THERE must be something in the motor oil of Perth’s northern suburbs this year.
First, Duncraig F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo made a roaring entry to top-level international racing, now a Ballajura 14-year-old is on track for motorsport stardom.
Brodie Kostecki moved with his dad Andrew, a former drag racing champion, to the US in May, with a dream of one day racing in NASCAR competition.
It’s a dream that may arrive faster than anyone expected.
He finished his first season of the US Automobile Club Competition – a feeder league for NASCAR – with 22 wins, which was second only to current NASCAR driver J. J. Yeley who scored 24 wins in 2003 as the most USAC victories ever in a season.
To add to his success, he pulled off the oval-track milestone as the youngest driver in the series against opponents as old as 74.
“He was the oldest, but the average was probably between 16 and 25,” Brodie said.
After blitzing 2011, ‘the racing kangaroo’ will now be granted a licence – not normally permitted for someone so young – to race in the NASCAR modified series next year.
Back in Perth for Christmas, he said he had learnt a lot from his first year of racing, which netted him three USAC championships and six track records.
“Definitely racing a different class, and the atmosphere is a lot different, and there’s a lot more competition – there are no friends in racing over there,” he said. “But we did go over there to race and we did go over there to win, not to come second.”
Andrew Kostecki said his son was winning every race at some meets, even after being put back in the starting field because of the fast times he was setting.
He said the Americans had not taken too kindly to his enigmatic son causing such a storm so soon.
“There’s a little bit of jealousy because he’s Australian and racing in America and beating their own drivers,” he said.
Brodie said it was not a very welcoming atmosphere. “It’s very tough competition; no-one really talks to each other,” he said.
Kostecki Snr talked of a race at Irwindale Speedway in Southern California, where a quick-witted Brodie left his opponents for dust.
He was sitting third after racing from 12th when track officials made the racers drive in single file until a crash was cleared.
As soon as the all clear light flashed, Brodie burst to the inside and powered to the front of the field.
“He was about 10 to 15 car lengths in front by the time he hit the bend,” Kostecki Snr said.
The following lap, officials again forced the drivers into single file because of a crash.
As part of race rules, Brodie had to move back to third, but it made no difference to the young Australian as the green light flashed again.
He pre-empted his opponents would move to the inside to block him and as they did, he swung to the outside, burnt them off again and won the race.
“That’s the way he thinks, he’s very smart in that area,” Kostecki Snr said.
Both father and son said the move to America had been tough on the family, with mum Kathy having to work three jobs at one stage and look after Brodie’s two younger sisters at home in Perth.
Kostecki Snr drove Brodie more than 16,000km around the US for race meets this year in a mobile racing van that doubled as their home.
“I’m his teacher, I’m his dad, I’m his mother, I’m the cook and everything else that goes with running life,” Kostecki Snr said.