BY MACKENZIE HIENTZ
The latest chapter in Riley Raynard’s unlikely racing career has been written.
During the July 19 program at the Estevan Motor Speedway, the 17-year-old driver, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, won the feature race in the hobby stock division. It was the first feature race win in his young career, and quite a thrilling moment. “It feels pretty good, the car felt great, the track was great and everything was just perfect, so it worked out fine,” said Raynard. Raynard was poised to win the feature, as he had a great position to start the race.
It was large hill to climb for Raynard to earn his first feature race victory. When he started racing a couple years ago, at the age of 15, he had a couple of rough first races.
Dealing with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, there were other challenges to overcome when he first started racing, besides his inexperience. The rare, degenerative disorder, which is found in males, causes muscle weakness of the legs and pelvis. Eventually it will spread to the arms, neck and other areas of the body.Raynard needs a wheelchair for mobility, but that doesn’t keep him from racing. He said it can still be a challenge to utilize the foot controls. “It was tough… I still have to put my hand on my leg sometimes because it’s harder to push it for me,” said Raynard. “So I just push my hand on my leg.”
The only other thing that separates Raynard’s car from the others is he uses a sprint car pedal instead of a regular one. It was a “no doubt” decision for Raynard to get involved in racing. His dad, Devin, raced in the IMCA modified division, and was the Estevan Motor Speedway’s track champion in 2009 and 2011.
“My dad has always raced in the modified division and he was really good,” said Raynard. His mother, Wendy, drove a hobby stock for several years, too. Since his parents were involved in racing, it was that much easier for Raynard to get started. “It helped a lot because we already knew about the race car stuff and that just helped us get on our feet,” he said. Raynard inherited his parents’ passion for racing, so they knew that eventually he would be interested in participating in the sport. “They always knew that I was going to race because my dad was always into the racing…and they just said go for it,” Raynard said.
Raynard understands the dangerous side of the sport, and that anything could happen. He was involved in a collision last year. He didn’t have any second thoughts about getting back into a car. “It’s part of the races and you just got to deal with it,” he said.As for his future endeavours in stock car racing, Raynard said that he would like to eventually move up to the street stock car division.
He said that it will be a while before he leaves the hobby stock division, as he wants to win a couple more races and eventually a track championship. Raynard would also like to race in the super nationals event at the Boone Speedway in Iowa. Raynard says his parents, his pit crew and his fans are a big part of his racing career, and he looks forward to continuing to entertain them at the track.
On Saturday August 23, Riley and his pit crew lead the 1st walk for Muscular Dystrophy in Estevan and following the walk he was gearing up for yet another Saturday night at the races.