HELENA — He’s not even "street legal," but at 13 years old, kart racer Chase Ballenger finds himself atop of an adult leader board.
Chase started with sprint karts when he was nine years old and took home the junior title back to back years before getting his waiver for the adult races. With four adult races under his belt, taking first in one, and seven to go, Chase has his eyes on the prize.
“I mean, it's, it's just cool, but I guess it's not. It's not going to be anything until the season's over,” Chase said.
Travis Ballenger, vice president of Montana Karting, said, “That's been interesting, because I've raced here for a number of years in the senior class. And for the first time, Chase, my son who's 13 years old, he got a waiver from the NKBA, which allows him to run in the senior class. So now we're competing together. And we're actually tied right now for points at the top of the leader board."
Being good enough to compete in the adult races isn't the only cool thing about chase - like all good drivers he’s got a number of sponsors.
“They just really helped me for like tires and stuff to provide for that. But they're just really helpful…to get like tires, like just these tires we got for their sponsor money. And then some like, I guess the fuel too, and then any safety for any like helmets and stuff.”
Chase looks up to pro drivers Lewis Hamilton and Chase Elliot and hopes to make race car driving his career.
“I prefer NASCAR, I guess. But then there's also IndyCar and Formula One on deal.”
The Ballengers and the rest of Montana Karting’s next race is July 30th and is free to the public. They host 11 races a year in Helena and are sanctioned by the National Karting Alliance.
“So to get into karting you really just need to show up at a track like ours, and then just just of watch and listen and talk to other drivers and then get an opportunity maybe to to borrow a cart and go out there and just take a drive. And once you do, I think you'll be hooked. I mean, it's the most fun ever. It really is,” Travis said.
You can learn more about Chase on his website.
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