Josh Vinyard: Making It at His Own Speed

Josh Vinyard: Making It at His Own Speed

As Josh Vinyard can attest to, not all racers immediately start at the top with the best of equipment. While it took him years, Vinyard now has a competitive ride, which he looks to race with in the American All-Star Series Presented by PPM Products event at Rockcastle Speedway on Saturday, May 4.

“I grew up in a poor family, extremely poor,” said Vinyard, of Harrodsburg, Kentucky. “We would go to the races on Friday night at Ponderosa [Speedway in Junction City, Kentucky]. Just for us to go to the races, we had to eat bologna sandwiches throughout the week.”

When he was about 25 years old, he’d go to the races and crew for whomever he could. Some of those names include top Kentucky racers such as Michael Chilton, Bartley Grant, and Victor Lee.

“I couldn’t afford to race, but I could afford to go in there and feel like somebody,” Vinyard said of the experience crewing for others. “I’d go in and help … just to learn a little more about it.”

A friend of Vinyard’s introduced him to someone with a super stock without an engine. Vinyard, who had competed in demolition derbies, had an engine. The two paired up and got Vinyard got his first taste behind the wheel, racing for little less than a year. That arrangement didn’t last and Vinyard left the team in 2013. He would sit on the sidelines, away from the cockpit of a race car, until 2021.

“My goal was to buy a race car,” said Vinyard. “I’d do HVAC or any kind of job I could find to get me by. I started buying cars, flipping them. I was just trading and trading until I got where I wanted to be.”

Some of those cars included the racing variety. Eventually he got a modified, racing it a few times. A friend of his was having trouble with his vision and put up his late model for sale. Vinyard sold his modified for $7,500, borrowed $4,000, and bought that late model in 2021.

“I finally gotten to where I needed to be,” Vinyard said. “Without having to fork out hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

The dirt late model was not brand-spanking new — it’s a 2008 Blue-Gray Rocket that’s been updated to 2015 specs, with five-year-old shocks — but it meant Josh Vinyard achieved his goal of having a late model. Vinyard went to work tweaking the car.

“Somebody who bought a set of shocks, didn’t like them, and bought another set,” said Vinyard. “I bought their old set. Gradually, I built a pretty decent race car. It’s still older, but it’s a lot better than it was in 2021.”

Case in point: Josh Vinyard finished ninth last weekend amongst a full field of cars at Rockcastle Speedway in Kentucky. Vinyard admitted the next upgrade he needs to make is to himself.

“I wasn’t really happy with my driving,” Vinyard said. “I feel I might have been trying to go too fast, being psyched up after finally having a good car.”

Vinyard is going to once again go for more improvement this Saturday, May 4, at Rockcastle Speedway. This time, he’ll compete in the American All-Star Series Presented by PPM Racing Products. He’s looking forward to honing his skills and his car against some of the best in 604 late model racing.

Outside Groove Note of Transparency: Outside Groove is a sponsor of the American All-Star Series. The American All-Star Series paid for the production of this article. The content is not subject to the approval of the American All-Star Series.