Timms joins Day as the latest standout WoO
Ryan Timms will continue to follow the world of outlaws through the Fall West Coast Swing. (photo Tom Reichel)
BURLINGTON, Wash. — After finishing a junior sprint race, 13-year-old Ryan Timms was in front of a screen watching Brad Sweet win his first World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series championship.
It was a vision of a reality that the Oklahoma native hoped would be true for him one day.
Three years later, a day after turning 16, Timms passed Sweet on a late restart at Red River Valley Speedway to finish second in his second World of Outlaws start and first at the North Dakota track.
Although it was a cracking pass for many onlookers, the three-time defending World of Outlaws champion was unsurprised.
“I think Ryan Timms did a good job,” Sweet said. “We had some good 16-year-olds with us this year. The future is bright for the sport. It’s funny that there’s such a variety of riders here right now and so many riders capable of taking wins and being up front. It really is a tough competition.
Timms became the second driver this year to break the record for youngest podium finish, beating Corey Day by three months. Day twice finished in second place with the World of Outlaws in March during the West Coast Swing, driving two-time World of Outlaws champion Jason Meyers.
“I thought my record wouldn’t last long with this kid younger than me,” Day said on Twitter. “[Ryan Timms] is a bad man!
The two teenage stars who grew up racing against each other in the Micro Sprint ranks will once again face off for the Fall West Coast Swing with the outlaw world, starting with the Skagit Nationals. September 1-3 and through the 49er Gold Rush Classic at Placerville Speedway on September 17.
Day’s career path had the added benefit of being mentored by Meyer, while Timms and his family built their own program. Timms grew up going to the racetrack with his dad, Randy, who raced modified and late models.
Eventually, the pleasure of just watching ran out. He wanted to run.
His dad put him in a junior sprint at around seven and he worked his way up from there. Micros, midgets, 360 sprint cars and then 410 sprint cars, picking up multiple wins along the way.
As Ryan continued to win, a career path began to take shape.
Randy put aside his 25-year racing career to focus on his son’s. And with Ryan’s racing schedule growing every year, he went to full online school after eighth grade.
“It’s not too bad,” he said of the fit. “I can do everything on the computer. I can do it anytime. I’m a junior now, so I have next year and I’m done. I plan to do the full sprint car, I just plan to race all the time and hope I can do something with it because it’s all or nothing.
This year marks his first full season with the #5T 410 family sprint car and it didn’t take long for ‘Timms’ to become a household name in the sprint car community. With each stellar performance, including a win at Huset’s Speedway, the anticipation for his World of Outlaws debut grew.
When he finally turned 16, becoming eligible to run with the outlaw world, Timms gave the hype credit.
In his first start in World of Outlaws at River Cities Speedway on his birthday, he went from 17th to ninth in the feature, winning the KSE Hard Charger award. Then, the next night in Red River Valley, he passed his heroes to go down in history.
“It was kind of a pretty big shock,” Timms said. “I expected us to do good. Get podiums and stuff. I really didn’t think we were going to pass a second so quickly. To drive around someone like Brad Sweet and (David) Gravel and (Sheldon) Haudenschild, they’re some of the best guys on the Outlaw tour. It’s pretty crazy really. Now that I understand everything, it’s weird.
“I made a post on Twitter saying how weird it is to see me racing against Brad Sweet, but that’s pretty cool.”
He credits his early sprint car success to his days in the micro ranks. Racing at tracks like I-44 Riverside Speedway – about five minutes from his home – and Port City Raceway – now owned by World of Outlaws winner Shane Stewart – helped him develop skills he says sometimes made 410 sprint car races slow.
“Port City is one of the best micro tracks I think,” he said. “If you ever look at it, it looks like a winged sprint car race, just shrunken. It’s basically the same thing, I don’t know what you would call it, movements I guess. Same styling. It’s actually a much faster reaction time in some cases in pickups. It’s kind of like idling in a sprint car to me.
While Timms is already living a life on the road, chasing the outlaw world and chasing his sprint car dream, he’s still in first grade at school. That means going from racing on the weekends to having to wait for interviews during the week so he can take a test.
“It’s much better to go from testing to sprint cars,” Timms said.