Elijah Todd has been no stranger to winning since beginning his go-kart career last year. Todd has picked up right where he left off last season, as last year’s Tennessee State Series and Tennessee Dirt Kart Association champion has won five of his first six races this season.
Todd has been busy in the opening month of the kart season, as he opened his season in Toney, Ala., and has since run five races throughout Tennessee.
The opening race at Beaver Creek Speedway was the only one Todd wasn’t able to win, as he was spun out on lap four. Todd went to the back of the pack, but recovered to finish seventh out of a field of 23.
Todd showed the ability to bounce back from a less-than-stellar start by winning five straight races. In four of those races, Todd went wire-to-wire in the front, as he began in the pole position and took the checkered flag at the end.
Though Todd, who is 9 years old, normally races against children two years his senior, it hasn’t stopped him from being dominant. Todd already owns two wins in the Tennessee State Series and two more in the Tennessee Dirt Kart Association, setting himself up nicely to defend his titles.
During his first six races, Todd has ran in Strawberry Plains at Ashway Speedway and Kodak to run the Dumplin Valley course.
It was in Kodak where Todd got to meet one of his heroes on the Nascar circuit. Daytona 500 winner and Knoxville native Trevor Bayne was attending the races at Dumplin Valley, the place he began his racing career. Todd was able to speak with Bayne, giving him even more motivation to continue to work toward his dream of being a NASCAR driver.
Todd will put his driving skills to the test in a place where NASCAR runs two races a year. Todd will spend the weekend in Bristol racing, hoping to continue his long winning streak at Beechnut Speedway.
Todd will then move on to Chatsworth, Ga., the next weekend and has races lined up in North Carolina, Alabama and South Carolina before his summer driving is over.
Jamie Todd, Elijah’s father, makes all the trips with his son. Though Jamie has grown accustomed to his son racing around tracks at over 60 mph, his wife Ericka still has to provide a calming influence when Jamie worries about the races.
“Ericka is the calm one, whereas I’m the one who gets nervous,” said Jamie Todd. “Elijah flipped last year and wrecked the kart. He was OK, but I was a wreck.
“Ericka assured me and said Elijah loves racing and is good so we got a new kart.”
Todd’s races are a family experience, as Jamie and Ericka are there for him, along with his sisters McKayla and Adeline. McKayla and Adeline serve as Elijah’s pit crew, washing tires and running errands.
The Todd family figures to be busy for a while, as Elijah is scheduled to run races through the summer and into the fall. Last season, Elijah competed in races on Halloween and Thanksgiving and is hopeful to duplicate the feat.
For now, Todd will continue to run locally in hopes of winning as many races as possible. If you catch a kart race, Todd should be easy to spot. Just look out front, its where you will normally find McMinnville’s youngest speed demon.