Most children traditionally= celebrate Father's Day by giving their fathers power tools, ties or socks. Fifteen-year-old Luke Demis celebrates Father's Day Week by racing with his dad, Hoyt, in the Kangaroo Express Summer Shootout Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The father-son tandem, of Archdale, N.C., make the weekly trip to Concord, to participate in their respective Legend Car divisions. Hoyt drives in the Legend Car Masters Division, while his son Luke participates
in the Legend Car Young Lions division. The pair regularly compete in the 10-week Tuesday night series, but what makes this Father's Day Week even more special is that it was the first night of the season that father and son raced together.
"It's pretty special that I got to race with Luke Tuesday going into Father's Day," said Hoyt. "Just being at the Summer Shootout and being able to spend time together building camaraderie as teammates, as well as father and son makes it really neat."
The elder Demis has been racing on and off for 15 years. He began competing at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the Summer Shootout Series three years ago, at which time he introduced his son to Bandolero cars.
Since his introduction to racing, Luke lives, sleeps and breathes racing. After a successful 2009 Bandolero season, finishing second in the Young Guns division at the Bandolero Nationals, Luke has made the transition into Legend Cars this year.
Luke's favorite part about racing, besides the competition and winning, is spending quality time with his dad, who he credits to be his biggest racing influence. Traveling to races and working on cars has brought the Demis duo closer together, making the long hours of hard work all worthwhile.
While showing Luke the ropes, Hoyt uses the opportunity to also teach his son valuable life lessons.
"Racing can teach you how to respect people," said Hoyt. "It can teach you how to turn the other cheek. Racing will teach you a lot about living life.
"It teaches Luke to be respectful and to treat his competitors the way he wants to be treated. Prior to every race, I remind my son that races are serious, but he should also have fun."
One thing that makes Hoyt most proud of his son is that he races with respect.
"Luke is a clean racer and to me that means more than if he won every race, every week," admits the elder Demis. "Luke's probably run 15 races and I think he's had one crash, and it wasn't his fault."
This Father's Day, Hoyt and Luke can share in the celebration as they both brought home top-five feature finishes in the second round of the Kangaroo Express Summer Shootout Series. Hoyt grabbed a second place finish in the Masters division, while Luke finished fourth in the Young Lions
Hoyt plans to celebrate Father's Day by spending time with his family and racing at Rockingham Speedway with his son. In addition to his son Luke, Hoyt has two other children, a 17-year-old daughter and a six-year-old son. For the time being, neither race, but Luke's younger brother desires to help build on the Demis racing tradition one day in the future.
The 17th Annual Kangaroo Express Summer Shootout Series continues Tuesday night, June 22, with "Media Mayhem" School Bus Racing during round three of the series. Local media personalities will be among those scheduled to battle in the enormous 13-ton-vehicles. Gates open at 5 p.m. with feature
racing at 7:30 p.m.
For tickets to the Kangaroo Express Summer Shootout Series contact the Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.