In His Words: A Message From Soon To Be Stafford DARE Stock Driver Jake Higginson

SMS Logo 2015On Friday Jake Higginson of Litchfield will attempt to make the starting field for the DARE Stock feature at Stafford Motor Speedway.

Higginson turns 14 on Friday and would join current DARE Stock division driver Zack Robinson as the youngest driver to start a feature event on the half-mile oval in the track’s history. Robinson made his debut at the track on his 14th birthday last year. 

So who is Jake Higginson? We’ll let him tell you. Check out below for Jake Higginson, in his own words.

Hi! I’m The Wild Child Jake Higginson, and I race cars!

This season, I plan to be competing at the Stafford Motor Speedway in the DARE Stock division. I turn 14 on May 22, and, as luck would have it, that is a Friday. I will be attempting to make my first race on my birthday, which will make me the youngest driver in history to compete at the Stafford Motor Speedway in a NASCAR sanctioned event.

I started racing in go karts when I was 6 years old. Success came quickly to me, and in only my fifth start, I won my first race. I then went on to win every race for the remainder of the season while racing on the dirt track in the kid Kart division at the Richard L Shelton Memorial Speedway. I raced there for the last 2 seasons that the track was in operation. I also raced (and won) at several other tracks (Whip City Speedway, OVRP, Mototown USA, Norwalk Karting Assoc.) over the next two seasons.

I turned 8 in 2009. It would mark the first season that I would be eligible to compete for a track championship. My dad and I decided to race at the newly formed Berlin Lions Club’s World of Wheels with the Nutmeg Kart Club. By season’s end, I had won every Junior Sportsman 1 race that I had entered there except for one, in which I placed second. On my way to the 2009 Nutmeg Kart Club Junior Sportsman 1 championship. I was also the 2009 Berlin Lions Club World of Wheels Summer Shootout Junior Sportsman 1 Champion.

I also competed in the Junior Sportsman Champ class against much older and experienced competition. I was a full two years younger than the next youngest competitor in that class, and the two kids that finished ahead of me in the points (I finished 3rd) were both 5 years older than me. I scored 3 wins (2nd highest in class) in that class as well as setting two track records that stand until this day.

In 2010, seeking a greater challenge, we turned to road racing. To get into shape, I began an exercise program at that time that I still follow to this day. It paid off. I won 9 of 14 events while competing as a member of the Norwalk Karting Association, and was crowned the 2010 NKA Junior Sportsman 1 Champion.

In August of that year, I travelled to New Castle Indiana to compete at the WKA Nationals. I finished 11th and 12th in the two classes that I competed in, against the most talented competition in the Country. I also competed part time that season at World of Wheels, as well as on pavement at the Pomfret Speedway, scoring victories at both tracks. In October of 2010, I also earned the Presidential Fitness Award.

2011 I didn’t race with the exception of a couple of times. I broke my foot in three places 4 days before the first National, and it took months to heal. I also began developing headaches.

2012 came with a number of health issues. I raced part time, but quite honestly, it was hard to focus on racing as I was dealing with almost constant headaches. After several months and countless doctor visits, an MRI was done on my brain, revealing a lemon sized cyst. On November 12, 2012, I had my first brain surgery. It would require me to stay in the ICU at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital for five days.

The first surgery wasn’t as successful has my Neurosurgeon would have liked, so on March 19, 2013, I underwent a second brain surgery. Once again, I was in the ICU at the children’s hospital for five days. I felt much better after the second surgery than I had after the first, but my Neurosurgeon was telling me that I should never race again! I had other health issues as well. I needed surgeries on both knees, and a sinus surgery too. In all, I had 6 surgeries in a little less than a year and a half. In all of that time, I never gave up hope. I exercised daily to stay in shape, and I kept a positive attitude.

On October 3, 2014, I went to see my Neurosurgeon, Dr. Duncan. After a routine MRI, he reversed himself. He said that it was nothing short of a miracle how well my cyst has healed! Dr Duncan fully released me to full activity, including racing! He even sent a letter to Stafford Motor Speedway to be forwarded to NASCAR confirming that fact.

Even with all of the surgeries, which kept me out of school for months at a time, I have managed high honors in each marking period over the last three years. I am in the Academy, which is the highest level of classes that my school system has to offer. My dream is to someday make to big time NASCAR, but if I don’t make it as a driver, I will earn an engineering degree to fall back on.


  1. Billy Parker says

    I readily admit, that I usually frown on the “Youth Movement” in racing, and “Developmental Deals” I have my opinions on that, and statistics to back up my theories on it’s negative financial, and excitement impacts on the sport. However This kids story is impressive, and he seem like a very articulate young man, whos head is screwed on right. Jake you have a bright future ahead of you, Best of luck in your first, and many more races to come. You just gained a fan in me. 🙂

  2. Qualifying to be done by points on the 22nd because of VMRS qualifying heats. Hope they know/have a plan for this.

  3. Dan,
    I’m guessing with an average starting field of 12.5 cars this year in the division, there’s little worry about not qualifying.

  4. This Friday, qualifying is set up by points but the Dare stocks, like all the non open wheeled divisions at Stafford, do not have a full field. He should be able to tack on the end of the field and start about 14th. Last week they had an extra distance and presumably extra money race for the division and drew 13 cars which ties there season high. The big question this week, does the Late Model car count go down into single digits? It’s getting pretty bad there, and they still make you sit through 5 divisions of half fields before they run the SK’s last. I am starting to consider doing something different with my Friday nights.

