Young Gavin Graham Stepping into His Own at Five Flags Behind a Curt Britt Pro Truckadmin
Young Gavin Graham Stepping into His Own at Five Flags Behind a Curt Britt Pro Truck
By Chuck Corder
Walking around the pits, Gavin Graham casts an unassuming shadow.
Low-key and out of his fire suit, the 13-year-old Graham looks like your garden-variety teenager. With a mouthful of braces and a frame he is still growing into, you wouldn’t know that the Lakeland teen is one of the hottest hotshoes in short-track racing.
The relatively shy Graham, who attends an accelerated middle school back home, comes to life when he gears up and slides behind his Curt Britt truck for feature races at Five Flags Speedway and across the southeast.
Graham has won seven straight truck races in Britt’s No. 38, including the last two Proxy Equipment Pro Trucks features at Five Flags. Gavin will look for No. 8 and his third in a row at Pensacola’s high banks Friday night when the Proxy Equipment Pro Trucks battle in another 30-lap feature.
“Curt puts together a fast truck for us,” Graham said. “I don’t know who I’d trust with the truck more because he puts together a fast one every week.”
Also this week, the famed half-mile asphalt oval is hosting its annual children bicycle races. There will be three different age groups—5-and-under, 6 to 9, and 10 to 12—and all contestants must have a helmet and register inside the main grandstand gate. Ice cream and trophies await once each age division finishes.
Sharing the marquee with the kids and the Proxy Equipment Pro Trucks will be the Faith Chapel Outlaws (35 laps), The Dock on Pensacola Beach Sportsmen (25), and the Lloyd’s Glass Pure Stocks (20). Gates open at 5 p.m. and admission is $15 for adults; $12 for seniors, military, and students; free for children ages 11-and-under.
Gavin could’ve easily been one of the competitors in the bike races just a few years ago. He is a fourth-generation driver whose great-grandfather competed in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series back in the 1950s when it was still known as the Busch Series.
“For the means he had back then, he had some success and put together a good car,” Gavin said of his great-grandfather. “He didn’t have a lot of money, but he was doing what he loved for his career. My grandfather and my dad, too, they raced locally and always raced to have fun, too.”
That same spirit lives through Gavin, who never looks like he is having a bad day when he’s at a racetrack whether he is wheeling a Curt Britt Pro Truck or a Legends car. He is in his first full season competing at Five Flags after wowing fans with a third-place finish at last year’s Pro Trucks Snowball Derby.
Starting around 4 or 5, Gavin and dad Richard Graham began a championship whirlwind in go-karts. He first got a taste of a Pro Truck class when he climbed into the family truck at 10, competing at a few short tracks across central Florida because his age prevented him from racing at most tracks.
Even today, with a truck-bed-full of wins at prestigious tracks, such as Five Flags, Mobile International Speedway, and Montgomery Motor Speedway, some tracks won’t give Gavin the green light to race because of insurance reasons.
“It’s quite frustrating,” he said. “They have seen my success at Five Flags and other places and still won’t allow me to race. Hopefully, next year when I’m old enough to race at those tracks, I can prove to them what they were missing.”
What those tracks are missing is a polished young driver who has fans eating out of the palm of his hand. Between Facebook and Instagram, Gavin has a combined social media engagement of more than 8,000 fans. He consistently posts photos and videos on all platforms that give fans an inside look at what it takes to build a winner.
And there’s nothing that Gavin loves more that sliding out of the No. 38 Pro Truck and hearing the loud ovations from the Five Flags faithful.
“Every time I get out of the truck, the roars from the fans at Five Flags are amazing,” Gavin said. “Sometimes, I can’t hear whether or not the truck is still on because they’re so loud.
“We came to Five Flags to try and win a championship. We need to have a few more consistent runs. But the Derby is what we’re looking forward to. I want to redeem myself from last year and maybe get that win.”
Big goals for a young man.
But nothing seems unachievable for Gavin Graham.