Day Motor Sports Driver Profile: Kevin Sitton wraps up strong year in Late Models

BAYTOWN, Texas —  In the past several years, there’s been an effort made to build up Late Model racing in South Texas. Kody Hardage did a great job with his Southern Touring Late Model Series, and now Owen Pittman is providing a lift with his new All-Star Crate Late Model program.  

For 40-year-old short track veteran Kevin Sitton, Crate Late Model racing is a perfect fit. Despite a high level of competition in his region, he put up some solid numbers this year. In 27 starts, he earned five wins, 12 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes. He’s quick to credit his car owner for the success. 

“There are a few reasons why we’ve enjoyed a good year, and the first is my car owner,” Sitton said. “If it wasn’t for Eric Neal, I wouldn’t be doing this. He owns the car and equipment, and pretty much gives us free reign to race where and when we choose. I’m closing out my sixth year driving for Eric.

“Another reason for the success is a strong car; it isn’t new but it’s been updated and runs great. We work hard in the shop, as well, hoping to be fast when we unload for Hot Laps. Most people look at our sport, and just don’t realize how much work it takes behind the scenes to be competitive at this level.”

Sitton has been active on the dirt ovals for over two decades. He came up through the ranks and paid his dues long before he became successful in Late Model racing. 

“I started out when I was 18 years old in the Bomber class,” he explained. “I won some races there, then moved up to Limited Modified for a while. We did pretty well in those, and eventually had the opportunity to get into a Late Model. I’ve never actually owned a race car myself, which is weird. 

“But I’ve always had offers to drive for others, and I’ve had some fantastic car owners. Right now I have an excellent working relationship with Eric, that’s why we’re doing well. So I’ve been lucky to have good car owners with nice equipment who had faith in my abilities. I’ve been truly blessed.” 

As we mentioned above, the level of competition Sitton faces in his region each time out is pretty stiff. 

“The pit areas wherever we go are loaded with talent,” he said. “You always have four or five guys who are super fast, then a handful of others who can still win if they hit it just right. We experiment with our setups a lot; it’s how you learn and get better. And when we get it right, we can even beat them.” 

When Sitton puts on his safety suit and gets ready to race, he climbs into a very well-built machine. 

“I drive a 2016 Longhorn chassis, and it is an excellent car,” he explained. “It has the 2020 updates on it, and is powered by a motor from Ingram Racing Engines. I couldn’t ask for any better; the Longhorn is probably the best chassis out there in my opinion. It’s a very competitive piece, and I love it.” 

Along with his 22 years of experience and top-notch car, Sitton also has some key folks in his corner. 

“I really need to thank my Dad for all he does for my racing program,” he said. “I also want to thank Eric Neal at Mirage Industrial Group, Copano Pools & Spas, Strategen Shocks & Suspension, Ed George Racing, Best Auto Parts and Day Motor Sports. I appreciate all they do, and could not compete in this division without their support.” 

As we spoke via telephone on Thursday afternoon, Sitton was loading his trailer for a trip to Corpus Christi where he’ll participate in this weekend’s South Texas Shootout at South Texas Race Ranch. It’s a huge weekend for every class, and Sitton will compete in the All-Star Crate Late Model series. 

“It’s going to be a big deal there, and we’re excited to go try and get us one more win on the year,” Sitton concluded. “It’s going to be warmer than normal for December, which I don’t mind. The car has been strong the last few times out, and we have a plan in place for this weekend. 

“I’m probably going to do the same thing next year as we did in 2022; we’ll run Owen’s All-Star Crate Late series, Dustin Daniel’s All-American Crate Late Model tour up in North Texas, and maybe try to hit a few weekly shows here and there as our schedule allows. We’re just out there doing our best.” 

By Phil Whipple, Staff Writer
Photo by Rachel Plant