Nic, an 8-year-old Gobles Elementary School student, has become a successful Kid Kart driver in the Great Lakes Sprint Series. His father serves as mechanic and pit crew for his SpongeBob Squarepants helmet-wearing son.
“You get to spend and incredible amount of bonding time,” Sheppard said.
“I think for the rest of my life and the rest of his life, we’ll have these times to look back on if we don’t race anymore.”
Nic, who isn’t shy about letting his mother know when she misses the apex of a curve while driving, is still fine-tuning his interviewing skills. But he is quick to share some racing tips.
“The center of the track is for losers. It makes you slow,” Nic said. “The inside and outside are the best.”
Nic won 15 races in 2010, including the East Lansing Kart Track Championship.
This season, he has won four races and finished second eight times. He also tallied the fastest lap in the history of the Kid Kart Nationals onJuly 31 with a time of 49.898 seconds and leads the Great Lakes Sprint Series Four-Stroke Class point standings.
Nic races across the Midwest, from Wisconsin to Pennsylvania.
“That was amazing to everybody,” Sheppard said of Nic’s fast lap. “It’s unbelievable to watch him.”
Sheppard has witnessed rapid growth in his son’s knowledge of how his kart reacts.
“Nic is now at the level where he gives me feedback on what the kart is doing out there,” Sheppard said. “He’s really developed a lot as a young driver. As far as my work on the kart, Nic started this the same time I did. I think his driving skills have grown quicker than my repair skills. I’m always playing catch-up, but I have a thankful driver. He gives it everything he has on the track, so if he goes faster I know I made the right fix.”
Getting his kart up to 45 mph is “tons of fun” for Nic, as it is when he sees the reactions as he straps on his helmet decorated in the theme of Nickelodeon show “SpongeBob Squarepants.”
“I just really love SpongeBob,” Nic said. “We bought a plain helmet and then the person who does my stickers for my kart cut out a sticker and put it on my helmet.”
Nic said he’d like to race in NASCAR, but for now he’ll just have to settle for more success behind the wheel of his kart.
“I think it’s an incredible opportunity and something I need to be thankful for to enjoy something like this,” Sheppard said.
Original Article Source MLive.Com: http://www.mlive.com/sports/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2011/08/gobles_student_nic_sheppard_8.html
Article written by David Drew at email@example.com or 269-388-8400.