Tyler Collins: Competitor Derrick Meadors Loans Him a Car

Tyler Collins: Competitor Derrick Meadors Loans Him a Car

Tyler Collins entered the 2024 season with hopes of contending for the Heart of America Ultimate Super Late Model Series championship. Those hopes almost came to an abrupt halt after the second race due to an engine failure. However, Derrick Meadors didn’t let that happen. He lent Collins his primary car for the next night for the third race of the series.

Collins started the Heart of America season off with a third at Bloomington Speedway in Indiana. Last Friday, he ventured to the tour’s second race at Thunder Mountain Speedway in Corbin, Kentucky.

“I got into a wreck in the heat race, and I had to start at the tail of the feature,” Collins, of North Vernon, Indiana, said. “I had a good car, got up to sixth, and then I felt something go wrong. [The car had] a vibration and I pulled in, hoping it was a tire, 15 laps in. [Instead,] it was an engine-related issue. We have a cylinder that makes no compression.”

Collins didn’t carry a spare engine in his trailer. It’s typically just him and his father, Trent, who both work as mechanical engineering technicians for Cummins.

“I went up to my buddy, Derrick Meadors, who had two cars [at Thunder Mountain],” said Collins. “I asked if I could run the crate car he had just got, which he had let someone else drive. I knew I’d at least get a provisional, and [I could] start in the back, take a lap, and get my points. He told me I should race his primary car.”

That’s right. Not a one lap and done kind of deal with a crate-powered car in a super race. Meadors offered his primary super late model for the following night, the entire night, at Rockcastle Speedway in Mount Vernon, Kentucky. The super used a chassis from Capital Race Cars, just like Collins’ car, while the crate late model was from Rocket Chassis.

“Tyler had helped us out a lot when we got into a Capital,” Meadors, of Williamsburg, Kentucky, said before the race. “I hope he would do the same for me [to loan a car]. We want him to do good.”

It’s easy to see why many like the affable Meadors in the pits. However, Meadors and Collins might have a stronger bond. For one, they both share a birthday, albeit 10 years apart.

“Derrick’s a great guy,” said Collins. “Everybody in the pit area knows Derrick. They’re good people. Me and my dad get along with him and his family. My wife gets along with his wife. It’s just meeting like-minded at the racetrack and immediately becoming friends without even having to know each other that long.”

Collins at first struggled to get Meadors’ car to his liking. He qualified 20th out of 24 cars. Collins then finished sixth out of eight cars in his heat. That placed him 17th on the starting grid. But, over the course of the night, he steadily moved up through the field, finishing seventh and earning the Hard Charger award. Because of Meadors’ kind gesture, Tyler Collins actually advanced in the point standings and now sits second place, just six points away from leader Dustin Linville. Collins anticipates getting his engine repaired in time for the next series race on July 20 at Richmond Raceway in Kentucky. If not, maybe he can recreate success again in Meadors’ ride once more.