Tryton Temple enjoying stellar rookie season in South Texas

Tryton Temple enjoying stellar rookie season
By Phil Whipple, Staff Writer. Photo By: Rachel Plant

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — As older fans of short track stock car racing enjoy the influx of new talent coming into the sport, it’s interesting to see the different levels of success these newcomers are achieving.

Rare is the occasion when a teenager steps into a full-size stock car and wheels his way to Victory Lane without a ton of seat time. Yet for 16-year-old Tryton James Temple, a boatload of natural ability and a relentless desire to succeed has taken him there.

Temple runs in the Factory Stock class at Texana Raceway, and he also competes in the Pure Stock division at I-37 Speedway in Pleasanton. In 15 combined starts this season, he’s won three times and finished third or better on 13 occasions. It’s a rookie season worth noting, and Temple says he’s thrilled.

“We’re really just getting better at tuning the car for track conditions,” Temple said of the reasons for his sensational rookie performances. “Depending on whether we have a dry or slick racing surface, we tune our setup with different springs and shocks to get the best handling. It’s been working well for us.”

That speed and consistency has put Temple atop the point standings at Texana, while he’s currently second in points at I-37. While there are challenges to running two tracks, Temple has it figured out.

“We have to change tires, shocks and all kinds of stuff between the two ovals,” Temple said. “We put in hours and hours during the week on not only the conversion, but to find more speed. It is a ton of work, but we’re seeing how it can pay off. With all this practice, at least we’re getting faster at the changes.”

This second-generation driver comes from good stock. His father, Tommy, made a name for himself on asphalt back when it was still popular in south Texas.

“He raced a lot at places like San Antonio Speedway, CC Speedway and at Central Texas Speedway,” the younger Temple explained. “He traveled around to different paved tracks but moved to dirt after asphalt racing died out around here. He still misses the San Antonio facility, and I think we all do.”

Temple won’t spend his entire oval career in the Factory and Pure Stock classes. That raw natural talent behind the wheel will no doubt propel him to success as he climbs the racing ladder. He is enjoying the ride for now, but says he has his eyes on a specific class for on down the road.

“I’d really love to go IMCA Modified racing some day,” Temple explained. “The chance to go touring at different tracks and be protected by the sanction rules is very appealing. There is a lot of strong competition in that division down here in south Texas and up north. I’d like to drive one of those cars.”

Just like his more experienced rivals, Temple has a handful of key individuals who contribute greatly to the success of his racing program. Race teams can’t operate very efficiently without a whole lot of help.

“The first person I need to thank is my Dad,” Temple said. “He does everything from securing funding to working hard in the shop. I could never do this without him, and appreciate his efforts. We also have Josh Sewell helping out in the shop with our setups and even working on the body. He is awesome. I also need to thank my mechanic, Robert Elizondo. He has a ton of talent.

“Our shock specialist is Blake Harris, the Car Chief for Martin Truex Jr. He took us under his wing a couple of months ago and our performance has skyrocketed ever since. He’s priceless to us.”

Along with a reliable, skilled team to keep the car on-track, it also takes financial support to win races and stay consistent. Temple is blessed to have several fine businesses support his efforts.

“We are blessed to have some great folks on board for my rookie season in a stock car,” Temple said. “I have to thank Temple Services, that’s my Dad’s business. My Mom’s business helps us out, as well, and I appreciate her very much.

“I have great support from KH Suspension, Destroyer Chassis, Jimbo Van Blarcum, who buys us some tires, Dr. Ellis Main, and Wes Whitley, our local AMSOIL dealer. They all mean so much to me.”

As we move through the busy summer season and the pace picks up in south Texas, Temple and his team have a clear goal. It’s a lofty one for any rookie, yet surely not out of reach given his hot streak.

“I’d really like to win the championship at Texana this year,” Temple said in a serious manner. “I’d also like to sew up the Pure Stock title at I-37 Speedway, and pick up some more wins along the way. It’s been an incredible rookie season so far, we’re going to work hard to keep this momentum going.”