“We actually knew some people who had one, so I’ve been around it ever since I was little,” recalls Bryce Stansbury. “Then, my dad bought
me a car for my eighth birthday, and ever since then…. I’ve raced.” Stansbury races cars, specifically, dragsters. Sure, it’s kind of uncommon, at least for most of us, but still, not a completely rare occurrence. There’s just one thing: Bryce Stansbury is only 13 years old.
The St. Genevieve Middle School eighth-grader never really thought of drag racing as a sport, at least not at first; it was just something he watched a bit and heard about, particularly from his father, Sam, who had raced for a number of years. Still, when Bryce decided to do some racing, his mother wasn’t the least bit surprised.
“It’s in the blood, it’s in the blood,” laughs Brandy Stansbury. “Sam’s been racing a long time, and I knew it was going to be passed along.”
They didn’t take the car out for about a year, but as he hit nine years old, Bryce began having fun, with his dad coaching him every step of the way. But then….then Bryce got the bug, felt the fire and developed a passion for drag racing. And oh, yeah, he started winning. A lot.
“Between drag racing and baseball (Bryce plays select baseball), I’ve got about 80 trophies,” says Bryce. “And I say about three-quarters of them are for racing.” In September of 2015, in fact, Bryce drove in a NHRA-sanctioned event in Dallas and came away with the coveted “Wally” trophy. “Very few juniors win a ‘Wally,’ ” says his mother. “And Bryce’s ultimate goal is to run the big cars, and win a ‘Wally’ there.”
There are plenty of things to love about drag racing, adds Bryce, but his favorite part is pretty basic: He just loves going fast.
Bryce races on tracks throughout the south, starting with his home track in Baton Rouge, and moving to places like Houston, Gulfport and big tracks in Tennessee. Bryce thinks the biggest thing he has to work on involves keeping his nervousness in check, and to make sure he
doesn’t ‘go red’ (leave too early). “You have to leave at a certain time. You leave too early, and you lose. Give yourself a chance to win.”
What’s next for Bryce? This year, he’ll move up to run with the 13-to-17 year olds, and after that? Bryce has his eye on running with the big cars in the NHRA. “It’s what I want to do. I want to race for a long, long time.”/ SCOTT BRAZDA