By: Lucas Halbert - Grassroots Racing News
Fairfield, Illinois (11/01/2021)... Some opportunities are given, some opportunities are earned. Sixteen-year-old Steven Snyder Jr. earned his.
Steven was introduced to racing by his Uncle Cody at five years old. It started as a test in a quarter-midget to see if he liked it, and he did. Snyder Jr. and his dad got a car and dove right in. Over the next eight years, Steven won six USAC .25 championships, five on dirt, and one on pavement.
At thirteen, Snyder Jr. moved up the 600cc Micro Sprints, racing the best around in Pennsylvania. Fast forward three years, and Steven already has one track championship under his belt, which he captured this year at Action Track USA in Kutztown, PA.
With the season over at Kutztown, Snyder Jr. turned his sights towards the KKM Giveback Classic at Port City Raceway in Tulsa, Oklahoma. After flipping in the A-Main on his preliminary night on Friday, Steven just hoped to make the A-Main when Saturday evening rolled around.
He did so, after transferring in from the B-Main, the Rising Sun, Maryland native started fourteenth in the A-Main. The feature was a sixty-seven-lap shootout of endurance, skill, and precision around the bullring on the outskirts of Tulsa. The winner had a choice of $15,000 or $5,000 with a free Keith Kunz Motorsports 2022 Chili Bowl Nationals ride.
Starting seven rows deep with sixty-seven laps to battle gave Steven plenty of time to move forward. From the get-go, he took his Hyper #21S down to the bottom, passing cars using the short way around. While rolling the bottom, Steven broke his left front shock, but he had no idea till he went to the top.
Steven had a good idea it was broke as he began riding the rim up high. He told Tyler Burnett and Dillon Welch of the Loudpedal Podcast that the car "Would not set as he was entering the corners, and felt like it (the left front) was floating."
A red flag with a few laps to go was when track officials told Snyder Jr. the left front shock was broken. Of all four shocks on the car driver's need, the left front is the least needed, so he decided to push on as he would restart second with six to go.
Steven stayed on the bottom as leader Daison Pursley went back to the top. Steven was able to get by and hold off the Pursley for the big win.
Moments later, Steven was standing in victory lane, celebrating with his dad and crew. He had to make one of the hardest decisions of his young life, $5,000 and a free KKM Chili Bowl ride or $15,000. Steven chose the Keith Kunz Motorsports Chili Bowl ride. The ride is a dream come true for many, one that many will never experience, but Steven has it waiting for him in January. "Having the opportunity to drive a Midget for Keith is just incredible, I didn't want to miss the opportunity, so I took the ride."
$15,000 is a good amount of money, but it did not waver his mind from advice he had received, "Someone told me money comes and goes, but an opportunity like that does not."
Steven has no prior experience driving a Midget, so how will he prepare for the Super Bowl of Motorsports in January? Snyder Jr. will look to Alex Bright and the 2020 KKM Giveback Classic winner Brian Carber for insight. Outside of Hyper Racing teammates, Steven has already begun watching film of onboard cameras on YouTube. Another outlet Snyder Jr. will turn to is iRacing, where he can drive on the simulated version of the track.
His first real-world experience racing in the Tulsa Expo Center will be the Tulsa Shootout from December 28th, 2021 through January 1st, 2022. Steven will run in all four main classes of the Shootout, Outlaw Wing, Outlaw Non-Wing, A-Class, and Non-Wing. The experience gained in the Expo Center will be invaluable for the 2022 Chili Bowl Nationals less than two weeks later.
What else is Steven Snyder Jr. doing until January? Keeping up with grades, celebrating the holidays, hunting deer, and probably playing some corn hole; all things he likes to do when not working on his car.
Steven would like to thank everyone who has been there to help him, Hyper Racing, Extreme Towing, Autumn Builders, R. Nichols Home Improvement, Above The Line Automotive, SS Drywall, EVO+, Mike and Brooke Fauci, and his parents.
To keep up with Steven and his racing career, you can like his Facebook page, Steven Snyder Jr. Racing.