By Phil Whipple,
RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer
Photo By: Rachel Plant
CHINA GROVE, Texas — It's been well-documented that the IMCA Southern Sport Mod division is loaded with talent across the Lone Star State. From Wichita Falls down to Corpus Christi, from El Paso all the way east to the Louisiana border, the competition level is high everywhere you unload a car.
Yet for 18-year-old Trent Beaver, that fact wasn't the least bit intimidating. No sir, after getting his feet wet with a part-time effort in 2018, the China Grove native jumped in full-time this year and made big progress. In 22 starts, Beaver earned one win, 12 top-five and 17 top-10 finishes. He is indeed for real.
“We partnered with Stephen Whitaker's 89 Motorsports this year, and it really helped us,” Beaver said. “We started off with a big race at South Texas Speedway, and I finished 13th after starting 25th in my first time in the car. Ever since then, we've been logging in the top fives and making good progress.”
Beaver spent his summer competing at three tracks, primarily. He ran the well-prepared No. 14 entry at I-37 Speedway in Pleasanton, at South Texas Speedway in Corpus Christi and once (Sept. 28) at the famed Cotton Bowl Speedway in Paige. He'll also hit Texana Raceway in Edna before his season ends.
“That was my first time ever at Cotton Bowl in late September,” he said. “We kind of struggled there. We started so far back in the heat race, it made it a challenge. I like racing there, we couldn't do much on the outside but overall it was a good outing for us. Every new track presents a learning experience.”
Beaver loves to learn and study the game, something he did down in Corpus this summer, as well.
“I enjoyed running at South Texas Speedway, it is a really fast track,” Beaver said. “It usually has a lot of moisture in it, so there is way more grip. I would have to say that is one of my best tracks so far.”
No matter where he unloads, Beaver knows there are veterans lurking, ready to pounce in an instant.
“I knew this class would be tough in 2019, and it sure was,” Beaver explained. “At our local races, you have at least 10 cars capable of winning any feature. We were hoping for a few more wins, but against the level of competition we face every time out, I think we still did pretty well. Nobody gives an inch.”
No red-hot rookie ever tore up any short track scene in any state without the assistance of good people in his corner. Short track racing, even at the hobby level, takes a commitment if you plan to do it right.
“This is very much a family-oriented race team,” Beaver said. “My father and mother are behind me all the way, and it's their businesses that make this effort a reality. I can't thank them enough for all they do for my racing program. That's why I make the effort I do behind the wheel. We all want it to succeed.”
Along with a dedicated team working behind the scenes, Beaver is also blessed to have a fine group of marketing partners providing the financial support needed to be competitive in such a tough division.
“We're fortunate to have some great businesses on board our program in 2019,” he said. “I need to thank CBR Shocks, Infinity Med Spa, Beaver Air Conditioning, Howell Crane & Rigging, Beaver Medical Group, WW Bodies, PTS Racing Engines, Stephen Whitaker and 89 Motorsports. We couldn't do this without their valued support.”
Beaver ran a Hughes by 89 Motorsports chassis this year, and it served him very well around the state.
With the 2019 season now pretty much in the books, Beaver turns his thoughts to 2020 and what he hopes will unfold during his second full-time effort.
“I think we'll take what we learned in 2019 and apply it to next season going forward,” Beaver added. “We made gains in speed, we got to where we were pretty consistent, but next we need to position ourselves to earn more wins. I'm proud of what we accomplished this year, and excited about 2020.”