WHEATLAND, Mo. – As part of a three-generation racing family, J.C. Newell grew up around the sport.
Despite being only 24, he already has carved out a successful career for himself on both pavement and dirt tracks.
Competing this season as a regular at Lucas Oil Speedway for the first time, Newell is fifth in the strong Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mod division.
“I’ve never contended for a championship at Lucas, so I decided this year we were going to run every race and have fun and see where we ranked in the points deal over there,” Newell said. “So far, it’s been good. We had some really good runs at the beginning of the season and the last two or three weeks, we’ve struggled with track position in the heat race and kind of dug ourselves a hole.
“But we’ve had a lot of speed and been competitive. That’s a big change from this year to last year. Being able to run with those guys means a lot.”
Newell, a Stoutland native who now lives in Buffalo, will be back in action on Saturday during Lucas Oil Speedway’s Veterans and Military Appreciation Night Presented by KOZL 27. The B-Mods will be featured, chasing a $750-to-win prize in the 25-lap main event.
Newell, with one top-five finish and five top-10s, has an extensive racing background that includes a track and state championship in the NASCAR Weekly Series on the pavement as a 19-year-old at Lebanon I-44 Speedway.
He won five features that season in a car owned by David Willard.
The Newell family’s racing resume is deep. Grandfather J.C. Newell has been racing for nearly 50 years and still competes on the pavement. Father Ben Newell still races occasionally on the dirt, with his sons J.C. and 20-year-old Dayton.
“My uncle, Jimmy Willis, also races a B-Mod,” Newell said, adding that it seems like he’s always running alongside one of his relatives on the track.
He said the friendly rivalry with his younger brother is especially fun and includes good-natured, on-and-off-track trash talk.
“The last couple of weeks, he’s beat me to the line by about a bumper – two weeks ago at Dallas County and on Thursday at Lucas,” J.C. said of Dayton. “We work together, so we get to razz each other all week.”
Newell also gets help from his father-in-law, Scotty Allen, who oversees Allen Autosports.
J.C. drives an Allen-built car.
“It’s just a big family deal,” Newell said, noting that the family aspect is why he went back to dirt racing four years ago after the successful stint on the pavement that included some national-level events at places like Nashville Speedway.
“I miss the atmosphere, going to Nashville and racing against big names like Bubba Pollard and those guys,” Newell said. “But chasing that and working full time on the race cars, it turned into a full-time job and I wasn’t enjoying racing any more. I really enjoy where I’m at now, with my whole family doing it – both on my wife (Lindsey’s) side and my side.
“Everything we do is racing and I get to see my whole family ever weekend because we’re all racing together. It’s just a lot of fun.”
Newell, who gets help on the car from Bill Sprague during the week and in the pits, said it could be even more fun if he’s able to achieve some goals the remainder of 2020.
“My main goal is I really want to win one at Lucas Oil and I’d like to pick up a couple of wins at Dallas County,” he said. “I’d also like to stay in the top five of the points battle at Lucas.”