For most of the past two seasons, it has been Drake Troutman; his mother, Lori (pictured); and the rest of their crew for their family-owned effort. This year, Troutman got to offer to drive a modified for Jerry Foster. So far, it’s paid off. He started off the Winternationals at East Bay Raceway Park with a win (pictured) and has three top-fives in three races, so far, at the Tampa, Florida, track. Prior to that, he got a pair of top-fives at North Florida Speedway in Lake City.
“Driving Jerry’s modified is the next chapter in my racing career,” Troutman, 17, of Hyndman, Pennsylvania, said. “We were given an opportunity. I felt I should take it and run with it while we have it.”
(For more on Troutman in past years, read “Drake Troutman: “The Kid” Who Won the Winternationals”.)
Troutman crossed paths with Foster, of Pasadena, Maryland, for the past four seasons. Foster assembled a team that blended his existing one with Troutman’s.
“The transition to driving Jerry’s modifieds was pretty smooth and easy,” said Troutman. “We’ve teamed up — my crew and his — and we have a lot of help from Longhorn [Chassis].”
Last season, Troutman raced a car from MB Customs.
“The whole car is different,” Troutman said of chassis change. “With the Longhorn chassis, you have to keep the car straight. I used to get in the turns and get my car bent. The fastest way around a racetrack is to keep your car as straight as possible, and we can accomplish this with the Longhorn chassis.”
Fortunately, Troutman has a wealth of people will to help him make the transition to the new car.
“[Longhorn Chassis’] Steve Arpin and Troy Loomis have been there to help us out,” said Troutman. “Ethan Dotson from California is driving the Longhorn house car, and we have become good buddies. We talk on the phone all the time. [Engine builder] Chad [Mullins] and I speak, too. It is great to have all these people in our corner.”
Drake Troutman hopes to race in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series or World of Outlaws Late Model Series someday. He hopes this deal racing for Jerry Foster leads to rides at those levels down the road.
“Driving for Jerry could be a stepping stone,” Troutman said. “We have the chance to make a big impression in the modifieds. We’re racing with Kyle [Strickler], Ricky [Thornton Jr.] and Nick [Hoffman]. It may lead to picking up a late model ride.
“I can’t afford to run a Lucas deal on my own and run it the right way. Deals are few and far between. We took this ride because it is a great opportunity to be with great people. If we do well, it will help us in the long term.”
This year marks the Outside Groove Director of Photography’s 51st year of covering auto racing. Adaskaveg got his start working for track photographer Lloyd Burnham at Connecticut’s Stafford Motor Speedway in 1970. Since then, he’s been a columnist, writer, and photographer, in racing and in mainstream media, for several outlets, including the Journal Inquirer, Boston Herald, Stock Car Racing, and Speedway Illustrated. Among Adaskaveg’s many awards are the 1992 Eastern Motorsport Press Association (EMPA) Ace Lane Photographer of the Year and the 2019 National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) George Cunningham Writer of the Year.