A sprinter for the Wellesley High track team, freshman Blake Lothian has a goal.
“I want to go faster,” he says, with a wide grin.
He’s not talking about running.
Lothian is an aspiring NASCAR driver and at age 15, he’s already gaining ground. At the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, he can see the NASCAR track from the course where he competes in a kind of pro racing farm league on a go-kart course.
“No one in my freshman class does anything like this,” said Lothian. Indeed, kids sometimes think kart-racing sounds like kids’ stuff, until he tells them: “I’m going 60 miles an hour, 70 miles an hour.”
His parents serve as his pit crew. They’re along for a ride that started early. He was at a school fair in Wellesley when he first slid behind the wheel of a go-kart.
“I think I was like four or five,” recalled Lothian. “It was so much fun, just the fun of going fast on the edge of control.”
“And he was beating guys in their 20’s,” recalled his mother, Cindy Lothian. “Besides that, he just watched NASCAR nonstop.”
“I tried basketball, baseball,” said Blake Lothian, “I just couldn’t do it. Finding this just gave me so much joy.”
He went to racing camp and won big. His father, Dan Lothian (a WGBH News contributor), knew nothing about car racing, but realized there was no steering his son away from his NASCAR dream.
“Yeah, it’s a long shot. It’s difficult to do,” said Dan Lothian, “but as I point out, somebody’s got to do it, somebody’s going to be the next NASCAR driver.”
So focused is the Lothian family on that NASCAR dream that they've agreed that Blake will bypass college in pursuit of it.
It’s hard to predict what will happen on the race track, and wipeouts are par for the course. In his first race day of the season, Lothian was sidelined during a qualifying round after the chain popped off his kart.
Later in the day, for the final race, Lothian paid a price for the earlier breakdown; he started at the back of the pack. Defying odds, over the course of nine laps he made his way toward the front and, on the last lap, made a bold move. It paid off with a third place showing.
“I’m just so shocked,” said Blake Lothian. “I got third, from zero to hero.”
It’s just his speed.