At sixteen, I was not really thinking about my future, or what I wanted to do. I was working at KXCR Radio and my life revolved around music, girls, and what I was going to do that weekend. I really wasn’t thinking too much about my future.
I recently met an interesting young man while dropping off a car at a local auto repair shop. Sixteen-year-old Richard Olague, Jr. knows exactly what he is going to do with his life, not only now, but in the future as well. He’s been racing cars for about two and a half years now.
The type of car Richard races is an X-Mod: think of it as a motor, surrounded by a well-built roll cage, some thin sheet metal, large tires and not much more. X-Mods are a staple of short-track racing throughout the country, on dirt tracks like you find in Las Cruces, El Paso, and many other cities and towns.
He offered to show me his car, and by show, he meant feel. When he started his car, the walls and floor began to vibrate. The raw power echoed, not only in the garage, but around the entire block; the vibration surrounded me, making my bones shake.
I had to know what makes a teen want to race cars…what made him want to start when he was fourteen? His answer; “My father used to race in the 90’s and into the early part of 2001.” So you could say the racing tradition was there in his blood.
“It’s pretty hard to win because I am racing people who have been racing for a while,” he says with a smile. “I want to beat them, beat the masters.”
“It’s a passion…a way of life for me,” he says. “I would rather be here, working on my race car, than going out.” And that is what he does. Most days, after football practice at Montwood High School, he can be found at his father’s shop on Yarbrough and Alameda.
Other than working on his car, football practice, and helping his dad, Richard also helps the Barnetts, of Barnett Harley Davidson. His first car, when he finished the eighth grade, was bought from the Barnett’s. The deal with his dad was to pass all his classes with A’s, and his dad would buy his first car. “I worked hard and passed with all A’s”
Most days, it seems to me, that a lot of teenagers are not exactly thinking about their future, but Richard seems to have his future well in hand.
When I asked him about his goals, he said his short term goals are, “Get up to the next level.” Long term would be NASCAR. “You got to keep working and not give up. Look for opportunities, when you get it, just take it.”
In case you are wondering, as I was, I had to ask how much it costs for the car? “If you want a good strong one, around $12,000 to $20,000. You have to be smart about it, where you spend the money.” This is why Richard said he is looking for sponsors.
His next race is April 20-22nd up in Las Cruces. He’ll be racing every fifteen days. “Once I get the Modified out, I’ll be racing every Saturday.”
If you want to follow Richard, or know about race dates, or times, you can call him, or his father, Richy at 915-860- 8607. I can promise you, we are going to be hearing a lot about this young man in the future.
Author: Steven E. Cottingham – Special to the Herald-Post