By Paul Hines
MT. VERNON —
Aaron Heck has been racing cars since he was a boy.
Recently, he polished off a season points championship. Heck, who lives in Mt. Vernon, won the United Midwest Promoters Pro Crate Late Models championship. He finished the year with 24 feature wins, 34 top five finishes and 40 top 10 placings over 48 races.
“It was pretty cool,” Heck said. “I've never won any championship before so it was my first one that I had ever won.”
The series has taken the 23-year old around to nine different tracks in states that include Kentucky and Tennessee. Sometimes the travel can take a toll, depending on the race result.
“It's tiring after the race, especially when you lose, but when you win that three or four hour drive looks pretty good,” Heck said.
He won on eight of the nine tracks he raced on this season. The Paducah track in Kentucky where he raced just once was the only track where victory eluded him. Races for the division start in February down in Florida and the competition wrapped up action in October. Drivers count their 20 best finishes from the season in tallying the total points. The length of each of the feature races varies from 20 laps up to 50.
Like most other race car drivers, Heck is part of a team. He works on the maintenance and mechanics of the car along with his father Rick and brother Ricky. Justin Duckworth handles the body work, and Zach Daum operates on the shocks. The group spends about 30 hours a week getting the car ready for competition.
Heck said no matter what has happened the previous night he tries to enter the next race with a calm mindset.
“You just have to remember the next day it's a new day and you have to forget about the night before if you crashed or you got second, or even if you won you have to go into the next race with an open mind ready to win.”
Heck started racing when he was 11 years old. His first experience came with the Hornet style, which is a four-cylinder stock car. He moved to a Late Model, which has a V-8 engine.
“I was fortunate enough that I could race (Late Models) for seven years now and so I kind of know the car a little better than most of the people I race against,” Heck said. “They're older than me, but I just have better equipment so I can go farther with that.”
Heck's already planning for the future months. He wants to travel south starting in November for races in Alabama, Florida and Georgia.