Partin fourth grader turns heads in kart racing world
Partin Elementary fourth-grader Brayden Westfall has loved race cars for about as long as he can remember. The nine-year-old recalls being a toddler living in Columbus, Ohio, obsessively playing with toy cars. He was encouraged by his grandfather, William Shunk, a lifelong race fan who has been going to the Indy 500 since he was eleven.
When turned seven, Brayden got to take a free go-kart test drive for his birth. He’s been racing ever since.
“In my blood I just like racing,” Brayden says.
These days more weekends than not are either spent at the track practicing or traveling for a big race. On the kart circuit, he’s known as “Super B” and sports a flashy Superman-inspired logo. It’s a name that goes much deeper than racing.
Brayden was born three months premature with underdeveloped lungs. He spent most of his first three months on earth in the newborn intensive care unit. When he finally pulled through, his parents gave him the nickname “Super B.”
“We’ve kept with the Super B and it's evolved into kind of a brand for him,” mother Amy Westfall says.
Amy admits that the family pretty much eats, sleeps and breaths racing. A professional photographer by trade, she serves as his marketing manager and helps update his social media channels. Father Matt Westfall is the main crew chief who is constantly tinkering with the kart and making necessary repairs or improvements. He's also responsible for Bradyen's website. While the pandemic has kept grandad from seeing most of the races lately, he remains a major supporter, even creating the moniker "Old Grandad Racing" as his sponsorship alter ego.
Work initially brought the Westfall family to North Texas. They were renting in McKinney deciding where to move when longtime Van Alstyne resident Ray Harrison suggested they check out his hometown. He’s also been a big supporter of Brayden’s throughout his racing journey.
A self-admitted city girl, Amy says she likes the fact that she is still close to Dallas but can live in a place that’s a little homier. She’s come to love the slower pace of life the city has to offer and has quickly made many friends.
“I like that you can go with your friends and play in the woods,” Brayden adds.
This year, Super B has finished in the top five 10 times out of the 16 races he entered. Next season he plans to compete in a higher level of competition, meaning even more weekends out of town practicing with teammates in Houston.
When he is on the track, Brayden says he’s always looking ahead to try and anticipate the next move. If there is a racer in front of him, he’s paying attention to his every move, patiently waiting for that one mistake that will give him the opportunity to pass. He’s also looking way ahead for safety.
Crashes are a part of racing, and Brayden has had his fair share of them. Still, he’s managed to escape relatively unscathed so far other than a bout of very minor whiplash.
While kart racing is obviously a huge part of Brayden’s life, his parents have instilled in him the importance of school. Despite his often busy schedule, he knows that education still comes first. He’s a straight-A student who enjoys science, social studies, reading and writing.
Of course, racing takes lots of money. Brayden is already learning how to be a professional, seeking out sponsors and fulfilling his obligations to them. He’s gone out to the community to tell his story and managed to pick up some major sponsors. So far he’s earned the backing of Cooley Bay Winery, Van Alstyne Nutrition, Buff City Soap and A29 Photography. In exchange for their support, he displays their logos on his car. When he’s on the podium, you can bet that he will be sporting their gear.
“We appreciate all the people we have support from,” Amy Westfall says. “And if anyone else is looking to support we would appreciate that too.”