SANDS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WJMN) – Growing up, Wyatt Clement has gravitated towards hobbies where he could push the limits.
“Before car racing, I used to race BMX in North Marquette with pedal bikes,” said Clement. “Then I went from BMX to mountain biking and raced competitively in Wisconsin for the past 4-5 years and then I did a lot of local races.”
Clement’s need for speed led him to car racing. He will make his racing debut at Sands Speedway this Sunday, taking part in the ‘Fuel-Injected V-8 Division. His goals for his first race are pretty straightforward.
“Keep the car intact,” said Clement. “I don’t want to hit anyone for sure. Don’t run off the track. Don’t break anything. But ultimately, get first place and have fun.”
Being a third-generation racer, the sport is in his blood. Clement follows in the footsteps of his grandfather and his great-grandfather before him.
When asked would you say his grandfather your biggest influence to getting into this sport?
“Yes, for sure,” responded Clement.
“In every corner here, I’ve been in an accident,” said Wyatt’s grandfather, Rick Greenleaf. “Back in the 70’s I think I was almost top dog overall. I think I was second place overall for the first year I raced. In the mid-90’s I came back out and did it again. He based a lot of his stuff on what I’ve told him about how I’ve done over the past.”
The two have been hard at work, getting Clement’s 99 car ready for race day. On the dashboard – a photo from the past to inspire the present.
“I got a picture of my dad, myself, and my brother-in-law, who used to race in the ’70s with me, that picture was taken at the Crossroads coming here to do what we’re doing right now,” said Greenleaf. “It means a lot. My dad was a big part of why I did this because the guy was a mechanical genius. Every time I get a checkered flag I just look down at the pits and the number one and he would just be up there as proud as can be, you know?”
Everything will come full circle when Clement takes the track on Sunday.
“Now I’m in those shoes and I understand where he was coming from,” said Greenleaf. “Oh man, I think he would be exuberant just like me. Very, very proud. Very, very proud. If you look at the picture in the car, he’s very, very proud of what we accomplished and stuff. So, yeah I’m sure if he was still here he would still be clapping in the corners.”
The Sands Speedway season opener begins at 2:00 p.m. EST this Sunday with time trials. Races begin at 3:00 p.m. EST.
For more information on Sands Speedway and their race schedule CLICK HERE.