Curran on fast track to NASCAR

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.

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.