Drag Illustrated Issue 179, November / December 2022 - Page 102

WYATT

WAGNER

■ AT 21 YEARS OF AGE , Wyatt Wagner is well on his way to a long and prosperous career in NHRA drag racing . Wagner has the car to get it done , and he ’ s steadily begun to show his hand as a capable driver in Super Stock . He ’ s been a Jr . Dragster points champion , a division champion , a national event winner , and an allstar , and this year , Wagner has been heavy in the hunt for the national title .
For the third-generation competitor , racing was something he always knew would be a large part of his life .
“ I never really thought about not doing it ,” says Wagner . “ My grandpa started racing in the ‘ 60s , my dad started racing in the ‘ 80s . It was just my turn .”
The Kansas native first got into a Jr . Dragster right around the age of 8 , but he wasn ’ t truly all-in for quite some time . Heavily involved in travel baseball until he was 18 , Wagner simply raced when he could . The coast-to-coast baseball experience absorbed most of any free time he might have otherwise had , but the decision was intentional .
“ My dad and I both had the thought that we would have time to race when that part was over , but we wouldn ’ t always have the chance to travel and play baseball . I ’ m glad we did it that way ,” he says .
When Wagner was 16 , he procured his current race car and began competing at the divisional level in NHRA ’ s Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series . He quickly began to tap into the racing genes that had previously lain dormant , and in his first year competing in the wheelstanding Super Stock class , Wagner was crowned the Division 5 champion and Rookie of the Year .
“ It was pretty cool to have success like that right off the bat ,” he says . “ Then to be a JEGS Allstar twice and win my first national event at our home track in Topeka last year . But I think I ’ m most proud of the fact that I get to do this with my dad . Everyone likes to win , but there are a lot of people out here by themselves while their family stays home . If it was something I had to go do on my own , I would – but I wouldn ’ t enjoy it as much as I do with him . We work well together , and we get to do this together . That ’ s my favorite part .”
It doesn ’ t hurt that Wagner drives a stunner of a race car . His striking Wagner ’ s Classic Cars- branded 1968 Chevrolet Camaro is actually a replica of the Super Stocker his dad , Scott Wagner , drove .
“ He ended up selling that car , but when I got old enough to race , that was the one I wanted ,” explains Wagner . “ So , we built another car to look just like that one , and that ’ s what I ’ ve been racing since I started . We finished the car two years before I was old enough to race , so my dad raced it a couple of years before I started . That car is my baby . We ’ re pretty close .”
On-track , Wagner ’ s steady demeanor is fearsome and has likely contributed to his speedy success . His attitude is one that makes it easy to bounce back when things don ’ t go quite as planned .
“ I don ’ t really get too worked up or stressed ,” says Wagner . “ Super Stock is my home , and Stock / Super Stock racing is just the kind of racing I like . What ’ s supposed to happen , will ; I just give it my best shot . My dad and I both accept that it is what it is , and we seem to have pretty good luck doing it that way .” – KELLY WADE DI
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