Luke Whitteker is pictured in the center with all five of RACE 101's award winners. From left to right: Daniel Alvarez - X Factor Award; Jerry Tunney - Mechanical Excellence Award; Luke Whitteker - Premier Driver; Derek Robbie - Outstanding Achievement Award; Sarah Cornett Ching - Media Award
"We discussed the potential of putting together a dirt car to race up north with Luke," said RACE 101 Founder Tony Blanchard. "Instead we're going to bring him to North Carolina and try to win at Southern National. We believe we have a solid plan."
Luke Whitteker will continue competing in dirt modifieds pictured on the left, but he will strap into the RACE 101 house car this summer as well.
Whitteker's primary focus this year will be chasing points titles at Autodrome Granby and Cornwall Motor Speedway in his family-owned dirt modified. He will travel south for mid-week test sessions at the fast speedway located near Kenly, North Carolina, and compete in three races beginning in late summer.
"I'm excited for the opportunity to race with Tony," said Whitteker. "The super late model is a big change from what I'm used to, but I know I have the right team. I plan on showing how versatile I am as a driver."
The group will tentatively test when Whitteker finishes his semester of university in Ottawa, Ontario. Fellow RACE 101 graduate and now employee of the school Trevor Sanborn will serve as coach and crew member for the team.
"Trevor knows these cars as well as anyone," said Whitteker. "He's going to be a great asset to helping me contend for wins at Kenly."
Sanborn will tentatively race the house car in the first three SNMP Super Series races, and Whitteker will get behind the wheel for the final three events.
"I'm confident that Trevor and I can dial the car in while we get Luke comfortable in his test sessions," said Blanchard. "We have no intentions of putting a race car on the track unless we're there to challenge for the win. Both drivers are proven winners."
While Whitteker may be capable behind the wheel it is a gruelling schedule. The Ontario teenager will race in Granby, Quebec, on Friday and then travel to North Carolina to compete at SNMP on Saturday before returning to Ontario to race Sunday at Cornwall Speedway. The travel is approximately 1,000 miles each way.
"I'm not concerned about the travel," said Whitteker. "This is the opportunity I worked for, and I plan on making my fellow RACE 101 graduates proud. I'm more concerned about what Tony is going to think when I find a place on the race car for the Canadian flag and say 'eh' on the radio too much. I'm not sure if he speaks Canadian."
RACE 101 Class of 2011 Graduating students include: Daniel Alvarez - Chappells, South Carolina; Brandon Atkinson - Statesville, North Carolina; Sulo Burbank - Gorham, Maine; Sarah Cornett-Ching - Summerland, British Columbia; Mike Mahaney - King Ferry, New York; Bryce Malcolm - Simpsonville, South Carolina; Anthony Perez - Suffolk, Virginia; Shayne Pierce - Welland, Ontario; Derek Robbie - Bellingham, Massachusetts; Trevor Sanborn - Limerick, ME; Tommy Stilphen- Kennebunk, ME; Jerry Tunney - Clark's Summit, Pennsylvania; and Luke Whitteker - Iroquois, Ontario.
The new class features: Shane Billings - Carleton Place, Ontario; Jordan Gahan - Fredericton, New Brunswick; Ian Isringhausen - Mooresville, North Carolina; Trey Jarrell - Martinsville, Virginia; Kase Kallenbach - Charlotte, North Carolina; Katelyn Kane - Syracuse, New York; Zach Knowles - Mooresville, North Carolina; Kameron Kocarik - Fonthill, Ontario; Austin Kochenash - Danielsville, Pennsylvania; John Lowinski - Milford, Massachusetts; Garrett Marchant - Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina; Ryan Morris - Honeybrook, Pennsylvania; Tabatha Murphy - Prescott, Ontario; Casey Pierce - Lenoir, North Carolina; Steven Shaw - Merlin, Ontario; Caley Weese - Carrying Place, Ontario; April Wilson - Joyceville, Ontario; and Scott Wylie - Blasdell, New York.