By Phil Whipple,
RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer. Photo By: Rachel Plant
ANDERSON, Texas — They call it one of the most difficult balancing acts a man can attempt in his entire life. When you divide your time between a growing business, an active family and the all-consuming hobby of short track auto racing, just having enough time left to eat can be a challenge.
Yet for one second-generation driver originally from Magnolia, it all comes together fairly well. For 35-year-old David Lege Jr., carrying on a rich tradition of success in business and on the ovals is in his blood. He runs a business his family started in 1982, and is winning races, just like his father.
“They started a body shop in a little two-car garage back in 1982,” Lege said. “So we have a rich history here in the community. We're in a small town here, so it's mostly word-of-mouth advertising. I really enjoy interacting with our customers; that's what made me want to do this.
“I enjoy seeing them when we go out to dinner, shaking their hands and talking about their families. It brings the community together. I've been working here since I was 16, so I can look at a face and know their name. It's a good feeling to have customers that are more like an extended family.”
While he may not have made many starts in 2021, he was competitive when he did race. At the ultra-competitive Cotton Bowl Speedway, he pulled off a win on June 26.
“That win was pretty special for us,” Lege explained. “We had actually blown a motor earlier in the season, and that was our first race back after it was repaired. We started on the pole of our heat race and the feature, and won them both. I felt invincible, it lifted our spirits and got us headed the right way.”
Lege is a graduate of the Karting program, having raced extensively throughout the Deep South.
“I got started driving Karts when I was nine years old,” Lege said. “I was the Howard Willis or the Kale Westover of Kart racing. When you showed up and saw me in the pits, you knew we were the ones to beat. I won two Texas state championships and finished eighth in the Grand Nationals.
“I'd say winning those track titles at Waller was a real career highlight. I raced against Anthony Foyt, AJ's grandson, before he moved on to the next step in his career. I won a lot at Gator Motorplex when I raced there every week. We were a top-two car every weekend, for sure.”
Earning top-five or even top-10 finishes these days in SportMod/Limited Modified is no easy task.
“There are a ton of good drivers in the SportMod and Limited Modified classes all over the state now,” Lege said. “I'm probably not the guy who will be a factor to win the big races, but I'm likely to make the A Main and give them a decent run for their money. It's really tough to win now, but we do our best.
“There are guys who are racing every week, getting seat time and honing their skills. That's what it takes to win races on a regular basis. It's very hard to be on top of your game when you run part-time.”
When Lege suits up, grabs his helmet and gets ready to compete, he straps into a beautiful new car.
“I'm fortunate to be driving a 2022 Express Race Car from Shane Hebert,” Lege said with pride. “It's really a top-notch piece, with a level of quality, fit and finish unsurpassed in the industry. I just love it.
“To get this top-notch new machine around the oval, we utilize A.S.I. Racing Engines, of Washington, Texas,” Lege said. “I have all the power I need and reliability, as well. I couldn't ask for a better motor package. It takes a solid engine program to run up front in this class, we sure have that with A.S.I.”
As is the case with every driver who pilots a sharp car and runs competitively today, Lege has several good folks behind him who make his successful hobby a reality.
“I really need to thank Philip and Carrie Hall, I for sure couldn't do this without them. I also want to thank my son and crew chief, Kolt; my other son Chad and daughter Caralee; our valued team sponsors and the many friends who support me. It means a ton to have those people behind my racing efforts.”
With the 2022 season now just a few months away, Lege will be in search of more trophies and wins.
“We're definitely going to try and race a lot more next year than we did in 2021,” Lege concluded. “I was just trying to get a few things in our business sewed up, that has to be my top priority. It's all just a huge balancing act between work, family and racing. It's a great family tradition that keeps me going.”