  5. beserious says

    I have as much interest in watching a 14 yr old in a race car as I do in going down and watching 8th grade Little League. I’m pulling for guys who have sweated long and hard, and put in their long hours around cars and racing, and go without many things just to put their few free dollars into their true love, to get out on the track. Not Daddy’s manipulated and sculpted second childhood living through a kid.

  6. @beseriuos
    Are you serious? I really thought when I read this story, finally an article that would have nothing but positive comments and here you are…

    This kid has been racing from a very young age and is ready to move up to a beginners division, this is what these divisions are supposed to be for, not for someone who has been racing for years and years. As far as your daddy comment, how do you think most of the big names in racing got started? It was with their parents support and money.

    I still can’t believe how someone could post a negative comment on this article.

  7. Wow beserious, does it make you feel like a big strong man by writing a bullying message directed towards a 14 year old kid? You must have never had your parents help you with anyone in your life. That probably explains why you are on here trolling a 14 year old kid.

    I’ve known Jake and his father for a couple years. Jake has been to hell and back health wise and has never given up. Frankly, he is lucky to be alive. Let’s call a spade a spade, this is a far cry from go karts and he has an extremely steep learning curve, but this kid has determination and a very strong will. He has been out in that shop helping his dad with anything he can to get the car ready and has a very strong desire to learn how to do it all himself. He’s not like most of the other kids running around the pit areas . This kid works, and works hard.

    Judge not lest ye be judged, sir.

  8. Andy DaRos says

    Interesting, beserious, I didn’t see any mention of his dad’s second childhood desires anywhere in the piece.

    It’s a shame that, to you, the effort, sacrifice and “long hours” that Jake put into his recoveries don’t equate to the attributes you require to respect someone else at the track. I’m betting not one of your select valued racers that fit your criteria would ever want to trade places with this kid no matter what may be provided to him. To aim this level of negativity at this young man, or even post it in this piece, is just classless.

  9. This kid is a pain in the butt.He bothers everyone in the paddock area.

  10. Don’t write a big article telling all of us how great you are.Your way too Stuck on yourselves.Show us on the track.What the heck are you guys thinking with all this hipe.You haven’t even hit the track yet and your telling us how good you are.Have some dignity and go run the car and shut your mouth and let things sort out.What is your family thinking .OMG.

  11. kevin t, I bet you didn’t bother anyone when you were a kid. I bet you were an absolute saint that already knew everything there was to know so you didn’t have to go around talking to people and asking questions to learn. I’m sure you never had any confidence in yourself as a child. You must have just been perfect. FFS GET OVER YOURSELF! Leave the kid alone!

  12. The kid must be good, people are afraid of him.

  13. Its not me that needs to get over myself.DINGUS.I am far from perfect,or ever was perfect or ever will be.Everyone Knows what I am saying.

  14. Grey Matter says

    Come on Shawn… You post this nice article about the kid and no picture? Smh…

  15. Did you ever stop to think you are one of the only ones that doesn’t like talking to him? I personally go out of my way to say hi to him whenever I can. It’s cool to see a kid coming into the racing world with that much enthusiasm these days, especially after all he has been through. We need that in this sport! Don’t sit here and discourage it. This sport is slowly dying. I wish there were more kids like him out there. If you are so busy at the track that you can not take 5 minutes to talk to a kid that is excited about the sport and seeing people, then I can’t even imagine what your personal life is like. It must be pretty lonely…

  16. Best of luck Jake on Friday. Your a credit to the youth today. We need more kids with the determination and motivation you’ve shown! Ditto on what Grey Matter mentioned. Shawn how about a photo.

  17. Johnny Wicker Walker says

    Im pretty shocked anyone has anything bad to say about this kid but everyone is entitled to theyre own opinion. I for one wish i had the support this kid has when i was younger. I had to fight just to get to where i am today. This sport needs more young blood. With all the kids these days playing video games, its good to see a 14 yr old wanting to climb the racing ladder. I wish him success.

  18. DINGUS. There are those who know exactly what I am saying.As far as the lonely part,you must be right,i am talking about this for too long now.Going to move on.Thanks for the heads up.

  19. Gee beserious, I am guessing your comments would probably better fit a couple of the top runners in the SK’s and the Tour than a kid who is going just start running the DARE Stock

  20. I don’t know the kid,But I do beleave the track history was already made in 2010 by Kaitlyn Brice when NASCAR lowered the driving age from 16 to 14. I do wish him the best of luck and to be safe out there

  21. Hot Rod, I do not believe Kaitlyn made her first start on her birthday as Jake will be.

  22. Imagine what the kid is thinking as he reads this…

  23. dareal, some people just have to try and knock others down a peg to make them feel better about their pathetic lives… It’s pretty sad that people want to come and talk crap on a 14 year old boy with a big dream… Weren’t we all there at one point?

  24. Zack Robinson Racing says

    The Zack Robinson racing team is looking forward to racing with Jake. He is a very nice kid. This Friday will be a very special night for him as it was for Zack last year on his birthday…wishing you a safe race tonight…

  25. I hope the kid is just laughing his butt off …

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