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Barrington's Britt Casey Jr. in the driver's seat

08/15/2014, 4:45pm CDT
By Bob Gosman | For Sun-Times Media | @HSCNewsNorth

When 16-year-old Britt Casey Jr. went to take his driver’s test, he accidentally missed a stop sign in a deserted parking lot.

When 16-year-old Britt Casey Jr. went to take his driver’s test, he accidentally missed a stop sign in a deserted parking lot.

Consider that a rare stumble behind the wheel for Casey, who still passed with ease. Last weekend Casey, who will be a junior at Barrington, made his professional debut as a co-driver of the No. 27 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5 with Mark White at Road America in Wisconsin. Last year, Casey finished second in the Spec Miata Cup Series Championship.

Casey said the feeling of driving a race car is almost indescribable.

“People say that the speed [in racing] is addicting and it truly is,” Casey said. “You always want to go faster and come back for more. I never want to get out of the seat.”

While Casey relishes the high speeds, what distinguishes him from his peers is his maturity and strategic approach behind the wheel.

“I’m pretty convinced there’s about a 75-year-old man inside that 16-year-old body,” White said with a smile. “I think the term old soul really describes him. He’s bloody fast but he’s even more switched on with his observation skills. He can self critique and take suggestions about the car and apply them in a short period of time. He definitely has a chance to move forward in the sport.”

Added Casey, “I consider myself a reserved driver. I like to evaluate the situation and choose the right path.”

White encouraged Casey to compete hard Saturday but also to remember the experience.

“I told him to treat it like a wedding day, to have fun and enjoy the moment,” said White, who also is an owner of Accumoto Motorsport in Madison, Wisconsin.

Casey’s father loves racing and his interest in the sport rubbed off on Casey at a young age. He began riding motocross and dirt bikes in about second grade and at age 12 he competed and won in his first go-kart race. He said go karts typically top out at about 75 MPH, or twice as fast as the ones most people drive for fun.

“After that, I knew this is what I wanted to do; I was hooked,” he said. “I want to make a career out of racing and make my living off it one way or another.”

Casey, who has played varsity lacrosse since his freshman year at Barrington, said auto racing requires more athleticism and conditioning than people think.

“People don’t take into account the heat; picture yourself in a sauna wrapped in a blanket,” he said. “It’s not just about turning a wheel. You have to be in tip-top shape.”

Casey already is developing a following on social media. He enjoys using social media to connect with fans and followers as he attempts to build his career.

“Social media is a game changer,” he said. “I like keeping people up to date.”

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