The youngest World Challenge SCAA driver
Houston Lifestyles and Homes / The Woodlands Lifestyles and Homes / Katy Lifestyles and Homes / Fort Bend Lifestyles and Homes
By Melanie Saxton
Few 15-year-olds are driving, especially in race cars, yet one talented local teenager has made history as the youngest World Challenge SCAA driver. Alec Udell is an Honor Roll student at John Cooper Academic Prep, and, on the surface, appears to be an ordinary teenager. He likes playing the guitar, singing, acting in school plays, running Varsity cross-country track and volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. He resides in The Woodlands with his parents and older sister. But what sets him apart are his incredible feats in a race car. At the tender age of 15, Alec competes with drivers twice his age — and wins.
It all began in preschool when he inherited his big sister’s Barbie Corvette. “I took off the stickers and could barely reach the pedal, but instantly loved driving,” says Alec.
In kindergarten his grandfather gave him his first go-kart, and he began competing in go-kart races and winning at speeds up to 100 mph. He is especially proud of ranking No. 1 in the Rotax Mini Max class in 2009 after winning nearly every race. At the end of the 2010 season, Alec placed third in the Rotax Pan-Am national points championship, earning him a spot on the 2010 United States World Finals team. His unusual talent eventually propelled him into the world of auto racing — an extreme rarity for a freshman in high school. Alec had to demonstrate his skill, judgment and undergo testing and licensing before being considered.
“I had to prove I had the strength, experience and instincts to handle high performance race cars,” he says. Safety is always an issue, and Alec passed muster as a race car professional, fully capable of handling the speed and the track. A special, rare exemption was made allowing him to race at the pro level. “I wear the St. Christopher medal my grandfather gave me in third grade,” he says, referring to the Patron Saint of safe travel. “We always pray before races and I’m very aware of the risks.”
In November 2009, Alec began driving a Spec Miata in the National Auto Sport Association program. Now equipped with a Momentum Autosports 2011 Riley Chevrolet Camaro, Alec turns excellent lap times. All the hard work has earned him the distinction of being the youngest driver in the 22-year history of the World Challenge Sports Car Club of America (SCAA) Pro Racing. In short, he has made history.
How does he juggle it all? “I’m fortunate to have two study hall periods allowing me to tackle my homework. I go to the Performing Arts Center after school and play practice usually lasts until 4:30 p.m. Then I run track. I’m usually home by 6 every evening to eat dinner and do last minute school work and go to bed,” says Alec.
On top of that, he has a demanding, but rewarding, race schedule. January through March are his busiest times. “I leave Wednesday nights and practice Thursday and Friday, then race Saturdays and Sundays about 3-4 times a month. From March to summer, I race about once a month.” Summers are extremely busy, but Alec takes a two- week break for summer camp. “I’ve been going to camp for seven years, and it is my time to wind down and just be a kid.”
Alec has a driving coach, Stuart Robinson, and a sports agent, Holly Chervnsik. He is also supported by his parents, Kim and Bob, along with Momentum Racing, for whom he is an official driver. World Challenge Series events are recorded and aired nationally on VERSUS TV, and fans can look forward to Alec being featured in upcoming events. Check out Alec Udell at www.alecudellracing.com, www.momentumracegroup.com, and on Facebook.