Then we hung back on purpose…waiting for the “big one” to happen. We wanted to be far back enough to not get caught up in it…so we slowed down to get through it. It just never happened.”
When Audie isn’t studying or pursuing his passion for racing, he’s often behind a Les Paul six-string electric guitar.
“I’ve had a guitar since I was really young…been playing for about six years now. I’m definitely going to keep playing. My favorite music is classic rock…Led Zeppelin, AC/DC…all the classics. Saw AC/DC at the Amway Center in Orlando. It was awesome…unbelievable.”
Sounds like Audie has an unbelievable future in front of him regardless of the direction he ultimately chooses.
“I was accepted by three schools…Auburn, Florida State and Alabama. I went and toured all those campuses…it was a pretty hard decision. I’m from Florida and a lot of my family went to Florida State. But, in the end, Auburn and Alabama had aerospace programs. I just loved the campus at Alabama. In making the transition, I’m starting to replace all my Florida State gear with Alabama.”
Audie is set up Wednesday afternoon at the College of Engineering at the University of Alabama, doing a meet and greet with media and fellow students from noon until 4:00 p.m. local time. His No. 12 ARCA car is also on display. Several University of Alabama engineering students will be shadowing Audie during the ARCA race at Talladega.
ARCA Group Qualifying Returns
Group qualifying, for the second consecutive year at Talladega, will set the starting field for the Int’l Motorsports Hall of Fame 200. Cars will be placed into groups based on their speeds from Friday morning’s practice session. The fastest lap during group qualifying will determine each car’s numerical starting position in the race Friday afternoon.
The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards is part of a triple-header weekend of racing at Talladega, beginning with the Int’l Motorsports Hall of Fame 200 Friday, the NASCAR Xfinity Series Winn Dixie 300 Saturday, and culminating with the grand finale Geico 500 for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunday.
Practice for ARCA’s Int’l Motorsports Hall of Fame 200 is scheduled from 8:30 – 10:20 a.m. Friday morning with Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell (group qualifying) following at 2:30 p.m. The Int’l Motorsports Hall of Fame 200 is live on FOX Sports 1 at 5:00 local Central time. Arcaracing.com will feature live timing and scoring of all on-track activities.
For ticket information, visit TalladegaSuperspeedway.com.
-ARCA Racing Series Press Release. Photo Credit: Tyler Audie Facebook