Commentary

Curran on fast track to NASCAR

Updated: January 8, 2009, 12:10 PM ET
By Brian A. Giuffra | ESPNRISE.com

Brent Curran was only 7 days old when he got his first taste of speed. From the comfort of his mother's arms, Curran internalized the sights, sounds and smells of race day while his father, Brian, zoomed around Antioch Speedway in California.

[+] EnlargeBrent Curran
ESPN RISEBrent Curran has been around racing his entire life.

Since that day 14 years ago, Curran has been hooked. And the Antioch (Antioch, Calif.) freshman has used his love of speed to become one of the top young race car drivers in the nation.

"I've grown up around races my whole life," says Curran. "I never thought I would be able to be behind the wheel myself."

A two-time national Quarter Midget champion, Curran moved up to the Miniature Motorsports Racing Association (MMRA) Future Stars of Racing program this year. He finished the season ranked second among Western drivers in points to earn Rookie of the Year honors.

Curran's ultimate dream is to join the NASCAR circuit, and he's been working toward that goal for quite some time. Curran was just 7 years old the first time he strapped on his racing helmet and competed in Quarter Midgets, which range in speed from 30-50 mph.

"It was exciting back then," he says. "Now I would think of it as nothing. When you're 7, it feels like you're driving 200 miles an hour."

These days, Curran says the toughest part of racing is explaining to his friends how hard it is.

"A lot of people think all you do is turn left and press the throttle," says Curran, who now competes at speeds around 75 mph. "There's a lot more that goes into it. You have to have the mind power to go out there and do what you've got to do to win, and you have to have the muscle to get around the track."

Unfortunately, Curran may have to temporarily hit the brakes on his racing future next year if the family can't find new sponsors. High gas prices, costly repairs and travel expenses have put a strain on the Currans' budget.

"It's going to be hard not driving a car," says Curran. "Hopefully we'll be able to get back in a car soon."

Here's to a speedy return to the track.

Brian A. Giuffra covers high school sports for ESPN RISE.