Local seventh-grader wins national auto-racing event in Las Vegas
Austin Kryta traveled to Las Vegas with more than 300 of the nation’s top quarterback midget riders.
SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Austin Kryta, a seventh-grade student at Romeo Middle School in Shelby Township, traveled to Las Vegas with more than 300 of the nation’s top midget racers, where they gathered to compete in the Silver State Winter Nationals . Kryta picked up a win in her heavyweight Honda class quarterback midget.
The event takes place annually and is hosted by the Good Times Quarter Midget Racing Association in California.
Quarter Midget racing is a motor racing sport for children ages 5-16. The cars are about 1/4 the size of a midget car. they are open-wheel, have four-wheel suspension and, depending on engine class, reach speeds of 45 to 50 mph.
A driver competes in heat races and attempts to progress in cross-country racing. Kryta won her qualifying race and directly secured a place in the distance race. He raced in the South and the Midwest, and it was his first national win.
Eric Fitzpatrick, a third-generation runner and someone Kryta’s family rides many events with, said getting to Las Vegas to compete against the nation’s top midget runners took a giant effort coming from Michigan.
“Winning, on the other hand, was an even bigger effort. Austin edged out some of the fastest kids in the country on his way to victory. Austin proved himself lap after lap. ‘before after a first lap crash left him at the tail end of a field packed with talent. One by one he fought his way to first place until the ladies flew It was really inspiring to watch a young man his age rise to the top of his sport. He truly deserves his national title,” said Fitzpatrick.
From an early age, Kryta was interested in cars and anything with a motor. He’s been racing since 2018. He first spotted midget quarterbacks at the Detroit Autorama, where midget quarterback cars were on display, and he dragged his dad around to watch them multiple times and ask questions.
Austin’s father, John, and uncle, James, teamed up to get Austin into racing. Austin started out at a local track and quickly fell in love with the competition. His dad and uncle started taking him to regional events and eventually filled most weekends with trips and races.
Today, race weekends are a family affair, as Austin’s mom, Darlene, streams races live on Krybaby Performance for the team’s Facebook followers and posts content to YouTube to help d other families interested in running.
John said Austin grew up around cars, and John tried all mainstream sports with him, but Austin loved anything with wheels.
“I made the mistake of promising him a dirt bike if he learned to ride a bike. When he was 3 years old, he insisted on taking the training wheels off, and to my surprise, he rode it So I stalled on the dirt bike until he was 5, and he jumped on it and rode it in. I knew from a young age that he loved cars, because he was always waving at every sports car that passed. Yeah, I like cars too, but this kid has a mind of his own,” John said via email.
While John initially resisted the commitment the race would mean, he eventually relented.
“Many times on the track, we would practice and do the Austin 500. It’s 500 practice laps, and his last words were always ’20 more laps, please’. Over the years, he’s grown in many ways and adapts to whatever car you put him in. He’s raced quarter midgets, go-karts, Indy karts, and off-road oval karts, and when you ask him his favorite is always the last car he raced,” John said.
John said motorsport racing is a family affair, gathering support from his family members, and it gives him more time with his son as Austin grows into a teenager.
“We’ve spent countless weekends on the track, and I’m so grateful that when he grows up he’ll consider that time the best of his life,” he said.
Darlene said that in 2021 Austin expanded its runs and started doing other forms.
“He also locally races a dirt oval kart and a Sprint Indy kart on local and regional road courses. John started a local kids’ racing league at Full Throttle Adrenaline Park in Sterling Heights in 2020 to give kids time during the winter months, and as a place to ‘try’ racing without investing in cars,” she said.
Austin holds multiple track championships, and this year he added a dirt oval championship at Arthur Speedway in Reese, Michigan, and a Sprint Indy kart championship at East Lansing Kart Track.
Call editor Kara Szymanski at (586) 498-1029.