Tyler Holcomb: His Guiding Force, His Dad

Tyler Holcomb: His Guiding Force, His Dad

Pamela Currie rushed to hug her son Tyler Holcomb in victory lane. While Tyler’s father, Charles Holcomb, was not physically there, his spirit was certainly present. The monumental win came in the Short Track SuperNationals limited sportsman event last Friday at Afton Motorsports Park in New York.

Last May, the elder Holcomb succumbed to stage IV skin cancer, just four months after his diagnosis. Tyler painted his father’s old car number, 57J, on his car for the SuperNationals. He also added “Race as Hard as Dad Fights” to his back spoiler panel. Under Tyler’s fire suit, he wore a T-shirt with “Rest in Peace Charles Holcomb” printed on it. Furthermore, he carried a vial of his father’s ashes under his suit.

“I felt [my father] pushing my car across the finish line,” Tyler, 17, of Franklin, New York, said. “I knew my mom would be emotional when I got to victory lane.”

While Charles was alive, he was too ill to see his son make his debut in competition with his limited sportsman.

“Charles only was able to go to two of Tyler’s practice sessions early this year,” said Pamela. “When Tyler won his first race on May 3, he took the trophy to the hospital to show his dad. Charles gave him a thumbs-up.”

Racing wasn’t always on Tyler’s radar, despite his father racing street stocks. That changed after a passenger car accident in 2019, when his friend had driven into a tree.

It took 19 units of blood to keep Tyler alive. He had nine skull fractures, two broken femurs, a crushed pelvis, and other broken bones.

“I was in a coma and woke up to be told I would never walk again,” Tyler said. “I was stubborn, and I would not be told I couldn’t walk.”

Tyler eventually regained the ability to walk, but he could never again play the stick-and-ball sports he enjoyed.

“It was my dad who thought of racing as a sport for me,” said Tyler. “He encouraged me to heal so I could be a driver. I may not be able to play those other sports, but I could race. He wound up surprising me with a slingshot.”

In turn, Tyler surprised his father.

“My dad never won [a race], but he always finished in the top three,” Tyler said. “When I won my first slingshot race, I kidded him how I won a feature before he did.”

Since moving into the limited sportsman class at Afton Motorsports Park, Tyler Holcomb has won seven features. Next season, he looks to move up the ranks and continue his father’s racing legacy.

“I hope to run in the regular crate division at Fonda Speedway, Accord Speedway, and Glen Ridge Motorsports Park,” said Tyler. “I dedicated this season to my dad — I owe my career to my dad.”

Tyler Holcomb (left), with his father, Charles.