Bryce Rupert’s first three weeks of the new school year have brought plenty of exciting moments as his freshman football team sits 3-0 heading into this week’s play.
The Rogers High School student started the academic calendar with a 3.8 grade-point average, and as of Wednesday evening the 14-year-old became one of the youngest champions at Stateline Speedway.
Racing this season in the popular Fever 4 division that makes up the track’s Wednesday Night Fever program, Rupert picked up a third-place finish to secure his first Stateline championship. Rupert had spent his prior years at Sunset Speedway learning how to race in close quarters and adjusting to an ever-changing race track.
“The biggest adjustment from karts to the race car was simply going from a dirt surface to asphalt,” Rupert said. “I think the karting helped me with seat time getting used to how things work on the track, the meaning of the flags and driver courtesy. The toughest challenge for me (since starting at Stateline) has been to bring the car home in one piece and staying out of trouble on the track.”
When Rupert has a good run the confidence in his crew grows. That crew includes his father, Scott Rupert; mother, Shelby Rupert; Clay Merrill and his grandfather, Mark Wakefield.
Sharing his racing experiences with classmates is a way to highlight his family’s love for auto racing.
“When I’m not on the football field I’m working on the race car or racing during the week,” Rupert said. “Most people’s reaction to my racing has been disbelief at first, so I have to explain where I started and what I’m doing now in the race car.”
Despite his love for both sports, Rupert has no desire to be the next Tom Brady or Dale Earnhardt Jr. Instead he strives to emulate someone much closer to his day-to-day life.
“If I had to pick somebody to be like, I would pick my dad. He’s the first one to jump in and help somebody if they need help at the track and he has taught me a lot about racing,” he said.
Building confidence since jumping to Fever 4 racing is paying off.
“(Scott Rupert has taught me to) become a driver that shows patience and demonstrates good sportsmanship,” he said. “Both of those qualities help a lot at the track and have propelled me to excel and become the driver I am today.”
He can also thank keen competition from the Garber family.
“For the better part of the season my biggest competition has been my brother, KC Garber,” Rupert said. “He is a very competitive driver and made me work for my wins throughout the season.”
Winning is a constant for the Garbers, including Wednesday evening when KC Garber won the Fever 4 main event, second-generation driver Brycen Tarr ran second with Rupert third.