Day Motor Sports Driver Profile: Kolby Whitworth honing his skills in Jr. Limiteds

WOLFE CITY, Texas — In the last few years, we’ve seen a number of bright young talents out there on the dirt ovals of Texas making their own mark on our sport. With so many starting out in Karts when they’re barely two feet tall, it’s no wonder they display the skills of a veteran long before you’d expect. 

For 10-year-old rising star Kolby Whitworth, paying dues and honing skills is already a way of life. After a couple of successful seasons in Karts, he stepped up to the full size Junior Limited machine in 2022, earning three wins in 14 starts along with 13 top-five finishes. His future sure looks bright. 

Whitworth is the son of veteran racer and now chassis builder Kyle Whitworth, owner at Dynamic Dirt Cars. Kyle, Kolby and younger brother Kolt represent a family that lives and breathes dirt track racing.

“I expected maybe we could get one win, but was lucky enough to earn three,” a humble Whitworth said. “I did wreck once and had a bad finish, but we bounced back the next week. I learned a lot as the year went along, but have more to learn out there this season.” 

While he may be a little biased, Kyle says his son picked up on the bigger car the way he did in Karts. 

“In my heart, I knew he was going to be fine,” the elder Whitworth added. “When we started out in the Karts, he won in just his fourth or fifth start. He raced for five straight weekends, and I could tell from the progress he was making he had talent. He was just so smooth right away.” 

Yet being successful in Karting is one thing; strapping into a full-sized car and winning is another.  

“We moved him up a couple of age groups in the Karts, and he continued to win. They had a class at Superbowl in Greenville for Junior Limiteds, so we figured since I build cars anyway, it would be a lot cheaper to just build him a car and make that move. His mother had reservations, all tied to his safety.  

“Once she saw that safety is always a priority and Kolby would be fine, she supported the idea.”

Kyle’s own career on the ovals was extensive, yet his reward today comes from seeing his sons race. 

“I raced for about 18 years or so,” he explained. “I started in 2004 when I was 14 years old, driving in the old Jr. Mini four-cylinder division. It was nothing like it is today; I can’t imagine being Kolby in a big car back when I started. 

“I was 15 before I got my first Sport Mod, so he’s ahead of me by six years. He’s already twice the driver I was at that age. I’d like to think part of his advantage now comes from all the things I learned in my years. He won’t have to struggle through some of the stuff I did, and he has good equipment.” 

As for his son, he got started behind the wheel much earlier than  most. 

“I started driving Karts in 2019, and moved up to the Jr. Limited in 2022,” Kolby explained. “So I’ve been racing for four years overall. I’m glad I had the chance to advance last year, because the Junior Limiteds are a great place to learn. Karting was getting too easy, it was time for my next challenge. 

“My main focus now is I want to learn from the fast guys. I want to follow them, watch their lines and see what they’re doing. I know that’s the only way I’ll get better, to learn from the veterans.” 

You may think driving a car that looks and acts for all practical intents and purposes like a Sport Mod/Limited Modified (with less power and other restrictions) at the tender age of nine is scary. 

“When I first climbed into one last year to go out for Hot Laps, I was pretty scared,” the driver said with candor. “I was worried about getting wrecked and getting hurt. But in my first race I saw the safety equipment was doing its job, holding me in place. I was fine, I just had to get used to it.” 

As any racer learns shortly after getting involved in the sport, maintaining the car during the week is key to success on the weekends. For Whitworth, working alongside Dad in the shop is a blast. 

“I love to work on my race car during the week, because it teaches me more about the machine under me at the race track,” he said. “The more I know about the car, the more things we try on it, the better I can be as a driver. Just like racing against the best drivers, it’s the only way to learn and improve.” 

Whitworth Motorsports just returned from a trip to Shawnee, Oklahoma, this past weekend, where Kolt tried his hand on the oval while Dad and big brother provided pit support. 

“I had a great time helping my little brother up there,” Whitworth explained. “I’m the reason he got in that car, he wanted to race so Dad put him in my old Kart once I moved up to Jr. Limiteds. He’s going to follow in Dad’s and my footsteps, as well.” 

Dad says the youngest racer in the clan made his debut last year, and showed big talent. 

“He had a stellar season in his first full year of Karting, winning 14 of 15 races he entered. He’s shaping up to be a pretty good shoe himself. I’m a proud and happy Dad.”

Along with his supportive family and amazing talent behind the wheel of a race car, Kolby also has several valued sponsors that keep his program on-track and successful. 

“I need to thank Dynamic Dirt Cars, London Farms, 903 Broadband, KW Construction, Texoma Tournaments & Pac Sports, Saye Plumbing, Powder Addictionz, City Auto Parts, Herndon’s Paint & Body, TSK Designs, Rush Race Gear, Bell Overhead Door, Whitey Race Engines, Tim Petty and Associates and Rodney White Motorsports. I appreciate their support of our race team.” 

These days, it seems the off-season is shorter than ever. The 2023 lid-lifters at tracks all over Texas will be here before you know it, and at the Whitworth shop plans are coming together nicely. 

“We’re building a new car for Kolby this year, our plan is to keep Kolby in Junior Limited a year or two,” Kyle concluded. “Once he starts wining all the time, we’ll move him up to Econo Mods, the next stepping stone before a Sport Mod. He has a goal of his own that he’d like to achieve one day.” 

“Before I ever get to Sport Mods, I want to beat my uncle Corey in Econo Mods,” Kolby said without hesitation. “He races in that division, so I want to get up there and just destroy him every lap of every race. It’s my goal, and I’m going to get there. For now, I have more to learn more in Junior Limiteds.”   

By Phil Whipple, Staff Writer
Photo by Stacy Kolar/Southern Sass Photography