CUDDLEBACK, N.Y. — Kent Vaccaro is off to a fast start — and incredibly fast start for someone just 10 years old.
The Cumberland Head resident, who already has six years of racing under his belt, recently was awarded the first ever Driver Development Scholarship offered by the World Karting Association (WKA). The young driver spent a full day in the classroom and on the track working to improve his driving skills. He was provided with a professional driving coach while under observation by Daniel Stowell, vice president of the WKA.
The downstate track used for the day regularly runs races including national events for the Rotax Karting Series.
Tim Hannen, the coach for the day, “races everything except boats”, and comes with a background that includes prior karting, motocross, ice racing, and more recently the NASCAR Grand Am series with BMW. Hannen, a prior college calculus professor, started the day in the classroom not talking about lowering lap times but what he calls “The Human Development” of the driver.
His primary goal is to teach drivers how to make split second decisions at high speed “while alone in the helmet”. That includes expanding ones visual input, relaxing so to feel thru the steering wheel and seat what the kart is doing, and to focus and concentrate on what is going on around the vehicle. Consistency and “Geometric Lines” thru turns was the goal while out on the track.
Stowell explained that the WKA wishes to develop the program to bring drivers up through the different levels of karting and establish a curriculum that can be used by other coaches throughout the country. “This was an opportunity to refine the outline that Mr. Hannen wrote”.
The following day Vaccaro moved on to New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon where he secured a second place despite a carburetor problem that haunted him all day. The podium finish was enough to lock up this year’s championship in the 125 cc restricted Rotax class even with 2 races to go.
The next day he moved on to Graniteville, Vt. to complete the three-day weekend with a solid first in both the heat and the final race. With one race remaining, Vaccaro ranked second in that championship for the Cadet Class with the Vermont Shifters Series.