Correction: This story has been corrected to reflect when Jarrett Overstreet became a go-kart driver and an autocross driver.
Teenaged drivers are usually not encouraged to speed.
This is not the case with 17-year old Jarrett Overstreet.
Jarrett, a rising senior at Cave Spring High School, has been a go-kart driver since he was 15 and became an autocross driver this year. He races his 2005 Volkswagen Golf as well as go-karts on tracks where drivers navigate the course one at a time.
The goal is to be the fastest, but speed isn’t the only thing that matters.
“It takes more than just going around the track. You have to strategize, too,” Jarrett said.
Autocross racing is about maintaining control and handling the twists and turns in the track all while making good time. Time penalties are added for hitting cones or barriers. Sloppy handling or losing control tacks on time that could cost the driver a race.
Jarrett’s interest in auto racing goes as far back as age 11 when his dad, Keith Overstreet, took him to the Virginia International Raceway near Danville. But a friend’s interest in autocross and attending a race event in Salem sparked an interest that moved beyond spectating.
“He used to do camp Roanoke but never really did a lot of sports camps. So he said instead of doing a basketball camp or soccer camp, I want to do a motorsport camp. He always came back from that just overjoyed,” said his mother, Libby Overstreet.
Jarrett started to attend Camp Motorsport at VIR where he got a hands-on driving education on the tracks. At camp, participants learn a range of motorsport related information from defensive driving to car mechanics.
Once he started to race, Libby noticed that the competitors were older than Jarrett.
“They are adult men or college teams. The first time Jarrett went, he was the youngest kid there. I think a lot of people couldn’t believe he was there. He didn’t look old enough to drive,” she said.
For Jarrett, racing is important, but driving is vital.
Libby described him as being very cautious and not being the daredevil type. He has never gotten a speeding ticket or had any other driving violations.
“He values driving tremendously. If he lost that privilege, it would devastate him,” Libby said.
Before graduation, he anticipates driving in a 24-hour race in December, a 12-hour race in the spring and in as many 2-hour races as he can fit in his schedule.
Where does this road of racing lead after high school? For Jarrett, it leads to college.
“I want to attend Belmont Abbey, which offers motorsports management. I just call my back-up plan. If I never got onto a team, at least I could be working in a field that I love,” Jarrett said.
Jarrett attended the Skip Barber Racing School at Road Atlanta in Georgia this summer. It took mowing many lawns in his neighborhood to raise the $4,000 needed to attend the school.
Doing well at the racing school means that he could be offered the chance to race for Skip Barber around the nation. If asked to be a driver, he will need sponsorships in order to participate.
To contact Jarrett about a sponsorship, email firstname.lastname@example.org.