On Monday morning, Texas native and Texas A&M University senior, Bradley Riethmeyer, received the call that would give him the racing opportunity of a lifetime and change the face of his driving future. It was a call from Tracy Trotter, promoter of The All-American Driver Challenge (AADC), telling him that he had won the competition and would be receiving a fully-paid contract to drive in the 2006 USAC Carolina/Virginia Midget Series.
“All ten drivers showed on Saturday that they have the ability to win races. I can’t believe how tough of a decision it was for the other judges and myself to decide on a winner.” In the end, Riethmeyer’s talent shined through in both his on-track performance as well as his ability to effectively communicate to the crew chief what he was feeling under him, even though he had never been behind the wheel of a midget before.
“This was such a great opportunity for these 10 drivers,” said Bob East, Founder of Beast Midget Chassis and AADC judge. “This program should really grow, every kid in America who has aspirations of being a race car driver should enter this Challenge. Bradley showed an extraordinary amount of talent for never stepping foot in an open wheel car before, he is going to be a very tough competitor. I was really impressed how he dug down deep and really performed when it counted, and in how race track savvy he was, he wanted to win this bad.”
“It was the experience of a lifetime to watch these kids compete in Atlanta and at Hickory,” said Brian Moates, Executive Director of the AADC, “ I have memories that I will carry with me for a very long time. It was such a pleasure to work with these kids and their families through this competition. I have no doubt that a number of them will have a career in motorsports.”
“When I got the call it really took me off guard. This is so overwhelming and exciting,” said Riethmeyer. “It was such a tough competition. After my first run I didn’t know what I needed to do to make myself stand out, everyone was so close. I just listened to Bob East and his input and gave them some feedback about the car. On my second run, the car was just right and I knew I had to go for it. This was such an awesome experience. I just want to thank everyone at The All-American Driver Challenge for the opportunity.”
Riethmeyer and nine other semi-finalists were at Hickory Motor Speedway on Saturday, March 4th, testing behind the wheel of the AADC midget trying to prove to the judges that they had what it took to be the next All-American Driver. “I was so surprised at the level of talent in the whole competition,” said Trotter.
Riethmeyer, 22, hails from Hutto, Texas. Until winning the AADC, his future plans were uncertain since, just as countless other young drivers with a dream of driving professionally encounter, his family was unable to bear the financial burden of running his late model car. Winning the AADC is giving Riethmeyer the opportunity he needs to further develop his racing talent and gain the experience that will help him in achieving his dream of racing professionally. Reithmeyer’s previous racing accolades include the 2003 ROMCO SLM “Rookie of the Year” and the 2004 Super Late Model Series Champion.
In addition to East and Trotter, other AADC judges
included: Bones Bourcier, motorsports journalist; Rick Benjamin, Speed Channel commentator; Gary Huffman, National Championship Winning Crew Chief; and Robbie Ray, 2005 USAC Ford Focus Midget National Champion and last years driver of the AADC midget.
Drivers began qualifying for the AADC on July 1, 2005, competing for a fully paid contract to drive in the 2006 Carolina/Virginia USAC Midget Series. Open qualifying was held at go karting facilities around the country and ended on December 15th. Challengers were asked to submit their top 100 laps with the top 10 Challengers from each of the 10 regions advancing to the semi-final round at Andretti Indoor Karting & Games in Atlanta on February 4-5th. The ten best drivers in Atlanta were selected to compete in the finals at Hickory Motor Speedway on March 3rd-4th.
Bradley Riethmeyer will be running a USAC Midget this year thanks to his performance in the All-American Driver Challenge. (AADC Photo)