RPW Column: No Matter The Negative In ’22, Young Racer Levi Riley Turned It Into A Positive
Column By: BILLY HODGES / RPW – ADDISON, NY – The ups and downs of the 2022 season for Woodhull Raceway Crate Sportsman driver Levi Riley proved to produce more positives than negatives.
That helped him learn more about himself and how to be a better racer heading into 2023.
Riley, the 17-year-old racer from Addison, NY came home seventh in season points with two feature wins, four heat race victories and the division Rookie of the Year award.
Unfortunately, the 00R was involved in a bad wreck during the season on the front stretch. Even though this was a tough spot of the season, Levi’s father, Randy, said his son learned a lot from it.
“Getting in that wreck actually showed him that he always has to be up on the wheel,” Randy Riley said. “It also showed him that he had to be ready at all times because anything can happen in a split second. Reaction time is key and sometimes you are caught at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
According to Levi, that wreck showed him a lot.
“It sucked being in a wreck like that, but I think it’ll be pivotal to my career,” Levi said. “I got to see what it means to be alert at all times. That did a lot of damage to four or five cars, mine included, but everybody was ok and nobody got hurt, thank God.”
The team got the car back together, putting their HigFab Chassis back in racing shape within a week.
“That was a long week,” he said. “I really can’t thank my crew enough. They worked their butts off.”
The hard work paid off in a big way. Levi went on to win his qualifying heat and wheeled his way to the second feature win of the season, holding off a hard-charging Kenny Peoples Jr.
Seven days after a low point of the season, Riley and his team reached the top of the mountain. That showed that hard work and dedication pays off.
Riley’s confidence grew tremendously in just a short about of time as well.
For the 2023 season, the 00R team will have a brand new 2023 HigFab Chassis coil car at their disposal for the bigger tracks. They’ll also have their 2022 HFC for the short tracks.
Plans, as of now, are to race at Tyler Siri’s Outlaw Speedway on Friday nights weekly. They are uncertain if they’ll run anywhere on Saturday’s but will enter as many Short Track Super Series events as possible.
Dedication is the name of the game, though, for Riley. He spends countless hours in the shop with his team attending to the weekly maintenance on both of his cars.
“We work as much as we can to get our equipment in top shape,” he said. “I have to thank my grandfather (Eric Riley) for allowing us to use his shop and giving me the opportunity to follow my dreams.”
Outside of the cockpit, Riley plans to attend Hobart Institute of Welding Technology to further his career in welding and fabrication. He plans to open his own Fab Shop one day.
He’ll also be competing in a 24-hour dirt bike race, the 2023 Northeast 24‑Hour Challenge, by himself. He’ll run one bike on a 12-mile course, all by himself. How’s that for grueling?
Sponsors for the 00R this season will come from Riley Repairs, Dunning Auto Parts NAPA, Aarons Heating and Air Conditioning, Copper Transportation, Hometown Excavation, Dad’s Septic Service, Johnny & Junes Salon, Town & Country Disposal, Petro Designs, Twin Tier Detailing and We Print Vinyl.
His crew consists of Levi’s Grandfather, his brother, Dylan, Jakob Banks, Connor Smith, Brandon Clark and, most importantly, his father, Randy.
The 2022 season was one of many twists and turns for young Levi Riley. However, every time he felt knocked down, there were several positives to help build him back up.
Those positives will have a great effect on his 2023 season so he can hit the ground running, and hopefully land in victory lane more and more.