There must be fuel in the veins

Published 5:36 pm Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The only real memory I have of either of my grandfathers is I share a first and, coincidentally, a last name with the one on my father’s side.

We didn’t share hobbies, stories, or much else for that matter when I was growing up. It’s not because I didn’t love them, or even that I didn’t want to spend time with them. I remember clearly that I did.

It’s because I barely got to know them. You see, the one I share the name with died a year before I was born and the other, who had divorced from my grandmother, died early on in my childhood.

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The simple fact that I wasn’t able to share much with my parents’ fathers makes stories about grandfathers and grandsons spending time with one another all the more important and touching to this reporter.

Both 22-year-old Chris White and 17-year-old Matthew Chavers can trace their love for getting behind the wheel back to their grandfathers. The two young men were the winner and runner up last week in the super-pro race at Atmore Dragway.

White, the race winner, said his grandfather, Billy Ray White, got him into racing at a young age and he’s dedicated this season to him.

“This year I’ve been racing for my grandpa,” the Atmore native and current Loxley resident said. “He passed away, but if it weren’t for him I wouldn’t be doing it.”

White said his grandfather and dad have both been involved in racing since 1984 or 1985 and they would take him to the track every weekend in his childhood and his grandfather would “talk with him about how to work on cars and how to keep them up.”

“We were at the track every week,” he said.

White and wife Skylar, are expecting their first child in May, which means this season has an even greater meaning.

“I’m also racing for diaper money,” he said.

Chavers is a student at Flomaton High School and also got started because of his grandfather.

“My grandpa always raced,” he said. “I started as a junior dragster, but I’ve been in the big car for four years.”

He said he’s pretty much at the track on every weekend that has nice enough weather.

“It’s just fun,” said the son of Kathy and Michael Chavers. “It gives me something to do. I just enjoy it.”

While the way each got into racing is similar their cars are not. White drives a 1979 Chevrolet Malibu with a 355 small-block Chevrolet engine. White is sponsored by his employer, Mountz Pro out of Foley.

Chavers takes control of a Sptizer dragster with a 468 big-block engine. He is sponsored by Mike’s Truck and Trailer in Atmore.

Both said they would like a future in racing. Chavers, who earned $1,250 in last weekend’s race, said his goal next season is to earn $20,000 on the track. White would like to go professional one day.

“I have my sights set on making a career of it,” White said.

I hope to hear more and I also hope I’ll be able to write more about these two in the future. For now, I’m sure you’ll be able to see them at the track any nice weekend.