Cheryl Hryn, a Grundy County Speedway regular and race-car driver from Blue Island who recently has shifted her focus to kids’ events, is working to bring racing as a sport to local high schools.
She’s done this by contacting the High School Racing Association, an organization out of Madison, Wisconsin, which already had run races in Sycamore and Macon, south of Decatur.
Hryn said she’s been working through this idea since starting the back-to-school backpack giveaways she’s done at the race track a few times, and the High School Racing Association already has other tracks on board.
It works like this: Students supply and work on their own cars to participate in up to six races a year, whether at the Grundy County Speedway or another track in the region.
Students can earn points from there to qualify for local, regional and national championships.
“I went to the awards ceremony last year because my granddaughter was graduating from there, and it really hit me how much Morris and the [Grundy Area Vocational Center] pushes behind these kids to get them to find a career,” Hryn said. “When I saw automotive on the list of classes, I was just like, ‘Really?’ "
Hryn said she’s had productive conversations with people from the GAVC, Morris High School and Romeoville, and her Facebook posts checking for interest have received a lot of traction.
She’s looking at between 20 and 25 students interested, but she isn’t sure where that number will end up once it gets closer to a season next year. She spoke with Gregg McKarns, who is involved with the High School Racing Association and was in town promoting another race last July.
“I told him I really want to do this, and if I could get this off the ground I’d need his blessing,” Hryn said. “So I put some feelers out there to a couple of mom groups and town groups I’m in.”
Hryn has used Facebook to garner interest and has seen success, drawing more attention as a High School Racing Association division at the Grundy County Speedway becomes a reality.
High school student racers would compete against other high school students in a six-cylinder engine division, which Hryn said she hopes will have two branches.
“It’ll be one division with two branches,” Hryn said. “One division will be for high schoolers and the other can be for anybody, including the high schoolers if they want to race on those days.”
Any high school student interested in racing should visit highschoolracing.org for information.