“Day Ruined”: 12-YO Asphalt Modified Sensation’s Islip 300 Dominance Leaves Racing Fans Red-Faced

Published 11/12/2023, 11:11 AM EST

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Gone are the days when drivers past their 30s were the only ones fighting for championships and wins. Young guns in their 20s have emerged to be among the dominant forces across all kinds of motorsports. Such is the competitive nature: Back in 2007 when Dale Earnhardt Jr turned his attention to the Washington Games at 190 Mphure of the sport. In fact, one doesn’t even have to look past the Cup Series to find evidence for that. Kevin Harvick’s son, Keelan, and Kyle Busch’s son, Brexton have full-blown motorsports schedules all year round and they are just 11 and 8 respectively. Recently, a driver who is yet to enter his teen years made his mark on American motorsports.

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Potential NASCAR prodigy has already made history at an iconic race track

The driver of the hour isn’t Keelan or Brexton. It is Paulie Hartwig III. At just 12 years old, he won the pole position in a race where competitors were more than twice his age. In the qualifying session of the Islip 300 at the Riverhead Raceway, Hartwig put his #73 Asphalt Modified on the pole with a lap time of 11.445s.

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He wasn’t fast enough to win the race but a pole position against competitors with much more experience is something nobody saw coming from the 12-year-old. It won’t be long before Hartwig makes his way into the higher divisions of NASCAR if he keeps this up.

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Paul Hartwig III has been earning accolades before even getting to the Riverhead Raceway. Back in August, he made history as the youngest-ever driver to win a race at the North Wilkesboro Speedway in the Carolina Crate Modified Series. “My right rear burned off and I was really wrecking loose. We tried to save these tires all the way. The track was fast, and my car was really fast until the end,” he had said after the race.

His victory was indeed an impressive feat, as was his pole position at the Riverhead Raceway. Fans were left stunned after the result as they admitted defeat to a 12-year-old who seemed to be well on his way to greatness.

Watch: Back in 2007 When Dale Earnhardt Jr Turned His Attention to the Washington Games at 190 Mph

Fans left reeling after youngster’s incredible achievement

Some fans rued the fact that there was someone at just 12 years old who had so much talent and skill. Indeed, it can be quite an unnerving feeling as NASCAR fans experienced.

“Someone younger than me with talent, day ruined,” one fan wrote on Twitter.
“Whatever you do there is a small child doing it better than you,” commented another.

People were still not over 17-year-old William Sawalich’s victory at the All American 400, becoming the youngest winner in the history of the race. Now, they have two young geniuses to contend with and Hartwig is five years younger.

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“Alright William Sawalich was a tough pill to swallow. But 12????” a stunned fan asked.

Apart from that, there were a lot of people praising the sheer skill of the 12-year-old prodigy who is only just getting started in motorsports.

“This kid is unreal,” one user commented.
“He was bad fast at carraway last week too!” wrote another.

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The future seems to be bright for NASCAR as the new generation is gradually but surely coming into its own. These names will be worth remembering as one day, they will probably be the ones fighting for the Cup Series.

Watch this story: Dale Earnhardt Jr.: A Tale of Unseen Battles

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Written by:

Nilavro Ghosh

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One take at a time

Drivers these days need to be more like Denny Hamlin and Bubba Wallace. Well, now you know who my favorites are. For me, it all began with my interest in F1, but I was just tired of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen showing unparalleled dominance.
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Edited by:

Nischal Kandpal

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