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Gilmer captures IKF Region 11 points championship

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Gilmer captures IKF Region 11 points championship

Jarrett Gilmer poses for a shot with his numerous awards and trophies Thursday at home in Manteca.

BRANDON PETERSEN/The Bulletin


POSTED June 26, 2009 2:17 a.m.
Racing is in his blood.

Jarrett Gilmer, an 8-year-old third grader at Veritas School, already has three years of kart racing experience under his belt and a garage full of golden hardware to back it up.

But this year Gilmer captured the big prize, the International Karting Federation Region 11 points championship.

Region 11, which encompasses Northern California, Southern Oregon and Northern Nevada, hosts five races out of Redding, Atwater, Stockton, Medford, Ore., and Reno, Nev.

A heady, technical racer who relies on strategy rather than pure speed, Gilmer captured wins at Reno and Medford, and took second place in two other events.

“Medford was difficult,” Gilmer said. “And Reno was about the same. There was one fast kid (at Medford) and two fast kids (at Reno).”

Gilmer also has two other wins under his belt this season, one each at Blue Max Racetrack in Davis and Atwater Kart Track.

“He eats, drinks and sleeps race cars,” Gilmer’s grandfather and crew chief, Donny, said. “From watching it on television to racing himself, he loves it.”

Gilmer’s favorite local hero is late-model racer Michael Wendt out of Stockton. Nationally, there’s none better in the young racer’s mind than Jeff Gordon, which is why Gilmer, who races under JAG Racing, sports the No. 2 on his kart.

According to mylaps.com, Gilmer and the rest of the field in Reno, a three-quarter-mile track, reached speeds of up to 60 miles-per-hour.

“Reno had 12 or 13 turns, it was a very technical course,” Donny said. “The more technical a track is the better Jarrett does. We’re racing against people with very fast motors, and on motor tracks they tend to run off and beat us. But when there are a lot of turns and they have to slow down, that’s where he excels.”

Said Jarrett’s mother, Sheree: “We don’t have the fastest motor by far. But Jarrett makes up for the lack of motor in his driving skills.”

An aggressive racer, Gilmer is known for drafting behind faster drivers and not making his move to the front until the final lap.

It’s a strategy that often raises the blood pressure of his family, friends and fans, but in the end seems to pay off more often than not.

 “We practice sometimes three times a week,” Donny said. “We’ve raced eight races this year including the club races. He has five wins and two second-place finishes.”

Gilmer’s passion for racing is undeniable. So much so that Donny quit his crew work on late models this year to help develop his grandson’s burgeoning career.

“If he didn’t have the energy, the desire and the soul for it, the racing would go south,” Sheree said. “At 3-years-old, he saw Jeff Gordon on the back of a magazine, and he wouldn’t answer to anything but ‘Jeff.’”

And of course, like every seasoned racer, Gilmer was quick to credit his sponsors while posing for pictures on his kart Thursday night.

“I just want to thank my sponsors,” he said. “Wendt Construction, Steve’s Masonry, Lemos Construction, Womele Auto Parts and JB Electric.”

Added Donny with a smile: “And the relatives.”
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