FOUNTAIN CITY, Wis. — You might say 14-year-old Lucas Schott is on the fast track. Even when he’s not racing.
The Chatfield, Minn., eighth-grader started racing go-karts seven years ago, experienced considerable success — he won four championships in four years — then jumped into what is known as a Slingshot.
Instead of a Y-shaped device with a rubberband to launch an object, this Slingshot had four wheels and a peppy Briggs & Stratton motor.
Now he’s racing in the highest class at Mississippi Thunder Speedway — the powerful Modified Class.
“I just started go-kart racing and took it step-by-step,” Schott said. “I don’t play any sports; I’m not a big sports fan. Racing is what I like; it’s really fun.”
Moving up was a natural progression, said Lucas’ father, John Schott, because Lucas demonstrated an uncanny ability to jump into any type of race car and excel.
Learning curve? Nope, just curves on the track.
“He transitions so quickly in everything he gets into,” John said. “He seems to have a natural talent for racing.”
Lucas, who is well beyond his years in terms of maturity and stature (he’s 5-foot-8, 165 pounds), proceeded to win the 2007 track championship in a Slingshot at what was then known as Tri-Oval Speedway in Fountain City. He won 14 feature races that season.
He didn’t stop there, as he won two track titles (two different divisions) at Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minn., as he grabbed the checked flag in 16 feature races.
“I don’t really think about it too much,” Lucas said of his success. “I’ve probably got more than 100 trophies in the garage.”
Enough of the little stuff. In 2010, Lucas and his father decided to jump into the big-boy division — Modifieds. Not the lower tier B Modified, but the A Modified class.
“People said, ‘You’re crazy. He (Lucas) will wreck and you will wreck everybody else, too,’” John said. “I told them, ‘I think he’s got the talent to do it.’ ”
So John, who did some dirt track racing when he was in his late teens and early 20s, decided to go for it. The owner of a hardwood flooring business, John decided to invest pretty much everything he could into a Modified dirt track race car for Lucas.
That meant buying a $20,000 chassis and investing $15,000- $20,000 in a motor.
“We’ve only got one chance to do this, so I figured why spend $10,000 to $15,000 on a B Mod where he would have to learn to drive that car, then re-learn everything again in an A Modified,” John said.
“I believe he can do this.”
So does Lucas, although he let’s his driving do more talking than his mouth. He’s a young man of limited words, but he’s certainly confident. Take, for example, his first impression of a Modified stock car.
“It’s got way more power (than a Slingshot), but I thought it would set me back in the seat a little more than it did,” Lucas said. “It can be a handful to drive sometimes.”
You would never know it by watching him.
Lucas competed in about 60 Modified races last year and finished 16th in the national point standings out of 319 registered drivers. He even won a feature.
“The car is getting better and better,” Lucas said. “Me? For me it all depends on the first lap.”
If he feels the car is right, he goes for it. Saturday night at Mississippi Thunder Speedway, Lucas moved up to seventh place at one point in the 20-car field and wound up finishing ninth.
“He’s always been a pretty mature kid and pretty calm,” John said. “That’s what you want in a driver.”