By Phil Whipple, RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer. Photo credit: Stacy Kolar/Southern Sass.
ROBINSON, Texas — Within the extensive list of support divisions in action weekly at tracks around the great state of Texas are the Junior Limiteds. Much like their more well-known cousins, the mighty IMCA Southern Sport Mods, these cars are identical is design yet limited in power and suspension.
Among the drivers looking to make a name for themselves in this excellent developmental division is 16-year-old Trevor Cogburn, a regular at Heart O' Texas on Friday and at Kennedale on Saturdays. He's on a quite a roll in 2021, earning an impressive 11 wins, 15 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes in 17 starts.
“My opportunities in racing only come if I keep my grades up in school,” Cogburn explained. “So I've worked hard on school work to make sure I can keep racing. We've got a great team in place, with my Dad, his good friend Dookie and a ton of great sponsors. It's just all clicking off good here this season.
“Last week, I got in a wreck and tore up my car pretty bad. So I'll be in my Dad's car this coming weekend at Kennedale. We had to change engines and swap out a bunch of stuff. If it wasn't for my Dad and his friend, we wouldn't be able to do any of it. My Dad and Dookie work hard for my racing.”
While this aspiring driver may be young, he already has five years of active competition under his belt.
“I got started in 2016 driving a Mini Stock,” Cogburn said. “I did that for a couple of years, and this is my third year in Junior Limiteds. So I do have a little more experience than most 16-year-old racers.”
You may think with his impressive numbers, there isn't much competition in this Junior Limited thing. Yet you would also be sadly mistaken. The cars are so equal, it's all about heads-up driving skills.
“The rules package puts us all on equal ground,” Cogburn added. “You can only turn 6200 rpm and it cuts out on the chip. When I started in this class in 2019, I didn't win every week because I had stiff competition. Now, I've got five years of experience racing against kids who are just getting started.
“So they're learning by racing against me like I did when I got started. This is a great class to learn how to drive an open-wheel race car. It's a big transition from a Mini Stock-style car to one of these Sport Mod type of cars. I have the feel for them now, but there's a learning curve. This division is important.”
Cogburn isn't the only racer coming up through the Junior Limited ranks in north Texas. He says there is ample talent spread around the tracks at which he competes.
“I have guys like Liam Holland up there at Kennedale, and racers like Corbin Willet, Korbyn Rojais and Wyatt Sexton who give me a run for my money every time out. It's no cakewalk on any given week, those guys push me to the point where I really have to get up on the wheel. Competition is stiff.”
When the young man affectionately known to his friends as 'Lil Nasty' suits up and gets ready to race, he climbs into a very fine automobile.
“I have a first-class car under me every week,” Cogburn said. “In 2019, Joe Spillman put it out there that whoever won the points title at Heart O' Texas Speedway that year would get a brand new Hellion chassis from Brian Walker. I ended up winning it, and I haven't looked back. It's an incredible race car.”
Along with his immense natural talent behind the wheel, Cogburn has several key folks working behind the scenes to keep his program on-track.
“I have a ton of people to thank for making this all possible, including my Mom and Dad, Weston, Big Dookie, Granny and Pop, Uncle Chandler and Levi Cogburn. I couldn't do this without their support.
“I also need to thank all of my valued sponsors, including Affiliated Auto Glass, five1seven Designs, Wicked Fast Transmissions, Spillman Excavating, Wade White Trucking, Waco Freightliner, Rhodes Motorsports, Merrit Trucking, Old West Cowboy Church, c3 Chicken Coops, Double H Livestock, Heart O' Texas Speedway, Hellion Race Cars , Pizza Junction of Robinson, El Conquistador Bellmead, Southwest Maintenance and Robins Racing Engines. I appreciate every one and love to win for them.”
As this season starts to wind down and that weekly grind begins to slow, Cogburn has goals to achieve.
“This year our goal is to win the points championships at both HOT and Kenndale,” he concluded. “It's an ambitious goal, but if things keep going smoothly we may just be able to pull it off. I'm just very grateful to have this opportunity and enjoy some quality time racing with my family every weekend.”