For Colorado’s Brett Yackey, the action never stops. The 17-year-old Senior at Greely Central High School in Colorado is constantly making an impression whether it be on the gridiron, on the hardwood or on the race track. Yackey, a member of the 2017 Kulwicki Driver Development Program, has been noticed by many for his immense athletic talent and focus in the classroom.
For 2017, Yackey participated as a member of the KDDP class against a menagerie of drivers from across the United States and Canada. After a championship runner-up performance at his home track of Colorado National Speedway, along with appearances elsewhere, he earned a KDDP podium performance and a whole lot more.
“It was absolutely amazing being involved. The program not only made me a better race car driver, it also made me a better person. Everyone in the organization does a fantastic job,” Yackey told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I was in the running for the title. We would’ve liked to of had a better season, but overall it was pretty successful. We had three feature wins and nine top-five finishes.”
“I got past him late in the season, finished third in points, which at Colorado National Speedway is pretty good because of all the competition out there,” Yackey stated. “I feel like we learned a ton racing there, at I-25 Speedway and also traveling down to Tucson Speedway.”
While coming from a deep racing family, Yackey was encouraged by his parents to pursue other sports away from the track, eventually growing to like all of them.
“When I was younger my parents signed me up for soccer, football, and whatever we could,” he stated. “I just grew accustomed to it and loved it, so I kept doing it and I was pretty good at it.”
During his high school career, Yackey has risen amongst on the best in Colorado state football, on both sides of the ball, and even on special teams.
“Overall as a team we were 2-8, but personally I had a fantastic season with 1300 rushing yards at running back, 139 tackles at linebacker and earning All-State. I play kicker as well, so I’m busy no doubt. Right now, I’m playing basketball and come spring I’ll do baseball as well.”
With so many sports, and the sport of short track racing spanning the longest of them all, things can become hectic. Yet, Yackey wouldn’t change a thing.
“It’s tough a lot of times between school, football, and racing; it keeps me busy. Some nights will be late nights in the shop, doing homework in the race car as we are on the scales, or going right from football practice right to the shop and eating dinner there. But I like working on the cars every bit as much as racing them.”
Currently in the midst of both basketball season and racing banquets, the 2018 season looms on the horizon with Yackey planning a slate similar to 2017. Additionally, he hopes to have more time racing Late Models against his older brother Brian.
“As of right now we’re definitely running a full season with the Super Late Model at Colorado National and we’ll do some races at I-25 and Tucson again. We’re also pondering the idea of running another Late Model at Colorado National,” Yackey said. “In 2016, I ran our Late Model and won all but two races, then I handed it to my brother to run this year and he did really well. I’ve raced against him in Winter Enduros and once in Super Late Models last year. It’s fun knowing he’s out there and seeing how he’s doing at the same time.”
Before he gets underway with the weekly racing grind, Yackey and his family are preparing for their first outing of 2018 at Tucson Speedway in just six weeks for the Chilly Willy 150. The $10,000-to-win race is already attracting big names from both west and east of the Rocky Mountains, and Yackey is eager to test his metal against these stars on a track that he has gained experience on.
“It sounds like there’s going to be a lot of good competition there and at the same time they keep that race affordable with the way they manage the tires and fuel there. We ran the Turkey Shoot last month. I had a really good car for the first 80 laps, led all of them, but then I got a little too loose and it showed towards the end of the race. If we can work on that we’ll have a shot at Chilly Willy, most definitely.”
Yackey will be honored as the Kulwicki Driver Development Program third-place finisher during the program’s banquet Thursday night. Race fans can watch the banquet via a live stream on Speed51.com.
-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA, RI & Long Island Editor - Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Christi Yackey