Open Wheel Excitement with Ontario's Ryan Litt!!
I decided to write this story on Ryan Litt because he is a great young up and coming star in open wheel racing and since he is from Ontario and I will take any opportunity to celebrate and promote racing in the province, it seemed a no brainer. I talked to Ryan lately and this is a brief history of his racing accomplishments. Enjoy!
Ryan Litt likes to drive fast!! When you want to drive fast...what better series to race than the Auto Value Super Sprint Series. According to the series website, they are the Fastest Short Track race cars in the world! Over the past five years, they Super Sprints have raced at 27 different tracks and hold track speed records at 22 of them. Litt, a 22 year old native of London, Ontario holds the track record for his "home" track, near London, Delaware Speedway, a blistering 15.682 seconds set June 6, 2009.
Racing is in Ryan's blood. He grew up around it, so it was natural progression for him. The sights, the sounds and the smell of racing got the best of Ryan and he knew at a very young age that it was something he wanted to do. He followed in the footsteps of his grandfather who was the first in the family to show interest in motor sports. He was involved in Drag Racing and was a successful crew chief for a NHRA Top Fuel Dragster in the 1960's. Ryan's dad raced Midgets and Super Modifieds and Ryan was by his dad's side and travelled to all the tracks. In 1994 at the age of 6, Ryan began his racing career. His dad set up a one time deal with a family friend to race a Junior Dragster at St. Thomas Dragway. He actually made it through to the final round and in the end finished second to a 16 year old.
In 1998 Ryan's dad bought him a Jr. Sprint car and that got the ball rolling to a successful racing career. His first year of racing Litt won numerous heats, three feature races and was named Rookie of the Year. During the next three seasons, Ryan gained valuable experience and took the checkered flag in 28 feature races and won ALL the Indoor Heat and Features races in years three and four. In his final season in sprints, Litt took the experience to another level and tested a Jr. Cascar, tested a Pepsi Street Stock at Delaware Speedway and raced a Legends car in Fort Wayne Indiana, winning one race and finishing 5th in points. Ryan would race one season of Street Stocks at Delaware in 2002, and won rookie of the year honors and finished ninth in points. He would get a lot of seat time in that year practicing a 440cc Outlaw Microsprint, driving a 600cc Winged Midget Indoors in the Rumble Series in Indiana and he won a 50 Lap Go-Kart Race at Quest Speedway.
A new year and lots of new challenges in 2003 took Litt to the USAC Ford Focus Midget Car Series and was third and fourth in Mid West Points and managed to win 2 races. At that time Ryan was the only Canadian Competitor in USAC and obtained his USAC and SCCA license at the age of 16. He also tested 60 Laps in USAC Pavement Sprint Car. By 2004, Ryan was gaining notoriety and was the featured article in Sprint Car and Midget Magazine. He won several races around the Mid West that summer and ended up finishing 3rd in USAC Midwest Focus Midget Series and got his first taste of the bigger USAC Sprint cars racing twice. 2005 was another successful year for Ryan as he finished 4th in Inaugural USAC Indoor Focus Midget Racing Championship held in DuQuoin, Illinois, was Nominee for Inside Track Motorsport News Up and Coming Driver of The Year, Finished 7th in the Famous (57th Annual) Little 500 at Anderson Speedway (runner up for rookie of the race) and started his career with the Auto Value Super Sprints. Ryan raced for the most part with the AVSS in 2006, winning races at Baer Field and Delaware Speedways as well as a heat and feature win at Berlin Speedway in Michigan. He finished a successful first season in the Super Sprints 4th in points and runner up as rookie of the year.
The 2007 & 2008 season brought several more heat and feature wins and new track speed records at Toledo Speedway, Auto City Speedway and a fastest lap of 11.50 seconds a the Little 500. Ryan would try a new venture into the Super Modifieds where he finished in 2nd place at Delaware Speedway in only his third ISMA start. He finished 2008, 2nd in points with the AVSS. This past season brought more success, several top qualifying times, track records and several heat and feature wins. For the upcoming 2010 season, Ryan will be running with the Must See Racing Xtreme Sprints Series, racing in 12 events at tracks such as Salem, Winchester, Anderson and O'Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis. All 12 races will be on Comcast and Comcast Sportsnet in the Mid Western United States. Ryan will also run with the AVSS, USAC and ISMA. His long term goal, like any other open wheel racer, to run an Indy Car but like many great racers, without the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to race that series he won't be there, at least for now. He did mention to me, "I'm pretty comfortable staying where I am at now, they are the fastest Circle Track Cars in the world next to Indy Cars so I can't complain!"
If you have a chance to see Ryan race, don't let it pass you by. If you haven't already, check out some You Tube links below. My Favorite is the short 53 second practice run from Delaware Speedway. The AVSS are a sight (and sound) to behold!!!
Ryan Litt links:
Ryan Litt's official website - http://www.ryanlitt.com/index.html
Auto Value Super Sprints (AVSS) - http://www.supersprints.com/
Must See Racing Xtreme Sprints Series - http://www.mustseeracing.com/
USAC - http://www.usacracing.com/
ISMA - http://www.ismasupers.com/
Face book group - Ryan Litt Racing group
Tommy Goudge, P.R. Manager (some great stories) - http://www.ryanlitt.com/press.html
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